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September Surprise: Israeli Attack on Iran?

panetta with obama

With specter of willing president looming, will new Defense Secretary Panetta abandon pragmatism of predecessor and support Iran attack?

A retired journalist who covered the intelligence beat, and with extensive senior intelligence sources, reports to me that Israel is planning to attack Iran before the September UN meeting at which Palestinian statehood will be discussed and possibly approved.  He wrote to me some weeks ago:

…Some U.S. intelligence officials think that such a surprise [attack] on Iran could possibly take place in…September when [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman] Mullen retires. It would [be] political war with its object to divert attention from Palestine.

…Senior US intelligence officials are saying that just recently a big US military force has been conducting large contingency planning drills in preparation for an intervention if Israel attacks Iran. Planning for a U.S. intervention is very far advanced.

…But perhaps the chief thing that counts here is that senior members of the US intelligence are resisting such notions with all the force that they can.

More recently, he sent this:

…The news is dismaying. Israel is planning a surgical strike against Iran.  I’ve been talking to former senior agency officials and officials in military intelligence. Not only is [it] “very far along” in planning for a regional war, the Obama administration has signed off on it.

It will  happen soon, before September…This is no drill.

If this is right, the timing of the attack couldn’t be more propitious for Israel, as it will certainly either derail entirely, or at the least delay the matter.  It would also further reinforce the conviction of many that the Netanyahu government is using the issue of Iran as a pressure valve to deflect world attention from something that is a much higher priority for the current Israeli government: maintaining the Occupation.

To be fair, I find the statement that the U.S. is “planning for a regional war,” and that Obama has “signed off on it” to be overly alarmist.  If the U.S. has signed off on an Israeli attack and possible U.S. support for it, I doubt we’re wishing or willing to instigate a regional war.  Though on the other hand, just about every serious analyst warns that this is what will occur if Israel does attack.

Yesterday, I spoke with a former intelligence analyst who is one of my heroes of the Vietnam era.  He told me that while he believed the U.S. president would not approve in advance an Israeli assault on Iran, the former analyst said the former would not stand in the way of one, as Eisenhower did in 1956 when he found out about it after hostilities began.  Rather than going to the mat to oppose Israel, once he discovered the attack was too far along to stop it, Obama would, the analyst believes, fall into line and participate in whatever supporting role he felt was appropriate.

Given the resounding ‘success’ of, and approval generated by the Bin Laden assassination, I too think it likely Obama would support an Iran attack.  A September attack could complicate the November elections, but if it was deemed successful it would further inoculate the Democrats and ensure success at the polls.

My source did, however, add that he found it unlikely that, in this day and age, Israel would be able to get far enough along operationally for such an attack without the U.S. finding out about it enough in advance to kill it or at least severely crimp Israel’s style.

Turning to Israel, you’ll remember Meir Dagan’s recent public excoriation of Netanyahu and Barak, who he accused of planning to mount a 2010 attack on Iran, which the former Mossad chief foiled when it was brought before a meeting of senior cabinet ministers for approval.  The reason Dagan uncharacterisitcally went public is that he stated that all of the senior military and intelligence figures (himself, Yuval Diskin of Shabak, Gabi Ashkenazi of IDF, and Amos Yadlin of Aman [military intelligence]) who universally opposed war against Iran, are all now gone.  There is a new cast of characters running each of these agencies, each of whom will be outdoing himself to ingratiate his way into the hearts of Barak and Netanyahu.  Which would make it much more likely they would support such an attack.

Believe me, someone like Meir Dagan, a man famous for his silences and hatred of public attention and media interviews, does not open his mouth unless it is important.  Very important.  For this reason alone, I’d say that such an attack is not only possible, but likely.

Further confirmation of the thesis advanced by the former intelligence reporter comes from no less likely a source than Jeffrey Goldberg, who’s known to have a long interest in Israel bombing Iran.  In writing of the reasons behind Meir Dagan’s “going native” on Bibi & Barak, he describes the thinking of Israeli sources who explained Dagan’s motivation:

[They] suggested that Netanyahu wants to change the subject from his difficulties with the Palestinians.  It’s no secret that the prime minister has been outfoxed by the Palestinian leadership lately, and that Israel is desperately trying to stop a Palestinian independence initiative at the United Nations. Netanyahu is capable of great cynicism, and he has made clear that the peace process doesn’t interest him very much.

