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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If anyone is going to attack Iran...

... it should be the United States and not Israel, writes Michael Crowley.
The main reason is simple: America is in a far better position to cripple Iran’s nuclear program. Consider the analysis of a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities published last year by Abdullah Toukan and Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The authors imagined a scenario where Israeli jets flew through southern Turkish airspace and then cut across Iraq’s northern tip to strike several facilities within Iran. Toukan and Cordesman were not optimistic about the results. “[I]t would be complex and high risk in the operational level and would lack any assurances of a high mission success rate,” they concluded. Israel would face an array of problems, they argue, from the limited range of its aircraft—requiring multiple refuelings—to the limited ability of its warheads to penetrate Iran’s deeply buried nuclear facilities.

By contrast, last month Toukan and Cordesman released a similar report, this one examining a possible American attack on Iran. Their assessment was far more bullish. Such an attack would involve U.S. B-2 stealth bombers based in Diego Garcia. The B-2 has exponentially longer range than Israel’s F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers. Conveniently, last summer the B-2 completed an upgrade allowing it to carry the GPS-guided 5,300-pound Massive Ordinance Penetrator bomb. And the bomber’s stealth nature will make it far less vulnerable to Iran’s air-defense system than the Israeli Air Force’s traditional jets. As Cordesman and Toukan conclude, the U.S. is “the only country that can launch a successful Military Solution."
No one in Israel doubts this. We'd be thrilled to see the US attack Iran. But if they won't attack Iran and Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons, Israel will, at some point, attack Iran. That's no bluff. But perhaps, just perhaps, it might make the Obama administration think about doing the job themselves.

Read the whole thing.


At 12:44 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I don't expect the Obami to have the stomach to go to war. But if they do, they want a quid from Israel - "Natanz for Ramat Shlomo" - which Israel is reluctantly delivering. The question is whether the Obami will fulfill their side of the deal. The signs in that respect for now, are none too encouraging.


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