View Full Version : WaPo: U.S. Or Israeli Strike Likely

07-07-2008, 10:48 PM
U.S. or Israeli Strike Likely


Anwer Sher

Trying to be a political pundit it is infinitely harder than predicting the next winner of the Triple Crown in horse racing, yet the hype and the drama being built around Iran's nuclear program and possible weapons ambitions suggests that the Bush Administration would like to have the proverbial shot at Iran. A preventive strike would seem the chosen option rather than an all out invasion ^ la Iraq style, especially given the U.S. failures in both Afghanistan and Iraq. A new front in Iran might be too much for even a super power to chew on. From the Israeli point of view, a strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, irrespective of their status of being peaceful or weapons oriented, is something that Tel Aviv wants to see happen. The idea of a covert operation, as Hersh suggests, is the least likely to bear fruit if its aim is to strike these facilities from the ground, given the logistics and support needed to do a ground operation are cumbersome and need advance planning of at least a year.

Whether the cat and mouse game between the Iranian leadership and the world community will boil over to a crisis, which the U.S. can use as an excuse for a strike on Iran, is open to speculation. The hawks within the Bush camp certainly would like to have a go at a striking Iran's nuclear facilities while they can. Should they prevail then it is more than likely that this strike will happen around October of this year, and perhaps as a means to create a crisis in which the Republicans can play the fear factor with the voters in the U.S. general election. Usually the Republicans have done better in elections at home when an international crisis is brewing. However, such a strike will be avoided if Iran also begins to cooperate with the IAEA and brings its program under supervision that is satisfactory to all. While Iran's bet that the U.S. is too preoccupied to do anything may be a silly miscalculation, they are relying on the last of support for the U.S. as a deterrent, however futile this might be.

On balance, I would say the U.S. will want to strike, and perhaps might even encourage the Israelis to do it. Whether the conditions remain conducive for them to have an excuse to do this is another matter. Is this the right course for the U.S. to take? Mostly certainly no, and indeed by equal measure the Iranians should also understand being a member of the international community does mean they are more open about their nuclear intentions.