The changes in leadership at the Pentagon are not merely an American story. The chance that Dempsey, at the start of his term of office, would advise Obama to attack Iran, or to permit Israel to do so, is not high. The outgoing head, Mullen, is likewise not enthusiastic about that but his ties with the IDF’s general staff are close and it can be assumed that, if Benny Gantz was persuaded to sign a plan by Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, Mullen would not be happy but would also not torpedo it.
The conclusion is that between the end of June and Gates’ retirement, and the end of September and Mullen’s retirement, the danger that Netanyahu and Barak will aim at a surprise in Iran is especially great, especially since this would divert attention from the Palestinian issue. As the Supreme Court explained to Moshe Katsav’s lawyers, some plans for summer vacations might be canceled.