July 29, 2008

Latest on possible war with Iran

Op ed in New York Times by Benny Morris, suggests Israel will almost surely strike Iran in the next 4-7 months. Benny Morris is a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben-Gurion University, is the author, most recently, of “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War.”

Steve Forbes opinion is online here.

The Israelis feel the window of opportunity to destroy or seriously disrupt Iran’s nuclear ambitions is fast closing. There is a very real possibility that if Barack Obama wins in November, the Israelis will take action before he is inaugurated on January 20. If McCain wins, the Jewish state will probably wait a few months longer to see what will unfold with his administration.

UPDATE: Nobody said this to me directly but I get the feeling from my talks that if the sanctions don't work, Israel is going to strike Iran," an attendee at the meeting quoted Obama as saying, according to ABC.

Technical analysis of any potential strike.

Ben-Ari and Long agree that Israel could very likely dismantle the Iranian nuclear program from the air. What comes after that—diplomatically, financially and strategically—remains open to debate. But the quality of Iran's antiaircraft equipment may drive the debate as much as the pace of any uranium enrichment project. Russia has indicated it is willing to sell its most sophisticated missile
system, the S-300P (NATO designation), to Iran. If Israeli military planners see a future threat looming that they cannot counter, a near-term strike might look more attractive.

From the UK guardian

Israel has always believed that negotiations with Iran were doomed to failure and that the ruling clerics had made a strategic decision to go nuclear which they would not abandon.

Israeli officials had hoped the Bush administration would take action, but they now have doubts and are considering their own unilateral military options.

Those options are limited. Israeli planes would have to fly a long way to reach their targets, presuming Jordan would not give its approval for overflights. The strikes would be aimed at deeply buried targets, with no certainty that all Iran's nuclear facilities are known to Israeli intelligence. The strikes could spur Iran's nuclear ambitions while failing to hobble them.

But Israel's government believes it has no choice but to strike in the hope of slowing down the programme, even if it has to strike again and again to keep it in check. It is derisive about Iran's claims to be pursuing a purely peaceful energy generation scheme, seeing Tehran's nuclear ambitions as an existential threat and for that reason, a government adviser said recently, the standards of proof are lower.

Iran has begun a new charm offensive to head off, or to mitigate, possible new international economic sanctions following its latest refusal to suspend, or even slow down its uranium enrichment program.

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