MAY 8, 2012 11:32AM

Opportunity and Warning In Israeli Unity Government

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Of course, all domestic coalition formation in a parliamentary system like Israel's has a high degree of domestic content.

Thus, postponing the election that Prime Minister Netanyahu called for this fall is partly a function of what his Likud bloc and center right Kadima Party think is best for their electoral prospects, hence of course Labor's unhappiness.

At the same time, in this case a national unity government for Israel has to be weighed in the context of the Iranian nuclear program, which the author retains the belief as to the duck theory; if it walks like a's a duck, even a Iranian bomb in the basement to create Israeli doubt duck.

What is very curious about this coalition's formation is that it came just after former Kadima Prime Minister Olmert's speech in New York calling for caution in striking Iran, if also the call for talks with the Palestinians.

Without saying it, one opportunity one could see is for an implicit trade of some agreement for the Palestinians in return for some serious deal with Iran, although of course it is easy to be pessimistic about either one occurring.

Although the Israelis wouldn't want such things linked openly, at least too much, it has to be clear to them on average that just forcing Iran to back down in return for nothing is a pretty tall order, in which allowing Iran to be the hero a little bit, even implicitly, is worth some real risks of this coalition.

The risk of course is that a national unity government signals a consensus to go to war, which if a bargaining tool of great power, isn't of course risk free either.

But the opportunity is there for Iran and the Palestinians to acquire some things that they want through the arbitration of notes, unless in the end the Iranians most especially really want to see what the arbitration of arms in this case would look like, definitely not very pretty from their point of view, or maybe anyone else's either, in which it's worth noting Shaful Mofaz throwing out some respect to the international community as to seeing if bargaining really can work first among the Great Powers and regional actors.



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I erred in thinking that the fall election is still definitely on, but Bibi did say that an early election is still a possibility if the new national government splinters, which it might after an Israeli strike on Iran, and so early elections would indeed be a referendum on the strike. QED. By the way Iran will NOT give up its nuke program for some minor 'successs' on behalf of the Palestinians. They couldn't care less about the Pals except as a propaganda stick. Iran wants nuke capability for its own security and dreams of grandeur. You kin put that in the bank.
Could be, unless they see that what they are risking is Russian and Chinese troops coming there. At a minimum, if Iran responds by seriously trying to close Hormuz, there are dead Persians everywhere.
Donny, the Persians are NOT STUPID. After the Israeli strike they will not try to definitively close the Straits, unless they give in to their passion for revenge, which hopefully will be stopped by cooler heads. Instead, the smart thing to do will be to fire an occasional missile at a supertanker thus reprising the 'tanker wars' of the late 80s. That will accomplish their goal of ratcheting up oil prices to punish the West while not crossing the threshhold of massive retalliation that they would sustain if they over reached and did try to effect complete shutdown of the Straits.

And look for harassment mortaring and such actions against the Green Zone in Baghdad by pro-Iranian Shia militias there. We might be seeing the ignominious sight of US helicopters evacuating the Green Zone then. And that also would not be sufficient to provoke a massive response by the US on Iran. QED