Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton
blasted the Obama administration Wednesday afternoon for putting “just merciless” behind-the-scenes pressure on the Israeli government in order to persuade Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch an attack on Iran.
Bolton added that reported intelligence leaks by the administration could hurt Israel’s chances of successful knocking out Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Bolton’s comments on Fox News followed revelations Wednesday that the Israeli government has made arrangements with the government of Azerbaijan to use its airbases, which it would presumably employ to help it attack Iran.
Landing jets in Azerbaijan would make an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure much more effective, military experts say. It would greatly reduce the flight time, and refueling requirements, for Israel’s F-16 and F-15 jets.
Foreign Policy broke the news of the alleged Israel-Azerbaijan connection. It attributed the report to a “senior administration official.” Another U.S. intelligence source said the administration is “not happy” about Israel’s efforts to strengthen its ties with Azerbaijan in order to defend itself.
Bolton sees the administration’s leak of sensitive information as part of a larger problem.
“I think the Obama administration has long believed that an Israeli attack was worse than an Iranian nuclear weapon,” Bolton told Fox. “The president says that containment and deterrence of Iran is not his policy, and I think today that’s true. But it’s his plan B, it’s his backup plan when his current efforts at sanctions fail, diplomacy fails, and Iran gets nuclear weapons.
“And I think the pressure the administration has put on Israel has been just merciless behind the scenes,” he adds.
So far, Bolton says, Israeli officials show no intention of backing down from what they see as the existential threat of a nuclear-capable Iran. But the Azerbaijan leak indicates the administration is upping the ante.
“So the Obama administration has torqued it up a notch, and now they’re going to reveal very sensitive, very important information that will allow Iran to defeat an Israeli attack,” said the former UN ambassador. “I think that’s what’s going on.”
Last month, Israel inked a $1.6 billion arms deal for drones and an anti-aircraft missile defense system with Azerbaijan. Many foreign policy experts, however, remain highly skeptical that Azerbaijan would help Israel attack its powerful Persian neighbor to the south.
Bolton is the author of the Newsmax Magazine April cover story “Showdown: Iran’s Plan for a Second Holocaust Must Be Stopped.” He suggested he has no independent knowledge of whether Israeli has struck a bargain to use Azerbaijan’s airfields.
Bolton added that the leak could impair Israel’s ability to defend itself.
“Releasing this information, so that the Iranians now know about it, takes away a potentially very powerful mode of attack that hitherto the Israelis have been able to keep secret,” he said.
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