With 18 months left in US President George W. Bush's second term, the White House is now leaning in favor of military action on the burgeoning Iran nuclear crisis, Britain's Guardian
newspaper reported Monday.
The report said that no decisive action was expected before next year, but quoted a Washington source as saying, "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo."
The source added that the White House preferred that Israel - the target of continual threats by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - not attack the nation's nuclear facilities, since the United States would likely be blamed for any such action.
Analyst Patrick Cronin of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told the Guardian
that if Israel insisted on striking Iran, the US would have to take "decisive action."
"The red line is not in Iran. The red line is in Israel," Cronin said.
The US State Department, in the meantime, is maintaining its commitment to diplomacy in dealing with Iran's intransigence on its nuclear enrichment program. The policy of diplomatic tactics espoused by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have been consistently opposed by Vice President Dick Cheney, who has long supported upping the military ante on Iran.