Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses his article “Hype or Reality: Will Israel Attack Iran Before the U.S. Presidential Election;” Israel’s inability to cripple Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities without putting boots on the ground; why the US may not join the fight if Iran’s response is limited and doesn’t result in American casualties; how Obama’s “feckless” style of leadership is failing to dissuade Bibi Netanyahu from attacking Iran; indications that Mossad accepts the 2007 Iran NIE’s conclusions, and isn’t eager to start a war; Israel’s policy choices in response to the Arab Spring; and the lost opportunity in 2003 to engage Iran in talks, which could have converted Hamas and Hezbollah into demilitarized political organizations.
MP3 here. (29:55)
Flynt Leverett runs The Race For Iran blog and teaches at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs. Additionally, he directs the Iran Project at the New America Foundation, where he is a Senior Research Fellow.
Dr. Leverett is a leading authority on the Middle East and Persian Gulf, U.S. foreign policy, and global energy affairs. From 1992 to 2003, he had a distinguished career in the U.S. government, serving as Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as a CIA Senior Analyst. He left the George W. Bush Administration and government service in 2003 because of disagreements about Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.
Dr. Leverett’s 2006 monograph, Dealing With Tehran: Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options Toward Iran, presented the seminal argument for a U.S.-Iranian “grand bargain”, an idea that he has developed in multiple articles and Op Eds in The New York Times, The National Interest, POLITICO, Salon, Washington Monthly, and the New America Foundation’s “Big Ideas for a New America” series.