Dare Israel go it alone in attacking Iran?

As some senior Israeli officials see signs the US may be willing to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, the Wall Street Journal says Israel is now considering unilateral military action.

Many Israeli military experts say Israel can easily cope with any military retaliation by Iran in response to a strike. Iran’s medium-range rockets would cause damage and casualties in Israel, but they aren’t very accurate, and Israel’s sophisticated missile-defense system would likely knock many out midflight. Israel has similarly proved it can handle attacks against Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel also hosts a contingent of U.S. troops attached to a radar system to help give early warning against incoming rocket attacks.

More worrying to Israeli strategic planners examining possible attack scenarios is the possibility that Iran would respond to an Israeli attack by ramping up support to groups battling U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to recently retired officials familiar with the military’s thinking on Iran. If American soldiers start dying in greater numbers as a result of an Israeli unilateral attack, Americans could turn against Israel.

Iran could also disrupt the world’s oil supply by cutting off exports through the Persian Gulf, roiling international oil markets.

“What will Americans say if Israel drags the U.S. into a war it didn’t want, or when they are suddenly paying $10 a gallon for gasoline and Israel is the reason for it,” says retired Brig. Gen. Shlomo Brom, former director of the Israeli army’s Strategic Planning Division.

And just as Israeli strategists weigh up that risk, so too Iranian strategists must be making some of the same calculations — ones that may well suggest that for Iran, the benefits of an Israeli attack may appear to outweigh the costs.

These benefits include:

  • the financial reward from a hike in oil prices
  • the silencing of the regime’s domestic critics
  • the deepening of ties between Turkey, Syria and the non-aligned international community
  • the further isolation of Israel, whose political vulnerability is far greater than its military vulnerability

Couple these to the fact that Israel might only succeed in doing limited damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities and it’s no wonder Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has seen little reason to temper his language.

So, as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard now begins large scale military maneuvers in the strategic Strait of Hormuz it is signalling not only its ability to deter an attack but its willingness to face one.

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5 thoughts on “Dare Israel go it alone in attacking Iran?

  1. Christopher Hoare

    One has to wonder how the majority of American citizens will appreciate a new war and a new energy crisis from the actions of the ‘client’ state that it subsidizes most and yet receives the least benefit from. It seems to me that it is the American in the street who has the greatest leverage in Middle East affairs and could raise the greatest voice for peace if only the blindfold of US media lies can be dispelled.

  2. Mirza Ferdous Alam

    I am leaving aside the economic and strategic consequences that will arise due to Israeli attack on Iran and only concentrating on what may happen to Israel if Iran retaliates.

    Historically Jewish people could not prove themselves to be successful long term planners. All their plans formulated so far starting from the early days of jewish history does support the idea of them being successful long term planners. Attacking Iran by Israel is the reflection of such myopic vision of Israeli war planners. The statement “Iran’s medium-range rockets would cause damage and casualties in Israel, but they aren’t very accurate, and Israel’s sophisticated missile-defense system would likely knock many out midflight” is itself inaccurate. Iran do not need very accurate missiles to hit Israel. It is Important whether it can hit Israeli cities like Haifa, Tel Aviv etc. Israel or for that matter the US Missile defence system which may be deployed in the aid of Israel in the event of an war, is not expected to eliminate 100% incoming Iranian Missile.

    Iran, unlike other middle east countries will definitely retaliate with brut force. Iran may sustain the Israeli attack due to Iranian psyche of martyrdom and the vast size of the country. Israel cannot expect to ruin the whole country and destroy everything there with even most powerful armaments they possess even by using Nuclear warheads.

    Can Israel swallow and survive in the event of Iranian Missiles, which slip through the strong air defence cordon of Israel or the US, lands on Tel Aviv or Haifa causing thousands of deaths!!! Iran has the capability of attacking any part Israel with the missiles they developed during last decade. When Israel is ready to exchange thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange of one IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit held by Hamas, such question is relevant!!

  3. Renfro

    Huumm…..considering the source, the WSJ, and the statements of the Israeli officials sounds like just more rattling the monkey cage to me……more chatter,chatter…with the tid bit throw in that if they don’t attack Iran is might be because they are sooooo concerned about US troop lives in Iraq and Afghan.
    Whoever thinks Israel is concerned about American lives please call me, I have some real deals on Timeshare vacation condos units for sale in Afghan just for you.

  4. estebanfolsom

    yeah
    when i was a kid i used to like to play the game ‘risk’
    as many of us know it involved a roll of the dice
    now that i’ve grown older and i’m hoping wiser
    i can’t imagine my fate hanging on some lousy advice

    if little ‘is[it]real’ thinks it can [in the same fashion as the ‘usa’]
    stand up to the whole world arrayed in opposition
    they [and us] have a very hard lesson coming indeed
    i’m not a child anymore and it’s this truth i perceive

    ’bout time we all grew up
    don’t you think ?

  5. Eugen Ioanid

    It is getting so annoying to have to pay attention to every staccato babble out of Israel. There is no question that should it ever try to attack Iran it will be TOTALLY on its own, if not brought to a screeching halt by a West that will not tolerate oil price hike as yet another pain in the rear brought on by Israel. On the other hand, the thought that it thinks it has finally found a pressure point it can use to pressure the world so it is left alone (but still kept well endowed with financial and military aid) while it turns the Palestinians into hamburger and advances to its dominion of the Middle East, leaves one to wonder if a “demonstration” cut off is not in order so as to bring it back to its senses.

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