The Obama administration is tightening the pressure screw on Israel. Last week, the Chief of Joint Staffs General Martin Dempsey was interviewed by C.N.N. and said that Israel does not have the capability to hit the Iranian nuclear programme in a substantial and long term manner. This week, while Obama’s national security adviser Tom Donilon and his director of national intelligence James Clapper are visiting Israel and are leaning with all their weight on the prime minister and the defence minister, retired senior American military officers came out with an article in the New York Times in which they detail the difficulties and risks that an Israeli aerial attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would face.
In an article I published over a month ago, I raised the likely possibility that Obama is preparing a ‘Peace in our Time’ with Iran under the mediation of a third party, not surprisingly proving now to be Turkey. Israel’s insistence on an offensive action against Iran, that will be carried out either in cooperation with the US but if need be, on its own, is a constant and blood boiling irritation to his plans and agenda. Obama spreads around messages of unequivocal support to Israel whilst courting Jewish money and votes for the coming elections, but it is easy to imagine how he will behave the day after his potential win in these elections towards the intractable Israeli government, as retaliation for the pressures it puts on him, and definitely if it will dare to attack Iran. In the meanwhile, while he is trying to reach some form of agreement with the Iranians, Obama focuses, using his various subordinates, on projecting an image of distancing himself from Israel’s military plans and signalling to the Iranians that these military plans do not stand a great chance of success.
Iran’s nuclear project is a threat of the highest degree to Israel’s existence, and it is rapidly becoming a threat that would be very difficult to neutralise. Israel can no longer tie its existence to Obama’s vagaries and to the interests and agendas of his administration. In response to articles of the kind published by the New York Times, Israel can and should clarify, first to the Americans and then openly to the rest of the world, that it has no intention of sending over 100 warplanes to fly long range over hostile territories and carry out a complex and dangerous mission that stands only a small chance of succeeding and that will only have a short term effect on the threat. The impression that must be left in Washington and Tehran is that Israel views the Iranian nuclear threat as such a grave danger to its very existence that to achieve a decisive and long term result, it will not hesitate to attack it with land based ballistic missiles and submarine launched cruise missiles – missiles that will carry tactical nuclear weapons. Such an attack, Israel must make clear, will have two desirable results. The first – the level of destruction to the nuclear facilities themselves, or to the access tunnels to those facilities buried deep underground, will be much greater than if conventional weapons would be used, and the second –that the remaining radiation levels in the areas of the hit facilities will prevent any possibility of regular access for the purpose of rebuilding them or removing materials and equipment from them for hundreds of years. All this without risking its most advanced array of fighter planes, air to air refuelling aircraft and electronic warfare planes and their crews.
The Iranian regime, led by Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, has been proving in recent years that a bold and defiant policy backed by technical and scientific abilities and a rapid and concentrated effort, can bear such desirable long term fruits that it would be ready to face complex difficulties on the way to obtain them. A nuclear Iran with a proven long range missile capability will change the balance of power not only in the Middle East but around the entire world. If Israel wishes to survive, it is time for it to learn something from the Iranians. The spineless have no future in the Middle East.