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With Assad in, and Ahmadinejad out, where does that leave Netanyahu?

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Later, as Iranian and American officials began talks in Geneva at the beginning of October to discuss Iran's nuclear program, and whether or not to ease crippling sanctions against Tehran, Netanyahu was in the Knesset, discussing the possibility of a unilateral strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"We can't surrender the option of a preventive strike," he told Israeli parliamentarians. "It is not necessary in every situation, and it must be weighed carefully and seriously. But there are situations in which paying heed to the international price of such a step is outweighed by the price in blood we will pay if we absorb a strategic strike that will demand a response later on, and perhaps too late."

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Netanyahu, of course, would like nothing more than for the United States to perform the dirty work of bombing the Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow. 

However, with the United States still licking its wounds following protracted military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and American voters weary of chasing terrorists at such a high moral and physical cost, the Obama administration will try to avoid another war at any cost.

Now the question remains: Will Netanyahu really risk an all-out regional conflict by ordering a pre-emptive strike on Iran, or is he bluffing in an effort to contain Tehran's nuclear ambitions?

The answer is of no little importance to every person on the planet. 

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*  Robert Bridge has worked as a journalist in Russia since 1998. Formerly the editor-in-chief of The Moscow News, Bridge is the author of the book, "Midnight in the American Empire."

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