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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

No need to attack Iran?

The JPost's Yaakov Katz interviews former US Undersecretary of Defense Dov Zakheim, who says that Israel doesn't need to attack Iran.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Herzliya Conference, Zakheim said in an interview that in his opinion, Israel did not have to attack Iran to stop its nuclear program. Israel, he said, has developed the Arrow 2 ballistic missile defense system, which, together with US Navy Aegis missile defense ships in the Mediterranean, would likely succeed in intercepting an Iranian missile fired at Israel.

“There is less than a 1-percent chance that an Iranian missile will get through these defenses,” Zakheim said. “Iran, however, is worried about Israel’s alleged nuclear program, and their fear is 100%, so why would they want to take a 1% chance if there is a 100% chance that they will be destroyed?” Zakheim also warned about the potential fallout Israel would face from such an attack. He said that on the one hand, Israel would turn the Iranian people into its “permanent enemy,” and on the other hand, an attack could lead to “terrible relations” with the US.

“The US will be attacked in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this could turn the administration against Israel like never before,” he said.
First, I would not put it past Iran to take a 1% chance of getting a nuclear missile through. This is especially true given that Iran will assume (probably correctly) that Israel will not retaliate if Iran's missile fails to get through.

Second, the Arrow 2 is untested in battle. There is no way of knowing whether it will actually stop 99% of what is thrown at it. But even if it does, given that the 1% would be so totally catastrophic, is that a risk we ought to be taking?

Third, I don't believe the Iranian people would be our permanent enemies, although their government would be for as long as it is in power. I have heard too many Iranians say that the fear that they would unify around the regime if Iran's nuclear capability were attacked is nonsense. I don't believe that anymore.

Fourth, if Iran is able to do so, it will attack the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. Are we supposed to lay down our lives to make sure that doesn't happen? Is their blood redder than ours?

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At 12:46 AM, Blogger Y.K. said...

Even if what he says about missile defence is true, there are lots of other ways to introduce a nuke to Israel (short-range missiles, containers, a nuke suitcase, whatever).

Since Israel is so small (oh, thanks a lot USA for demanding 67 lines), that would suffice for Iranian purposes.

He must know this. Does he actually believe we're so stupid?

P.S. The big hypocrisy here is that American "liberals" have long assailed missile defence systems, arguing they cannot be effective against a WMD attack. Suddenly when it's convenient for the admin they're not only effective, but 99% effective!

At 1:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fifth; Who says that Iran will launch a nuke missile at Israel? I think it is more likely it would be delivered via truck or boat than an outright missile attack that could be easily traced back to Iran.

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theoretically, blue-sky, a nuclear warhead could be fired by cannon from Lebanon or Gaza or Yesha--below horizon trajectory, 100% probability of success if Israeli programs are designed for ballistic missiles--effective range 25 mi, tested at 7:




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