While a former senior IDF commander and political leader who has served as a past source, refused to confirm this specific story (in order not to expose Israeli operational plans), he did not rule it out.  Further, he did confirm that there is a specific Israeli military contingency for such an attack.  In fact, Maariv’s Ben Caspit, who’s uncharacteristically becoming a bit of a dove regarding the Iran attack scenario, notes it prominently (Hebrew) in this article:

When Bibi Netanyahu became prime minister he received a briefing on the [Iran] military option being planned.  The one [Barak] now claims didn’t exist.  The meeting was prolonged.  Then another was planned.  And another.  Till finally Bibi spent a full 20 hours considering the matter.  And according to an aide, “his eyes sparkled” the whole time.

We know that Ehud Olmert asked George Bush for a green light to attack Iran and that while Cheney pushed for it, Bush ultimately declined.  If Olmert was willing to go to war, why would we doubt that Bibi would too?  Bibi, who casts the Ayatollahs practically as Satan’s demons on earth.  We also know that Bibi is obsessed with Palestinian and world efforts to “delegitimize” Israel.  And that the September UN vote is one of the top threats on this list.  So why would anyone think he’d be too dainty to use Iran to foil Palestinian statehood?  Especially if he was reasonably certain it would redound to his credit (as delusional as such an assumption might be).

Returning to the words of the source quoted at the beginning of this post, where he noted an attack could come after the retirement of Admiral McMullen–the latter has made some statements indicating he’s less than enthusiastic about the prospect of the U.S. supporting an attack on Iran.  Defense Secretary Gates has just retired and before he did he made a very specific statement that he frustrated Dick Cheney’s war camp in their lobbying for war with Iran.  Now, in their (Gates and McMullen’s) stead we will have Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey.  One would presume that these newcomers would be much less willing to go out on a limb and be iconoclasts than their predecessors, and more likely to support an Iran attack if the president did.  It’s almost a mirror image of the situation in Israel.  And grounds for fear of what may lie ahead come September.

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{ 66 comments… add one }

  • Leonid Levin July 5, 2011, 12:47 AM

    If this is true, this is sheer madness. Haven’t they learned from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq? Sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, Iranian and US servicemen, plunging the whole region into another prolonged war with years of insurgency, chaos, human suffering, destabilizing the region for years to come. For what?

  • Adam Neira July 5, 2011, 1:02 AM

    [comment deleted for comment rule violation--no proselytizing]

  • Karl July 5, 2011, 1:10 AM

    Once again we see the constant warmongering, peace-rejectionism from israeli regime, when till the world counter the biggest threat to world peace -israel?!

  • shmuel July 5, 2011, 4:28 AM

    Richard, you wrote: “If this is right, the timing of the attack couldn’t be more propitious for Israel”

    Surely you mean for Bibi and co. and not for Israel?

    I can’t see here anything propitious for Israel, only bad bad bad!! I’m sure you agree that Israel has nothing to gain from the possible attack on Iran.

    • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2011, 1:33 PM

      Of course, I’m with Dagan on this & agree it would be disastrous for Israel, but propitious for Bibi, at least in short term. I’m also grateful to know that you share my views that such an attack would be terrible for Israel. I only wish there were more of you in Israel.

  • abdulqadir July 5, 2011, 4:51 AM

    this is psychological warfare – Israel cannot fight Iran. The Empire is overstretched and will face hell if they intervene on Israel’s side.

  • free man July 5, 2011, 9:29 AM

    Debka is dead, long live Silverstein !

    • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2011, 1:37 PM

      Debka is very much alive, alas, as are the very real sources I quoted who are in the midst of simulated war games as we speak.

      • free man July 6, 2011, 3:02 AM

        So it is a simulation game.
        Right now I’m in a MMO fantazy simulation game.
        Do you want to write an article about me being a warlock or a witch ?

        • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2011, 1:16 AM

          a simulation game.

          That’s an important element of planning any major military operation. The more derisive you are the more I know I’m hitting the target.

          Do you want to write an article about me

          I don’t think you’re worth writing a word about, let alone an article.

          • Luis Gonzalez July 7, 2011, 5:41 PM

            I can’t say I’d call it an MMO or even War Games those would be a euphemism. I think the US, Israel, and our tag team brothers and sister in NATO are all having a “Big Ole’ D*** Measuring contest,” why not its like Cold war with more panache. Bring it on we say!

      • amit July 9, 2011, 5:56 PM

        lol. you know there are not so meny ongoing simulated war games this moment, do you? esspecialy not in tiny israel, expecialy not about iran.
        if it’s true your “source” is praticepeting in one, you just nerrowed the “suspect” list to about 10 people.

        • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 11:58 PM

          Let me try to unconfuse you. The simulation of war games is going on in the U.S. My source has only confirmed that there is an Israeli war plan against Iran. Farhstest?

  • Chayma July 5, 2011, 9:45 AM

    Why Jeffrey Goldberg reminds me of Ali Khamenei
    July 4th, 2011 |

    Binyamin Netanyahu’s “faithful stenographer” Jeffrey Goldberg has a column in Bloomberg criticizing Israel’s former director of the Mossad, Meir Dagan. According to Goldberg, Dagan is a “bungling strategist” and will be partly to blame if Israel attacks Iran.

    This is because Dagan “undermined his country’s deterrent credibility” (and Goldberg’s) when he said attacking Iran was the “stupidest thing I have ever heard.”

    Remember that around this time last year Goldberg was writing a cover piece for the Atlantic’s September 2010 issue about the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran. As Justin Elliott of Salon’s War Room pointed out, Goldberg’s predicted war date of July 2011 is here and there’s still no war on Iran.

    http://www.lobelog.com/why-jeffrey-goldberg-reminds-me-of-ali-khamenei/

  • John Shreffler July 5, 2011, 1:48 PM

    FYI, This same story was posted on Sunday morning July 2, by Harper, a contributor, to the Sic Semper Tyrannis blog run by Col. Pat Lang, who is a very reliable retired US Intelligence officer, who ran the DIA’s HUMINT in the Middle East till he retired in the ‘late ’90s. Harper’s take on this material was almost word-for-word verbatim with what this blog is reporting: he seemed to have had the same source. Harper’s post was up when I first checked the blog at 6:30 AM and was gone by 7:45 AM. When I e-mailed Col. Lang, asking what happened, he replied that he took the post down because he thought it was “crap.” You can still find the post on Google’s cache:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DbNhLt7ZJyUJ:turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2011/07/harper-another-warning-of-iran-attack-this-summer.html+harper+Iran+Sic+Semper&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com

    I don’t doubt that your source believes what he’s reporting but I thought I ought to add Col. Lang’s take.

    • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2011, 9:50 PM

      Thanks, John. What you wrote concerns me a great deal. I’ve written to Pat & hope to hear back from him. Based on what, if anything he says, I may edit this post accordingly.

  • Alan Blitz July 5, 2011, 5:44 PM

    Could you please explain a bit more how an attack on Iran by Israel would help foil Palestinian statehood?

    • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2011, 10:22 PM

      I don’t think it would foil statehood forever, just through September and until the dust settled after the Israeli attack & its aftermath. But that could take months, if not a yr. if repercussions of the attack are severe enough.

  • dickerson3870 July 5, 2011, 8:04 PM

    FROM JUSTIN ELLIOTT, 07/01/11:

    (excerpt)…Reached by phone at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Goldberg told me that he believes the article [by him in the The Atlantic last August] captured the “high level of anxiety” about Iran he encountered during a month reporting in Israel last summer…
    …Goldberg still believes that in certain circumstances the current Israeli government would attack Iran’s nuclear sites. “Meir Dagan is doing what he’s doing now because he’s scared of an Israeli attack,” he said. “If you don’t think Bibi Netanyahu is crazy enough to launch an attack on Iran, you don’t understand this prime minister.”

