What Will Israel Do?

While the Obama administration is focused on Iran’s nuclear program and its race to create a bomb, there is another development, equally disturbing, that has gotten little attention. Israel is actively preparing to use its air superiority to strike at Iran’s nuclear infrastructure before the radical regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can use its new found nuclear power.

In today’s lexicon this is called a pre-emptive strike and Israel is no stranger to such aggressive actions. In 1981 Israel destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Orisak and in 2007 it struck at Syria’s secret nuclear reactor which was in the early stages of bomb development.

For the Obama administration the nuclear program in Iran has created a complex and perplexing set of policy considerations. The President has emphasized the importance of using economic sanctions to pressure Iran to accept a diplomatic solution, but the Israelis are not convinced that this strategy will work. They would rather have President Obama threaten to use US military force to intimidate and contain Iran.

But with the US already entangled in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Israelis believe that Obama will not have the stomach to fight a third enemy, and so they are ready to take matters into their own hands by striking Iran first.

Because Iran has spread out its nuclear infrastructure and hidden key facilities deep underground, there is no guarantee that the pre-emptive strike will be successful. More importantly, an Israeli attack would certainly raise the specter of a counter attack from other countries in the Middle East and certainly embolden Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The prospect of a Middle Eastern war is now not some distant possibility, but a potential reality. Despite Washington’s quiet diplomacy to put an end to the planning for a pre-emptive strike against Iran, Israeli officials continue to state that such action is on the table. This is the last thing the world needs in the Middle East, another war.

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