If all else fails, US will hit Iran in 2013,

say former top advisers to Obama and Bush
If the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program is not resolved diplomatically in the coming year, it will be resolved militarily by the end of 2013, two top US foreign policy officials told the Times of Israel on Thursday. Dennis Ross, until Nov 2011 Obama’s top advisor and planner on Iran in the National Security Council, said:
I think there’s the stomach in this administration, and this president, that if diplomacy fails, to use force.
James Jeffrey, a former deputy national security advisor and, for the past two years, the US ambassador to Iraq, agreed with Ross’ assessment, said:
I think Obama’s first choice will be a negotiated settlement. Failing that, I think that we’re going to strike. One way or the other, these guys are either going to stop their program or, before we’re halfway through 2013, they’re going to have enough enriched uranium to go critical in a few weeks. I think if we don’t get a negotiated settlement, and these guys are actually on the threshold, as Obama said during the campaign, then the president is going to take military action.
The two officials spoke with the Times of Israel at WINEP’s gala dinner, held Thursday night at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The event honored Ross and Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security advisor to Bush 43. Jeffrey, who was in attendance, recently joined WINEP as a visiting fellow. During an on-stage discussion with Ross and Abrams halfway through the evening, WINEP director Robert Satloff asked the former officials:
Will USrael employ preventive military action against Iran’s nuclear program, yes or no?
The two replied in unison:
Satloff pressed:
Will this happen in 2013?
Ross and Abrams replied:
Ross clarified to the Times of Israel after the panel discussion:
Obama’s preference is to have diplomacy succeed, but he is able and willing to carry out a military strike. If his position was going to be not to use force, he would have accepted the objective of containment. He did not. He adopted the objective of prevention. That doesn’t mean you want force to be the case. What it means is, fundamentally, that if diplomacy doesn’t succeed you’re prepared to do it. And I believe he is.
Asked if the Obama administration had an interest in pressing for a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, Ross suggested the US had a more limited view of its role than in the past. He said:
I don’t think it’s the president’s view that somehow the US can wave a magic wand and you can have peace. If you go back to an interview he gave at the end of the first year of his first term, he said it has proven more difficult than he hoped it would be. It’s very important to try to preserve a two-state outcome. I don’t think the administration will walk away, and I don’t think we should walk away. If you can create a set of circumstances where it looks like there’s an opportunity, I think the administration would make a major effort. But to assume the administration will make a major effort as if there’s an opening, that remains to be seen.

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