    SOURCE – http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/07/01/jeffrey_goldberg_israel_iran/index.html

  • Adam Neira July 5, 2011, 9:43 PM

    The chances of an Israeli attack on Iran by the opening of the UN General Assembly Meeting on Sep. 13th 2011 is less than 5%. The blog author is fear mongering to attract eyeballs.

    • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2011, 10:59 PM

      The chances of an Israeli attack on Iran by the opening of the UN General Assembly Meeting on Sep. 13th 2011 is less than 5%.

      Was it the Lord or Moshiach who told you so?

      • herenot July 5, 2011, 11:42 PM

        I think it was common sense, I imagine imaginary characters had very little to do with it.

        • Richard Silverstein July 6, 2011, 12:40 AM

          If you think Adam Neira has common sense you haven’t been paying any attention to his ramblings here. Nor to the fact that he would like us to believe he has a direct conduit to both the Lord & Moshiach. He won’t say whether he’s a messianic Chabadnik or messianic Jew (or both).

          • Adam Neira July 6, 2011, 1:12 AM

            There are investment sites that confirm my estimate about the chances of an attack. See Intrade. I am not a member of Chabad. I have contacts in many groups. It’s very hard to categorise me or put me in a neat pigeonhole. .

            What does Richard Silverstein think about Maimonides Twelfth Article of Faith ?

          • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2011, 1:20 AM

            There are investment sites that confirm my estimate about the chances of an attack. See Intrade.

            You’re basing the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran on the odds posted at a betting site? Are you for real?

            I am not a member of Chabad.

            You have a blog whose title includes the Chabad term “moshiach” & you’re not Chabad? Either you’re lying or you’re a fake ripping off Chabad’s precepts.

          • Sonny Corleone July 7, 2011, 3:02 PM

            Richard,

            Do not pay any heed to this Adam Neira character – he also spams the Zero Hedge blog whenever an Israel related post shows up. Adam – you are a complete waste of matter.

          • Chayma July 8, 2011, 3:58 AM

            @Richard

            He won’t say whether he’s a messianic Chabadnik or messianic Jew (or both).

            The Messianic Chabadniks don’t believe in Yeshu, or whatever name these Messianic Jews (who are Christians masquerading as Jews) give Jesus.

            How do Messianic Chabadniks differ from regular Chabadniks? They’re just an Orthodox branch of Judaism, unless i’m mistaken?

          • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 1:49 AM

            Messianic Chabadniks like “Rabbi” Dov Wolpe believe the most recently deceased Rebbe is the Moshiach. The mainstream Chabadniks believe in the Moshiach, but don’t necessarily see the Rebbe as the Moshiach. One is militant about it, the other less so.

          • shmuel July 8, 2011, 4:18 AM

            All Chabadniks are messianic in that they firmly believe, as all orthodox Jews do, that the Messiah may come at any moment (or as they say “mamash now”)

            Since the last Rebbe passed away about 20 years ago Chabad split into two rival factions, one of whom believe that the late Rebbe is not really dead but is in fact the Messiah and will return…

            Sound familiar to some Christians or Shi’ite Muslims? Yes we Jews suffer from these dreamers too!

          • Chayma July 8, 2011, 4:47 AM

            @shmuel

            All Chabadniks are messianic in that they firmly believe, as all orthodox Jews do, that the Messiah may come at any moment (or as they say “mamash now”)

            isn’t that traditional Jewish belief anyway?

            Since the last Rebbe passed away about 20 years ago Chabad split into two rival factions, one of whom believe that the late Rebbe is not really dead but is in fact the Messiah and will return…

            Sound familiar to some Christians or Shi’ite Muslims? Yes we Jews suffer from these dreamers too!

            So they believe that Rabbi is still alive and will descend. In other words, they only differ with other Jews over the identity of the Messiah.

            I dunno about the dreaming part, Sunni mainstream Islam believes in the Messiah too, but beleive it is Isa ibn Maryam, but not as God as Christians believe, and i’m not sure if the Shia mahdi is a forerunner to the Messiah, as they too do believe like Sunni Islam that the Messiah will descend eventually.

