For Israel, Gaza Conflict Is Test for an Iran Confrontation

(New York Times) David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker - There was a second, strategic agenda unfolding in the conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, according to American and Israeli officials. The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new anti-missile systems to counter them. It is Iran, of course, that most preoccupies Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama. While disagreeing on tactics, both have made it clear that time is short, probably measured in months, to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program. One key to their war-gaming has been cutting off Iran's ability to slip next-generation missiles into Gaza or Lebanon, where they could be launched by Iran's surrogates, Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad, during any crisis. Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and a military historian, noted Wednesday: "In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union." In the Gaza operation, "Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran."

2012-11-23 00:00:00

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