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Friday, June 20, 2008

Practice makes perfect?

Today, Michael Gordon reports in the New York Times that Israel recently practiced an attack on Iran:
Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.
Apparently, the exercise involved more than 100 F15 and F16 aircraft.

Israeli officials declined to comment. Former Israeli officials had a lot to say:
Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister who is now a deputy prime minister, warned in a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Israel might have no choice but to attack. “If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack,” Mr. Mofaz said in the interview published on June 6, the day after the unpublicized exercise ended. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.”
Someone in the Pentagon must have watched "Dr. Strangelove" recently:
“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”
Iran apparently got the message since the Times reports that it beefed up air defense patrols recently.

About two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly said the following after emerging from a meeting with President Bush:
"We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat," Olmert said after the meeting. "I left with a lot less question marks [than I had entered with] regarding the means, the timetable restrictions and America's resoluteness to deal with the problem."

"George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on the matter before the end of his term in the White House,"

This seems like an awful lot of heat just to get the Europeans to offer new carrots and sticks to Iran.

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