Obama beat Bibi?

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President Obama talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 5.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's on page A9 of The New York Times. "Netanyahu Appears To Be Shifting Israel's Iran Policy Toward More Sanctions." The story appears to confirm a policy shift. It begins by noting that the Israeli Prime Minister plans to visit Europe late in the year to press for tighter EU sanctions against Iran. And it suggests that the time-frame for a possible Israeli strike against the country is not in the cards until at least mid-2013. That is, as the article notes, well after the U.S. election.

This means two things. Netanyahu lacks either the political credibility to strike Iran right now, that he lacks the resolve to do it without U.S. support, and that the sanctions appear to be working, insofar as they are giving the international community more time. The article suggests that Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, has turned sharply away from the idea of a unilateral strike, convinced that maintaining a good relationship with the United States is a better guarantor of a nuclear-free Iran than anything Israel might do. Coincidentally, on page A8 of the Times, an article describes the astonishing 40 percent drop on the price of Iran's currency and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's pleas to his countryfolk not to trade their own money for dollars.

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Marc Ambinder

Marc Ambinder is TheWeek.com's editor-at-large. He is the author, with D.B. Grady, of The Command and Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. Marc is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and GQ. Formerly, he served as White House correspondent for National Journal, chief political consultant for CBS News, and politics editor at The Atlantic. Marc is a 2001 graduate of Harvard. He is married to Michael Park, a corporate strategy consultant, and lives in Los Angeles.