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October surprise: US and Israel prepare to strike Iran

Published time: October 09, 2012 17:05
Edited time: October 09, 2012 21:05
A US Air Force B-52 bomber. (AFP Photo / Roslan Rahman)

A US Air Force B-52 bomber. (AFP Photo / Roslan Rahman)

The United States and Israel are already involved in discussions over how they could soon conduct a joint surgical strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, a source close to the talks tells Foreign Policy magazine.

After months of urging from Israeli authorities for the US to intervene in a rumored Iranian plan to procure a nuke, a source speaking on condition of anonymity tells Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf that the two allies have come close to signing off on an attack against Iran.

Although no plan of action has been set in stone yet, the source says the attack will likely be from the sky and consist of drone strikes and bomber jets for only “a couple of hours” at best but would not require more than “a day or two” of action.

But while the US has not officially signed onto the strike, the source reports, American involvement would be absolutely necessary in order to effectively take out the structures where Iranian scientists are assumed to be attempting to procure a nuclear warhead.

“To get to buried Iranian facilities, such as the enrichment plant at Fordow, would require bunker-busting munitions on a scale that no Israeli plane is capable of delivering,” Rothkopf writes in the article, published Monday, October 8. “The mission, therefore, must involve the United States, whether acting alone or in concert with the Israelis and others.”

Israel has long attested that Iranian officials are enriching nuclear materials to be used with volatile warheads, despite longstanding claims from Iran that any program they are operating exists for peaceful purposes only. Hostilities between Israel and their neighboring foe have only worsened as of late, prompting Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to insist that America draw “red lines before Iran,” and demand that the US offer them an ultimatum before time runs out. Last month US President Barack Obama dismissed Israel’s warnings against an escalating nuclear threat, though, saying he understand their concerns over what damage Iran could do with a nuclear weapon, but that he would continue to “block out any noise” from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he insists on American intervention.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly only days later, though, President Obama appeared to be more willing to act if Iran is proven to be procuring a weapon of mass destruction, vowing, “the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” and said that any attempts by Iran to procure a nuclear warhead would “threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy” and is “not a challenge that can be contained.”

Now following a report RT published last week concerning classified footage of Iranian facilities believed to be handed over to American intelligence from a defected member of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad entourage, the US may finally be ready to give in to Israeli pressure and strike Iran.

If the rumored plan of attack is put into action, the source says, the strike is expected to set back the nation’s nuclear program “many years,” and doing so without civilian casualties. The end result, however, could be one immensely beneficial to America, specifically its holdings in the Middle East where the country has long expressed a vested interested.

Should US provide power to strike Iran, the source says, the attack would have a long-term effect in the region, but particularly on America’s investments there. The strike, says the source, would be “transformative,” – "saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the (Persian) Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come."

Should Israel strike Iran without the direct aid of the US, however, America would not necessarily be in the clear. Although President Obama has advocated for a peaceful resolution to Israeli/Iranian disputes, Iran’s officials have suggested that they have no problem with striking the US if their allies make the first move.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard told reporters last month that his country “will definitely be at war with American bases should a war break out,” explaining that "There will be no neutral country in the region," and, "To us, these bases are equal to US soil."