18 February 2012

Is an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities imminent?

And we all know who would be imminenting that attack, don't we? (Sorry for the assault on the English language.) What follows is from from the Henry Jackson Society (which I've mentioned before) and popped up today in my wanderings around the net. It is cross-posted from the UK's Daily Telegraph. It is about whether, and if so, when, Israel will strike at Iran's nuclear-bomb making facilities.

It has to be noted that only the credulous and ideologically committed Islamists/Jihadists (to the extent that these are different categories) believe the stories emanating from Tehran that this is all for the peaceful development of electricity for domestic consumption. From a country with 20% of the world's proven oil reserves? With abundant gas reserves? (Any readers of simplyjews who live in or near London should try and get to The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, north-west London, before 1 April - no, it's not an April Fool - to see "The Bomb - A Partial History", from which these figures come.) Unlike many of these efforts, given that this effort fits the classical definition of agit-prop (and to my cynical surprise), Israel is treated both fairly and, where appropriate, humorously.

Anyway, the author, Julia Pettengill, a Research Fellow at the HJS, argues that "the possibility that Israel has finally had enough is not exactly far-fetched. This will no doubt prove the ultimate factor in Israel’s decision to attack; yet the wider regional context may also present Israel with compelling strategic incentives to act sooner rather than later." What she means by this is that, among other factors, Saudi Arabia has had enough as well, as have the Gulf States. Thus, whatever their public stance in the event of Israel doing the deed and doing to Iran's nuclear programme what it did to Iraq's nuclear programme back in the early 1990s, they will, behind the scenes, be congratulating Israel on a job well done. As I commented elsewhere and at another time, the Saudis prefer a sane Israel (which it is, even with Avigdor Lieberman as Foreign Minister) to a mad Iran.

Further, with Bashir Assad possibly not much longer for the Presidential Palace in Damascus, the balance of power in the Moslem Middle East is set to change, and the Saudis are looking to get control of their sphere of influence back, unthreatened by Shias to the north-east of them. What all this means is that the author suggests that "Israel may also judge the current regional dynamics as presenting the most propitious opportunity to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities."

Pettengill concludes that "the end-game for Israel has always been clear – a disarmed Iran, no matter what the costs. Yet the current strategic context could well furnish Israel with additional powerful incentives to fulfill Leon Panetta’s prediction that we could be seeing an attack as early as this spring." Further, a successful destruction of, or even heavy setback to, Iran's nuclear programme would also have the extremely useful (especially if Assad disappears from the scene) unintended and desirable consequence of severely undermining Hamas and Hezbollah. No tears and no flowers of condolence from me (or you?), that's for sure.

How would Israel achieve this oh so desirable outcome (even allowing for possible undesirable consequences for Israel itself)? Consider this: a little while ago: back on 23 September, 2011, JPost had this item, reporting that President Obama had authorised the transfer of several dozen of the new US "bunker-busting" bombs to Israel. Who was it who said that Obama was seriously less pro-Israel than his immediate predecessors? Especially given the suggestion in the column that President G.W. Bush had refused to transfer these self-same bombs to the IAF.

By Brian Goldfarb.


Brian Goldfarb said...

As a counterweight to what I just said, via a website here in the UK is this (via normblog - Norman Geras, retired Pol Sci Prof at Manchester U) is the following (which I came across after posting the article), http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/02/world-media-goes-bonkers-israel-attacks.html, from Barry Rubin. He argues that everyone's got it wrong and Israel isn't about to do anything anytime soon.

But one thing Israel is very good at is maintaining security.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

 You probably mean maintaining the smokescreen.

David All said...

Yep, Obama is pro-Islamist and another Hitler. After all Rick Santorium says so. (sarcasm)

Thanks, Snoopy for this post. It is clear that Israel will soon have all the weapons it needs for a bombing campaign against Iran's nuclear sites. Whether or not such a campaign is close at hand is another matter. My own opinion, which with two dollars will get you a cup of coffee, is that Israeli military action is still some months away, perhaps not until after the US Presidential election in November. There is a great desire here in the US to give the new financial sanctions on Iran time to seriously hurt the Iranian economy. The sanctions are having an effect, the Iranian currency is worth 40% of what it was worth a year ago.  But who knows. Good luck to us all, especially, Snoopy, to you and everyone else in Israel.        

SnoopyTheGoon said...

 This wasn't Snoopy, David, it's by Brian, but thanks for the compliment all the same.