April 27, 2012
By Reza Shahrestani
Faced with an active internal opposition, on the one hand, and with the hesitations and divisions that separate the U.S. administration, on the other hand, the right Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is also obliged to vacillate between intention and the desire to apply a devastating military coup against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure even without consulting with the White House and without its consent and the desire, no less ardent to do the same without the consent of their own government and, especially, without the consent of “the small office”, consisting of 8 ministers for crisis situations.
Even if in Israel there is talking about its placing, or of the majority of its members, on the same side of the barricade with Prime Minister Netanyahu, there are tensions, as signaled by the Israeli daily Maariv, in its issue of March 15, highlighting the dissatisfaction of the “crisis cabinet’s” members “with the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu, supported by the Defense Minister Ehud Barak, have monopolized the adoption of important decisions on the pretext that other leaders of the Israeli government ordered the attacks against nuclear targets or against targets suspected of having such a nature and purpose, such as the bomb ing raid carried out on the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osyrak (June 7, 1981) or on the alleged nuclear facilities under construction in northeast Syria (in 2007), actions performed independently without consulting the Executive or the U.S., without having this major political effects at home or in the relations with the United States of America.
In parallel and in direct relation to this, information coming from the Russian Foreign Ministry does not exclude the possibility that Israel, supported by the Obama administration could attack Iran before the end of this year, given that, as Israeli media comment, Netanyahu put Barack Obama in front of an equation with two alternatives: either an attack against Iran or otherwise, the American leader’s loss of the electoral support of the Hebrew’s lobby in the U.S. in the context of the coming presidential election. Some U.S. officials even champion the idea that the negotiations between the Iranian side and the international mediators on Tehran’s nuclear file, set to take place in April, should be considered the “last chance” to identify a political-diplomatic regulation of the disputes between Iran and the Western community and the last barrier in the way of using the alternative of force.
The basic problem of the manner and the means to be used in case of an anti-Iranian attack remains to be solved, the majority of the opinions favoring a bombing raid, as efficiently as it is complex in terms of its implementation. Military experts consider that an aviation action of such a magnitude requires the participation of over one hundred machines – planes, bombers and fuel tank air suppliers. Such an attack poses great difficulties compared to the 1981 Israeli raids in Iraq, and in 2007, in Syria: the 8 Iran nuclear installations which are located on a large area of land in Iran, at considerable distances one from another, the least two of which are fortified with concrete protection or placed in mountain cavities and protected by powerful networks of air-land missiles and means specific to the electronic warfare.
Related to the ideas mentioned above, the deputy director of the Israeli “Institute for National Security Studies”, Ephraim Kam believes that in these circumstances, the only effective means to destroy those facilities is the aviation bombing and not as some Israeli analysts consider – submarine-launched missiles. As for the targets that are more available for an offensive action, in the publication “Jane’s”, Emily Curley, the expert on issues of nuclear war declared that they could be the reactor at Natanz and Fordo, used to improve uranium, as well as the facilities at Isfahan and Arak on the surface earth, which makes them more vulnerable to an aircraft bomber attack. Emily Curley also believes the raid could cripple some important secondary objectives such as reactor in Tabriz and the military missile base ”Imam Mussa” located in western Iran, or the military base “Bedghaneh” in which, under conditions still remaining unsolved, an terrorist ex- plosion occurred in November, 2011.
According to the same military experts, there are three air corridors that could be taken into consideration by the bombing teams flying over: the north, in the Turkish airspace, which, however, is less accessible due to the damaged state of the general relations between Ankara and Tel-Aviv, a second corridor, implying the crossing of southern Saudi Arabia which, despite the programmatic hostility that this country manifests against Tehran, will not give the flying authorization and will respond to any Israeli violation of its airspace and finally, a middle aisle, over Jordan and Iraq, countries which, from their own separate reasons, will not allow the access of the Israeli devices over their territory, even if, as in the case of Jordan, for example, the Treaty of Peace from Wadi Araba signed with Israel, could facilitate an agreement in this regard.
If the American and Israeli intelligence services agree as to Iran’s progress in delivering the enriched uranium, they have divergent views and assessments regarding the period of time that Iran needs to produce a nuclear war- head. U.S. officials disclosed that in March, Washington made a series of forecasts and simulations of the consequences of a secret Israeli attack against Iran, Israel conclusions being that the operation may trigger a major regional conflict in which the United States might find themselves in the situation to be involved with significant casualties.
The statement of the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman while visiting Beijing is worth remembering. He reiterated the view that “Israel reserves its sovereign right to self-defense if the efforts of the international community do not make Iran to abandon its nuclear programs”. The analysts interpreted the term “sovereign” used by the Israeli Minister as a sign that the Hebrew State will ignore any relationship with its Western Allies and any internal political contradictions if it concludes that attacking Iran is the only “self-defense” way of its existence.
No less attention should be given to the fact that during his last visit to Washington and during the discussions with President Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu put in his political and diplomatic record a success that was not unimportant, namely the fact that he persuaded the White House leader that the strategy of “the encirclement” of Tehran, which the United States has practiced through sanctions and international embargo cannot prove its desired effectiveness, in circumstances in which the time factor has already become, according to the Israeli side, into a race against time with the stakes of Iran’s producing a nuclear arsenal. In such circumstances, the head of the Israeli Cabinet has received from his interlocutor the expected support and solidarity from the United States in case Tel Aviv decided to attack Iran. The fervor with which Netanyahu defends his point of view was not exempt from criticism including from political scientists, politicians and the Israeli media, regarding the unknown adventure that Netanyahu is accused of wanting to lead Israel into. Benjamin Netanyahu, and with him, Barack Obama should show more restraint and wisdom and act as advocated by the motto of that skillful tailor “measure several times before cutting once”.
Published in: Geostrategic Pulse
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