            But anyway, the purpose of my question was to see who the Messianic Chabadniks differ from Messianic Jews, who are in reality Christians.

            It’s only the Christians who give divinity to the Messiah, for a minute there, it sounded like Richard was saying the Chabadnik Messianics were too, which would mean they were giving divinity to a man, in this their Rabbi. But they are not.

            I misunderstood that. Thanks for the clarification.

          • shmuel July 8, 2011, 10:53 AM

            The fact that the Messianic Chabadniks claim the Rebbe never died is a form of deification which is probably why Richard compared them to Christians. They even say after the Rebbe’s name “Shlita” an epithet used for living scholars rather than the usual “zatsal” (may the rightious be of blessed memory) reserved for the dead.

      • John Macassey August 6, 2011, 6:31 PM

        Richard. I appreciate your views. I also pray there will be no attack. Personally, I do not believe there will be one for the repercussions would be simply too great. No one seems to mention the China equation. I read some time ago China has quietly notified the USA of that nations commitment to provide defensive weapons as well as high tech anti ship missiles which could cause a few problems for the US/Israel navy not to mention the Iranian threat to close the Straights of Humuz tanker route. Iran is an important energy provider for Iran as well as India and Pakistan. An attack on Iran would be incredibly irresponsible.

  • Strelnikov July 5, 2011, 10:24 PM

    I have to echo the people against the attack; Israel will suffer grave consequences if this air raid/possible commando action is pulled off. They will have to get used to having captured IDF soldiers mailed home in pieces, hijackings, rocket attacks from within Israel, or something worse. The status quo is always on eggshells, why make it worse?

  • Marcel July 6, 2011, 9:42 AM

    Richard,

    I find this article highly interesting also in regard to the surprising German tank sale to Saudi Arabia.

    Under the convential Israeli logic, Israel would oppose the sale of 200 state of the art main battle tanks to Saudi Arabia to maintain it’s QME as high as possible, but now there is not even a hint of criticism from Israel.

    But if the tank sale is part of a deal of Saudi consent to an Israeli attack on Iran, the tank deal and Israels behaviour to it would make perfectly sense to me.

    What do you think?

    • free man July 6, 2011, 10:13 AM

      I think you need some more facts.
      For example: The Sauds spend last year 42B$ on their army. That is ranked 8th in the world. It is also more than 11% of their GDP which is the highest rate in the world.
      Israel has no say as to how the Sauds spend their people money (nor does the Arabian people), easy come easy go.

      • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2011, 1:07 AM

        Off topic. When I write a post about Saudi Arabia then you can recite a litany of hasbarist facts making Israel smell like a rose. Till then stay on topic.

        • free man July 7, 2011, 1:46 PM

          Tell it to Marcel not me, he went off topic on the Sauds.
          You prejudice has gone too far for too long.

    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2011, 1:08 AM

      It’s an interesting theory. One to keep in mind as facts unfold in the next month or so.

    • John Macassey August 5, 2011, 8:50 PM

      The Saudi dictatorship has been pushing the USA to attack Iran for some time.

  • Chayma July 6, 2011, 10:52 PM

    US Military Presence Worldwide
    July 5th, 2011
    Mother Jones has an interesting interactive map chronicling the US’s military presence worldwide 1950-2007.

    What’s the only Middle Eastern country that has no official US military presence despite being surrounded on its Western and Eastern borders?

    Iran, of course.
    http://www.lobelog.com/us-military-presence-worldwide/

  • Michael Rivero July 7, 2011, 8:05 AM

    Israel may start a war with Iran, but will demand the US finish it.

  • abubaqar July 7, 2011, 10:14 AM

    israel will do what is in its nature, namely mischief and creating trouble in the area with its cohorts from abroad of the same league.
    the zionist jews should take stock of the water level in lake qinnaret daily, it will dry as predicted by the prophet mohammed pbuh1435 years ago after which there will be no state of israel and payback time will commence to its citizens for the war and human rights crimes they inflicted on the muslims and christians of the area and general crimes against humanity on the planet!

