Increasingly concerned about Iran's nuclear program, Israel is weighing its options and has not ruled out a military strike to prevent the Islamic Republic from gaining the capability to build atomic weapons, according to policymakers, military officials, analysts and diplomats.You've got to give the Israeli policy actors credit, they don't bother to make these threats off-the-record:
Israel would much prefer a diplomatic agreement to shut down Iran's uranium enrichment program, but if it concluded that Tehran was approaching a "point of no return," it would not be deterred by the difficulty of a military operation, the prospect of retaliation or the international reaction, officials and analysts said.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper last month that "all options" were being weighed to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. The army chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, declared: "We will not rely on others."The Times notes that Israeli has long embraced preemptive strikes, and then cites the example of the June 1981 attack on Osirak (Saddam Hussein's reactor).
Iran presents "a combination of factors that rise to the highest level of Israeli threat perception," said analyst Gerald Steinberg of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
"Nuclear weapons in a country with a fundamentalist regime, a government with which we have no diplomatic contact, a known sponsor of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and which wants to wipe Israel off the map — that makes stable deterrence extremely difficult, if not impossible," Steinberg said....
"There may be a few months when the international community can still act and place upon Iran the kind of pressure that would compel it to stop its program," said Avi Pazner, a veteran diplomat who serves as an advisor to Sharon. "But there's not much time — there's not much time."
The problem with this analysis is that the attack was preventive war, not preemption, and was widely criticized around the world and at the UN. Reagan's Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick condemned the attack, as did Secretary of State Alexander Haig.
Plus, this time, the Muslim world would blame the US for an Israeli strike:
Unlike 1981, the blame for such an attack today would not be limited to Israel. The US would be perceived in the Muslim world as being complicit - probably boosting the motivation of extremists to carry out terrorist attacks on Western targets.Let's hope diplomacy and/or sanctions work.
"Certainly it would be seen as a continuation of what the Americans did in Iraq,'' says Bruce Maddy Weizman, a fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. "Israel and US are widely perceived to be acting in concert.''
Or maybe deterrence.
Does anyone remember deterrence?
Does anyone remember containment?
Before readers say, "yeah, but Iran could pass the bomb to terrorists..." recall that wacko right-wingers used to claim that the Soviet Union was the chief sponsor of global terrorists.
Of course, any national leader would be insane to give a bomb to terrorists. Beyond crazy...think about the fact that horrible mass murderers Mao and Stalin had nukes, but didn't just pass them around to any takers.
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