Haaretz Editorial

A Critical Test for Diplomacy

This week's Baghdad summit is not only an effort to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat, but also to neutralize the Israeli strategic threat.

The opening of the Baghdad summit tomorrow will be followed by cautious, reserved optimism, alongside historical disbelief. This is a critical summit in which Iran, on one hand, and the "5 +1 group" (the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany ), on the other, will try to dismantle the most potentially explosive crisis the world has seen in decades.

The results of the summit will determine whether the military option (i.e., an attack on Iran ) is the only brake capable of stopping Iran's aspirations for nuclear weapons - even despite regional and international repercussions which could alter the global strategic map.

Among Western states, a two-faced consensus prevails. It is agreed that Iran must not be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons, but there exists on their part no desire or ability to destroy its nuclear capabilities. This consensus only partially satisfies Israel's aspirations. Israel is convinced, at least according to its leaders' declarations, that it is capable of stopping, even temporarily, the Iranian nuclear race.

The disagreement with Israel is not only over the capability, but also over the refusal of the Western states (along with Russia and China ) to let Israel carry out its global strategy and confront them with faits accomplis whose results they, and not Israel alone, will have to deal with.

To a large extent, the Baghdad summit is, therefore, not only an effort to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat, but also to neutralize the Israeli strategic threat. Presumably, no side will get everything it wants in Baghdad. Ending the crisis, halting the uranium enrichment to a military level and preventing the production of nuclear weapons in Iran - if these are agreed upon at all, they will require more conferences and feed more frustrations.

In addition to the military option, whether Israeli or global (neither of which the summit takes off the table ), the diplomatic effort must also be supported. We must allow it to open a non-violent channel and hope for its success. Israel, of all states, which succeeded in enlisting the world against Iran, is not entitled now to undermine the world effort intended, among other things, and perhaps even chiefly, to protect it.