In today’s New York Times, Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israeli intelligence and one of the Israeli pilots who bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, made an impassioned case for military action against Iran by Israel and the U.S.
To say the least, the Israeli capabilities of accomplishing the mission of destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities are far less potent than America’s own.
(Related: PolicyMic Iran expert Joeseph Sarkisian’s analyzes the logistical hurdles Israel would face in an Iran strike.)
For this reason, if the Israelis were to act alone, it would need to move soon, before Iran is able to fortify itself and better defend its positions.
Thus, the impending meeting this week between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so critical. If America’s timetable for invasion is different than Israel’s (because it has more firepower), Israel must be assured that the U.S. will remove this existential threat to Israel. When Iran shields its nuclear facilities, Israel will be totally dependent upon the U.S. for its security from a nuclear threat. This is a huge leap of trust, although the U.S. has repeatedly indicated it would defend its most important ally in the region.
Regarding the destabilization that may occur from a military attack, Yadlin weighs this point and believes a nuclear Iran would be far worse, saying, “A regional nuclear arms race without a red phone to defuse an escalating crisis.” He adds, “A non-nuclear Iran would be infinitely easier to contain than an Iran with nuclear weapons.”
Iranian aggression in the Middle East would be emboldened in the form of terrorist activity by surrogates such as Hezbollah. And often discounted is the venom Iran has for its regional Sunni neighbors.
Netanyahu needs “ironclad” assurances that the U.S. will act, if necessary and after all other means are exhausted, while it can be successful. This period of time far exceeds the time Israel has to do the same. A failure to allay Israeli concerns will encourage Israel to move forward very soon.
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