    • shmuel July 7, 2011, 6:37 PM

      Abubqar
      Do you have a source for this prophesy of Muhammed? I’d like to compare it with Christian and Jewish apocolypses all of which claim great victories against the infidels and wonderful things for the believers.

      Maybe we could even discover whose god is great?

      Or as the Monty Python team put it: “My god’s bigger than your god”

    • Deïr Yassin July 8, 2011, 8:37 AM

      @ Ya abubaqar
      How come my Hasbara detector tells me you’re neither a Muslim nor an Arab ?
      Maybe because ‘Lake qinnaret’ is not our way of calling it. And Kinneret is with a ‘K’ I think, just as Abu Bakri. It makes a huge difference in Arabic, in Hebrew I don’t know ….

      • Chayma July 8, 2011, 8:50 AM

        @ Abubaqr,

        Your statements are a lie. You don’t appear to know anything about Islam.

        You sound like Walid Shoebat, a Christian, who pretends to be an exmuslim and get’s paid for his dog and pony shores.

  • Mark Andersen July 7, 2011, 10:33 AM

    War with Iran would be suicide for Israel and the US. Iran should not be underestimated.A war between Israel and Iran would go down like this. Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear centers successfully but they would face reprisals. Iran,Syria,Hamas,and Hezbollah would fire missiles at Israel. Israel’s David Sting,and Iron Dome systems would be overwhelmed. the Israeli air force would have to retreat from the north and go south because Hezbollah has M-600 missiles,Syria,Iran would fire a multitude of missiles at Israel. Israel would then plan a ground invasion of Gaza and southern Lebanon. Israel at this time will do a bombing devastating blitz of Gaza,Syria,and Lebanon. Syria is getting anti ship[ missiles from Russia which with no doubt be sent to Hezbollah. So Hezbollah would sink at least one Israeli ship like last time. The air war over Lebanon will be very different. with upwards of 40,000 Katyusha rockets stockpiled, Hezbollah still retains the terror option. If Hezbollah’s plentiful M600s were fired in high-volume volleys, the Arrow system could be overwhelmed. If the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps] launched Iranian high-value Shahab-3Bs and variants timed with Hezbollah’s M600s, the Islamic republic could deal telling blows to strategic targets…. Hezbollah is said to be flush with the Russian-made SA-7 “Grail”, the SA-14 “Gremlin” and the SA-18 “Grouse.”
    These shoulder-fired SAMs are a point defense for covering mobile missile launchers like the M600 when exposed during the firing and retirement cycle. Also in the bargain came the SA-8 “Gecko”, a mobile launcher with a range of about 16 kilometers and a height of 12,000 meters. Mix these new capabilities with Syria’s new radar system supplied by Tehran… For Israel, the cost of setting back Iran’s nuclear program a few years before dealing decisively with Hezbollah and Syria is now at an all-time high
    If Israel goes to invade southern Lebanon they will fall into a trap. The Lebanese military made it clear if Israel invades Lebanon they will join Hezbollah to defend their national sovereignty.

    Iranian special forces and Iraqi Shiite militias will start cutting the long US supply line alone Route Tampa from Kuwait City. Then the Shiites on southern Iraq will start a campaign on attacking the reaming 50,000 US troops. Iranian irregulars would cross the border to give support and man power for the Shiite militia. Shiites in the Iraqi army and police will defect to the side of the militias and start killing US troops. The troops will be able to hold their own but we would be forced to retreat from Iraq. The reason because at this time the Iraqi govt would collapse and all gains that was made from the surge will be un done for good. We could possibly see at least 100-180 US troops being killed when the Shiites cut the supply line temporarily(because our air support will stop the blockage) and start conducting guerrilla attacks on them. On Afghanistan we could see Iran reluctantly giving the Taliban SAMs. That would make the war effort harder to win.

