Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton believes Israel will stage a raid against Iran's nuclear facilities if Democratic nominee Barack Obama wins the upcoming presidential election in November.
Bolton, often labeled a resolute neo-conservative, believes the Israeli attack would take place sometime between the day after Obama's win and his inauguration on January 20 of next year.
In an interview with FOX News, Bolton says, "I think if they are to do anything, the most likely period is after our elections and before the inauguration of the next President."
Bolton reasons Israel won’t be able to hold off a strike on Iran any longer than that given the Illinois senator's intended foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic.
"I don’t think they [the Israeli government] will do anything before our election because they don’t want to affect it,” he says, adding, “They’d have to make a judgment whether to [strike] during the remainder of President Bush’s term in office or wait for his successor."
Bolton points to Obama’s statements in which he says he would engage Iran in direct talks and take the military option for dealing with Iran's quest for nuclear weapons off the table, a position he believes will further embolden Tehran to build a nuclear bomb.
In a related interview with The Telegraph, Bolton says he believes Arab countries will support an Israeli strike, effectively ending Iran's nuclear ambitions, while publicly denouncing it.
Their reaction, he tells the British paper, "will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations, but no action."
Bolton thinks Israel may consider postponing the attack, however, if Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., emerges as the victor in the presidential race. He says McCain's stance on Iran “is far more realistic than that of the Bush administration.”
Bolton doubts Iran would respond immediately with a counterstrike of its own, partially because Tehran would fear an American reprisal.
Earlier this month, Israel held a massive air force exercise over Greece that U.S., Israeli and Greek sources later confirmed was a test run for a strike on Iran's main uranium enrichment plant.
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