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19 April 2012

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Andy

I used to think Israel's openness about its attack plans was simply part of a propaganda campaign to get the US to do Israel's dirty work. At this point, however, that argument seems a stretch since it's clear the US isn't going to initiate an attack. So what is the purpose behind statements and articles (such as the one linked above) at this point in time? I see two possibilities at present which aren't mutually exclusive:

1. Give negotiators some leverage in the current talks with Iran.

2. Prepare the Israeli public for war.

For many years now I've been a consistent skeptic on the frequent and repeated predictions that an Israeli strike was imminent. This time, however, I think it's a real possibility. Israeli rhetoric has escalated to a point where it hasn't left itself room for a face-saving alternative to an attack.

turcopolier

Andy

I vote for #2 with a large dose of insanity on bibi's part. pl

Walrus

As a child, my jewish relatives bemoaned the besetting jewish sin when little ears weren't suposed to be listening - always going one step too far.

Alba Etie

How soon are the elections in Israel ? And do the Likuds have enough domestic political capital to mount an attack without USA support ?

mo

Colonel,
I doubt airspace or refuelling will be issues since I believe either the Saudis or the Azerbaijanis (or both) will be of assitance in that matter, but if they do attack before November, what are the chances of BHO actually being able to withstand the congressional pressure to re-arm and re-supply especially if it comes from his own party?

David Habakkuk

Andy,

I agree. Netanyahu has left himself in a position where he cannot consistently portray a deal which allowed Iran to go further with its nuclear programme, but provided a realistic prospect of its stopping short of weaponisation, as compatible with Israel's survival.

The ongoing attempt to deny that the Iranian leadership are 'rational actors' -- which does not mean friendly or well-intentioned, only not predisposed to commit suicide -- is blowing up in Israel's face.

An aspect that puzzles me is what -- if indeed Netanyahu is seriously intending a go-it-alone attack -- he expects to happen on the northern border. How do the Israelis assess the balance of forces as against Hezbollah, as compared with the situation in 2006? What would be a realistic assessment?

How is Hezbollah likely to act, particularly given the pressures it faces, not least as a result of what is going on in Syria?

turcopolier

mo

You are far too devoted the ME conspiratorial view of history. Don't be too quick to believe all the rubbish about US, Saudi and Azaerbaijani support for the Israelis in this situation. As for the level of political support for the Likud and Bibi in the context of an air assault on Iran, IMO there is enough support for the BEGINNING of an attack to allow someone as deluded as Bibi to proceed. Whether or not their is enough support in the inner cabinet is the major question.

Charles I

What would be a realistic assessment?

"Pilots had already been told where their families would be moved, away from their bases, for safety, the report said."

Presumably to the spots where Iron Dome works best.

"The attack, the report said, would presumably trigger a war in northern Israel, with missile attacks (presumably from the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon). “There will be no tranquility and peace anywhere in Israel,” Ben-David said."

What if instead of the Iran attack triggering an Hezbullah attack, BIBI et al are so used to provoking a few missles when it suits they have not stopped to consider the effect of the ten thousand rockets they regularly cite. Instead they only imagine a splendid opportunity to administer a sound thrashing to their creatures, and the added soupcon of political and perhaps territorial hay to be made from the War room.

A great chance to beat the shite outta them while all eyes look to Iran and the gas pump.

Matthew

Col: The threat is more powerful than the execution (Aron Nimzowitsch).

What will happen to Israel's deterrent capacity if this mission goes south?

mo

Actually Colonel, this is a new twist to the conspiracy where the Saudis are more gung-ho than the US and they have the cash to make Azerbaijan an offer whereby they keep their hands clean. But in reality, I dont base my suspicions on a purely conspiratorial basis - I do think the Saudis see the Iranian influence in the Arab world as an afront both political and religious, and want someone to do something about it.

From a US point of view, everything I read seems to point to the fact the White House has realised that military action will be futile - But does Congress know or care and will a pre-November attack force BHO to not seem weak or "unsupportive of Israel"? Im not so sure.

