Now begins President Obama’s real test — not for reelection, but for peace. Coming to an ever-more-dangerous climax in sync with the US political campaign is the long-simmering crisis over Iran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently reported on possible Iranian progress toward nuclear weapons capability (new centrifuges in an underground enrichment plant). Israel sees Iran behind the July terror attack on Jewish tourists in Bulgaria. Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has ramped up its already pounding drumbeat (Where, the Israeli prime minister demands to know, is the American “red line”?). Israeli civil defense measures include the distribution of gas masks. The Syrian crisis highlights Tehran’s influence, as Iran supplies weapons to Bashar Assad through Iraqi airspace. At last month’s meeting of non-aligned nations in Tehran, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon warned that “a war of words can quickly spiral into a war of violence.”