Military Plans on Iran Leaked in Effort to Thwart Israel?

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Why would potential military plans be leaked to the media about how Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities?

Some suggest is could be part of a campaign to stop a military strike.

Last week, Foreign Policy revealed stunning military information: that Israel plans to use airfields in Azerbaijan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

Yaakov Katz, military correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, said he has spoken to a very senior officer who said this is all very damaging.

"If you think about it, at the end of the day, there's no strategic surprise anymore," he said.

Last week's revelation follows a series of speeches and messages by President Obama, who said when it comes to Iran, he would take care of Israel.

"There should not be a shred of doubt by now -- when the chips are down, I have Israel's back," Obama said, during his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on March 4.

Yossi Klein Halevi, a contributing editor to The New Republic, called this recent outreach to the U.S. Jewish community and Israel a "charm offensive."

"When Oama says he's got our back, what he's really doing is that he's got us by the throat, and he's trying to restrain us," Halevi said.

"His messages of the last weeks were not at threatening Iran, but at implicitly, with a smile on his face, with a big bear hug, threatening us, threatening Israel, not to launch a strike against Iran," he explained.

Any message against attacking Iran troubles many Israelis. As one former diplomat said, for the U.S., the decision to strike Iran might be a matter of foreign policy.

But for Israel, just six minutes away from an Iranian missile, it's a life insurance policy.

Recently, a number of stories have been leaked that question if a strike would even work.

"Those leaks say basically two things," Halevi said. "One is that an Israeli strike would be either ineffective or counter-productive, or two, here are some of the actual operations that the Israeil military might undertake, here's the route that they may do."

Former U.S. Amabassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Fox News last week that he believes the Obama administration deliberately released the information about Israel using Azerbaijan air bases.

"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," Bolton said. "I think that's what's going on."

"If it turns out that Ambassador Bolton is right, then we really are in new phase of American-Israeli relations," Halevi said.

The next stage in this ongoing drama takes place later this month when the U.S. and other nations try to negotiate with Iran. Yet many Israelis feel the talks are just an Iranian tactic to stall for time while making a nuclear bomb.

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