    ran has formidable asymmetrical retaliatory capabilities. For example, all of these are vulnerable to Iranian sabotage or hundreds of Iranian missiles on the eastern side of the Gulf: from the narrow Straits of Hormuz, which still handles 25 percent of the world’s oil traffic; to Bahrain, the U.S. Fifth Fleet’s headquarters where the population is two-thirds Shiite and the royal family is Sunni; to Dubai, where about 400,000 Iranians live, including many who are “sleeper agents” or favorable to Tehran; to Qatar, now the world’s richest country with per-capita income at $78,000, which supplies the United States with the world’s longest runway and sub-headquarters for CENTCOM, and whose LNG facilities are within short missile range of Iran’s coastal batteries; to Saudi Arabia’s Ras Tanura, the world’s largest oil terminal, and Abqaiq, nerve center of Saudi’s eastern oil field.
    So an attack against Iran would be disastrous in multiple levels.Any one with a modicum knowledge in economics and military strategy anf tactics know this would be a disaster and blow up Israel and our face literally.

    Good article Richard this more insightful then debkfile.

  • Steve July 8, 2011, 12:31 AM

    “Believe me, someone like Meir Dagan, a man famous for his silences and hatred of public attention and media interviews, does not open his mouth unless it is important. Very important. For this reason alone, I’d say that such an attack is not only possible, but likely.”

    I thought the same thing – this guy was head of the Mossad, he knows when to keep his trap shut, and when to open it. Unless it’s a very devious ploy to bluff Iran, but that seems unlikely, nor would there be much point – it won’t stop them doing what they are currently doing, ie building their nuclear capacity to the level they admit and are theoretically entitled to.
    Also one has the sense that if anyone was the man to lead Israel to Armageddon, and/or over the edge of the Abyss, Bibi is the one to do it, and the situation is looking more and more like one in which he would make his play. But the consequences could be really bad for Israel, let alone the rest of the region and world. Even if Israel avoided catastrophic damage in the short term, by no means certain, the region would be substantially irradiated effectively permanently, which Israel could not avoid impact from (without a lot of DU or worse the attack could not really do much damage), and the incentive for revenge attacks would be vastly increased. Plus the political and economic fallout generally, and great loss of life – a crazy move for no real gain – the regime will collapse/change sooner or later anyway, they always do, and this one is looking shakier every passing year. Those guys (Bibi/Barak at al) should really think twice, then twice again, about starting something that could finish them and Israel as a going concern, going for broke is not a historically successful strategy, on average, if at all. It usually ends in disaster, the real world being trickier and more unpredictable than even the best laid plans foresee – and Osirak was a cake walk compared to this, for any that think it’s a model to follow. Just wait it out, be rational, and try to build a country enough Jews will actually want to live in, instead of a besieged military base slowly becoming a nutter colony as the sensible ones leave and the extremists multiply.

  • Steve July 8, 2011, 12:47 AM

    Oh and Obama should consider, does he want to be the guy who let the disaster that even GW baulked at come to pass?

  • Canuck July 8, 2011, 5:05 AM

    These predictions happen at least twice a year since Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ SOTU speech in 2002. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, just that Israel knows fully well the consequences of such a move and Iran has had 9 years to prepare for it. I seriously doubt they have wasted that period of grace. But what if Israel attacked by proxy? Meaning Iraq? If it was ostensibly Iraq to attack Iran (as has happened before), retaliation on Israel would be a questionable option. One way or another Iran will be brought to heel but how? WWIII? I hope not.

  • Lincoln July 13, 2011, 4:29 AM

    Hi Richard,

    Interesting post. I’ve been following the situation pretty closely since about 2005 and have been hearing reports and speculation that Israel would attack Iran before Bush was out of office, and was floored when they didn’t. Since the passing of 2010 and the current political landscaping that has occured, I had come to the conclusion that though they (Israel) might still want to, they just couldn’t possibly do it now….that is, until I read this post. If you and your source are legitimate, then possibly the threat still exist, and perhaps more so now than ever before?

    Two questions for you, first, is there any new information you might have since you posted on the 5th? And second, all other speculation aside, what do you personally believe will happen? War likely?

  • An Iranian July 19, 2011, 8:10 AM

    Why would US agree on this? currently they are selling weapons to all neighbors of Iran by having our Nuclear topic at top, showing Iran as a threat to all the countries in the middle east.

  • Calvin ogal August 5, 2011, 11:36 AM

    No matter what, I support Israel by all means.

