In case you missed it, a June 9th piece by Barbara Slavin in IPS notes that while the likelihood of a US or Israeli military attack on Iran seems low during the last months of Obama’s first term, tensions remain high with little progress made on the de-escalation side.

Slavin highlighted remarks made by retired four-star Admiral William Fallon at an American Iranian Council conference on June 7.

Fallon resigned as head of US Central Command in 2008 after a profile in Esquire magazine portrayed him as opposing a military strike on Iran. This is how Thomas P.M. Barnett introduced him in the article that led to his retirement:

If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, we go to war with Iran, it’ll all come down to one man. If we do not go to war with Iran, it’ll come down to the same man. He is that rarest of creatures in the Bush universe: the good cop on Iran, and a man of strategic brilliance.

Slavin also quotes Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association, who warns that some Israeli officials will continue to press for US military action on Iran regardless of the US’s stance or the judgement of internal advisers like Meir Dagan who infuriated many with his recent comments. According to Thielmann:

Some in Israel want to prod us into an attack while others want to wave the saber so that the U.S. will have more sanctions and not consider talking to Iran.

Fallon continues to argue that the best solution would be negotiations with Iran, as long as Iran is committed.

The interests of both people are better addressed with engagement and cooperation rather than antagonism and hostility.

Of course, one reason why “there is no clear path to this preferred alternative anytime soon” is not only the Iranian administration’s current unwillingness to bend to US pre-conditions at the bargaining table. It’s also because of powerful anti-Iran voices within the Israel lobby which Jeffrey Goldberg would like us to refer to in quotations, and which, according to him, is powerful because of some whimsical, naturally ingrained American allegiance with Israel, rather than pro-Israel lobbying activities.