E L

I am convinced that what Mitt tells his old Wall Street buddy Bibi will hurt Obama will be a significant factor in Bibi's decision on an Iran attack. Mitt's advice to Bibi will be based solely on what's good for Mitt's election chances. If Mitt thinks an attack will push him past Obama into the presidency, then it will be: "Attack."

jdledell

Having Just returned from spending the holidays in Israel, here are my thoughts on the situation.

1 - Someone asked about the upcoming elections in Israel. The reality is the Likud is in the drivers seat. Likud currently has 27 seats and the latest polls give them 35 if the elections were held currently.

2 - I think it was Habakkuk who raised the critical issue. Netanyahu has trapped himself with his rhetoric. By insisting that Iran give up ALL enrichment, successful negotiations will never go that far. An agreement precludes an attack and Bibi loses tremendous credibility. He has literally staked his job on totally defanging Iran, an impossible goal eith militarily or with negotiations. Currently support for an Iran attack is pretty widespread but it is not very deep.

3 - I suspect once the missiles start falling on Tel Aviv that Bibi's support will start to drop fast. These people are used to the good life and won't tolerate for long the misery constant explosions. This won't be a few scuds like Gulf War I but a constant drumbeat of stress. Even if Israelis anti-missile defenses shoot down 2/3rds of the incoming, the panic of the warning sirens will wear thin quickly and put pressure on the Netanyahu government for it to stop.

4 - Some Israelis are beginning to catch on that an attack on Iran could become an open ended war. Israel cannot handle a long war. If Israel made a generalized attack on Iran's infrastructure as Richard Sale suggests, that opens up a distinct possibility of an Israeli/Muslim war. I can easily envision Hezballah and Hamas throwing everything they have at Israel. I can see thousands of Egyptian hotheads making the Sinai border vulnerable. Even if Israel retakes the Sinai, holding it will require thousands of reserve troops subject to a bloody war of attrition similar to what Israel incurred in the Lebanon occupation. The borders with Lebanon and Syria will also vulnerable. Watch for the Iraqis piling into Jordan to stir up the masses there and putting the King Hussain in jeopardy while putting pressure on that border.

This kind of pressure on Israel will put huge strains on the Israeli military and reserve units, possibly for years and cratering their economy. In short, Bibi has trapped Israel in a high risk, possible suicide track.

5 - I spent time with my IAF nephew. He is an F-16D pilot based at Ramat David airbase in northern Israel. So far the training missions have been routine. He and his fellow pilots, seem genuinely puzzled by the rhetoric coming out of Jerusalem given the lack of additional munitions and training. In 2006 he spent a lot of time over Lebanon and knows it well. He is convinced that there is no way to button down the northern frontier without the commitment of 50,000 troops and even then holding it will be bloody and debilitating for Israel.

Boiled down to the essence, Netanyahu has been conditioned by his father to think of himself as a modern incarnation of David - here to save Israel for all of time.

Charles I

A push in the msm all the sudden to delegitimize the up to now unreported Fatwa.

There's a peculiar ISIS report of David albrigth's today too, with a footnote disclaiming the existence of the alleged damning admission of weapons intent except as reported by DA in his own book, but out comes an ISIS blub, Albright demanding now that Khameni prove that something Khomeni is reported to have pronounced in, er, 1984.

"1 This quote is not contained in the excerpts published by ISIS from the 2009 internal IAEA document. The statement appeared in the book Peddling Peril by Albright, 2010, p. 71. Almost all of the rest of the document was published on the ISIS web site and is available here: http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_info_3October2009.pdf "

It is the damndest thing

See

http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/internal-iaea-information-links-the-supreme-leader-to-1984-decision-to-seek/8

Babak Makkinejad

Israel is already in a religious war with Islam. Just look up the number of Mulsim states in the Organization of Islamic Conference that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

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