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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An offer he can't refuse?

Military scholar Dov Zakheim examines the possibilities and consequences for a US attack on Iran. While such an attack is more likely to succeed than an Israeli attack, it is still fraught with uncertainty (largely because no one is sure how good the intelligence on Iran is) and may still have severe repercussions. Here's his bottom line:
* An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is unlikely to stop the Iranian program for very long. An American aerial strike might be more successful, but it also may not shut down Iran's program. Only a series of ongoing attacks is likely to accomplish that goal.

* Yet an overt military operation could make Tehran even more determined to acquire a weapons capability as a deterrent to future attacks.

* The military consequences and political costs could, over time, mount for whichever nation attacked Iran. Retaliation could play out across the world's most volatile region and potentially far beyond.

* Clandestine action against Iranian facilities would be more effective and less risky politically. But a covert effort would also take time, and its success could also not be guaranteed.
This explains the strategy that is (hopefully) being followed: Continue the clandestine attacks as long as they are working, but realize that at some point you may have to come out in the open. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the Obama administration will ever openly attack Iran (in fact, I believe that all the clandestine work is being done by the Israelis and not by the Americans). So Israel has to keep trying to launch enough sabotage-type attacks to keep Iran in check until there is a change of administration in Washington - hopefully by January 2013. But if Iran is close to a break-out capacity before then, Israel may be left with no choice but to attack.

Zakheim argues that the retaliation will be the same whether Israel or the US attacks. He also questions whether Hezbullah and Hamas will endanger their local populations by attacking Israel to protect Iran.

What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.


At 11:26 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel can either wait for Iran to strike the first blow or Israel can defend itself.

The effect of world opinion and possible Iranian retaliation should have no bearing upon Israel's decision. No one is going to come to Israel's rescue.

The Jewish State was created for a reason. And if it fails to fulfill that reason, it will cease to exist. That is the issue. The specter of an Iranian nuclear bomb will simply force it into the open.

What could go wrong indeed

At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the article: "Zakheim argues that the retaliation will be the same whether Israel or the US attacks." --------- As I have written many times [here and elsewhere] this is why you don't go after the nuclear targets at first. You go after iran's military and command and control. You take away iran's ability to respond to the attacks on the nuclear sites.


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