  • John Macassey August 5, 2011, 9:02 PM

    Personally I do not believe there will be an invasion of Iran for the simple reason that the price would be too high. China would be forced to act by providing the necessary defensive weapons. Even a so called surgical attack would create serious problems for, not only the US/Israel but the already shaky world economy. Well armed Iran is no comparison to the poorly armed Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians and Afghanis.

  • ken August 18, 2011, 6:57 PM

    Very interesting topic which is being discussed on several websites. Mark Anderson’s explanation of how things will unfold is very informative. Only one thing he seems to have left unsaid is the possibility of Israel using the nuclear option if their backs are finally and totally against the wall.

  • harry September 3, 2011, 4:08 PM

    they wont dare to attack Iran now, Iran too popular regionally and too strong military wise. this article is a waste

  • totoro July 5, 2011, 9:03 AM

    Mr Itai L, you sure know a lot about diverting attention, in fact it’s your only motive to post in each & every thread here.
    Nice try.

    PS : will you come to apologize in september when bombs start falling on iranian skulls ?

  • chet380 July 5, 2011, 9:35 AM

    Notwithstanding the opposition of the countries you enumerate, the Palestinians know that the vast majority of the UNGA votes will be in their favour.

    The only question, as I see it, will be whether UNGA Res. 377 will be invoked in the face of the inevitable US veto:

    “United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 377 (V),[1] the “Uniting for Peace” resolution, states that, in cases where the United Nations Security Council fails to act in order to maintain international peace and security, owing to disagreement between its five permanent members,[2] the matter shall be addressed immediately by the General Assembly, using the mechanism of the emergency special session.

    To facilitate prompt action by the General Assembly in the case of a dead-locked Security Council, the resolution created the mechanism of the “emergency special session” (ESS),[4] which can be called upon the basis of either a procedural vote in the Security Council, or within twenty-four hours of a request by a majority of UN Members being received by the Secretary-General. In procedural votes, the permanent members of the Security Council—the so-called “P5″—do not have the ability to block the adoption of draft resolutions, so unlike substantive matters, such resolutions can be adopted without their consent.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_377

    If it is invoked and the US veto is superseded, then what?

  • Deïr Yassin July 5, 2011, 1:41 PM

    @ Itai L
    “Of course I will come to apologize”
    Oh, that’s how you managed to be taken back in after your banning yesterday ? You apologized for your numerous lies here, and your throwing around with the accusations of antisemitism. I would have loved to see that apologize. Were you down on your knees, begging ?.

  • Deïr Yassin July 5, 2011, 2:17 PM

    @ Itai L
    You’re just showing everybody who and what you really are. After the ‘Mr. Silverstein here’ and the ‘Mr Silverstein there’, you show your reel ugly face, don’t you ? As so many others before you, you get rude on your way out the back door. Fine representative of your country. Branding Israel abroad.

  • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2011, 9:49 PM

    He’s not walking out the door willingly. I’ve shown him the door & given him a kick in the rear end as he exits. He’s figured out how to get a few more comments in that are increasingly toxic. But I’ll ban that access he has too & eventually his natterings will peter out.

  • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2011, 10:30 PM

    He only apologized the first time he was banned. But he won’t be unbanned this time. He seems to be either a junior hasbarist or else someone with a lot of time on his hands to behave like a juvenile delinquent. Given his little error with Shehadeh’s name he’s likely also exposed the fact that he’s the same dude as the one who called himself IlanP. These gremlins are endlessly inventive in coming up w. ever newer ways to make fools of themselves.

  • free man July 6, 2011, 10:15 AM

    If they fall, he will be too busy hiding to apologize.

  • John Macassey August 6, 2011, 6:38 PM

    When was the situation created when Palestine became unrecognizable???

  • John Macassey August 7, 2011, 8:24 PM

    I appreciate the line; “There needs to be a John Wayne figure in the White House…..” (to rein in Israel). Problem is the incredibly powerful US right wing Jewish lobby who support the current right wing Israeli government. Let us hope there will be a change of government in Israel who believe genuine and wise diplomacy should come before war. Why is the human race so apparently blind to tragedy???

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