The new Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly declared that a primary foreign policy objective is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.
Israel is a "one-bomb state," such that one atomic weapon, even a relatively low-yield bomb of the type the United States dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki in World War II, would destroy the modern Jewish state as we know it today.
The Obama administration has repeatedly declared the intention of following up on the campaign promise to negotiate directly with Iran. This represents a fundamental policy shift from the Bush administration's efforts to apply international sanctions through the United Nations in an effort to force Iran to quit enriching uranium.
Consistently, Iran has insisted upon the nation's right as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue the "full fuel cycle," code words for Iran's determination to advance uranium enrichment technology in Iran under Iranian control.
In recent months, top Iranian government and military figures have issued warnings that the time is getting short, such that Iran might well have the capability to develop and deliver at least one nuclear weapon by the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010.
At the same time, the international community has expressed doubt that the Iranian government will make any serious concessions on their atomic program.
In press conferences and speeches, President Obama has openly acknowledged the U.S. government now believes Iran is pursing a nuclear weapons program.
At the end of the Bush administration, the international press credibly reported that the Olmert government in Israel was denied fly-over rights in Iran in order to launch a military strike on Iran.
Known as the "Sampson Option," an Israeli first-strike on Iran's nuclear facilities becomes increasingly likely to the extent Israel feels isolated from the world community and concludes there is no chance the Obama administration will ever be able to induce Iran to stop enriching uranium, regardless how seriously the president intends to push direct negotiations as a strategy.
We have already seen two wars launched by Israel against terrorist surrogates financed and supported by Iran: the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and the 2008 war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Now, a war between Israel and Iran is on the near horizon, possibly fated to occur before the end of 2009.