I don't know anymore how predicative Seymour Hersh's New Yorker scoops are -- he did say in April that the US or Israel would bomb Iran this summer -- but he has a new one this week, and it is, again, pretty bleak. The story sketches a contentious relationship between US military top brass and the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis, which seems to count as its member Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace, over what war plans for Iran should look like. I think it's important to realize that whatever axes Hersh's particular sources have to grind, their grumblings point to the fact that such war plans are now in an advanced stage. As Hersh rightly states up front, the logic of the recent American proposal to Tehran is flawed: only after the Iranians verifiably terminate their nuclear weapons program will the US engage in direct talks. So the Iranian regime has to give up the weapons in order to negotiate over them with the nation it views as the biggest threat to its security? And this after the regime "won" a modified US position on direct talks? So diplomatic and military maneuvering seem to be moving squarely in the direction of military confrontation.
I'm afraid the march to war is on and that the timetable will not be very convenient for Israel as Olmert and Peretz attempt to "change the rules of the game" with Hamas. I don't know what the best predictions are on a timetable for the Convergence Plan of withdrawal from large parts of the West Bank, perhaps the schedule is less and less fixed as the current crisis heats up. But Iran certainly won't be given until the August date it has set for itself to respond to the IAEA report. The G8 summit in St. Petersburg in 10 days time is bound to witness further escalation.