The situation in the Middle East is getting interesting again in that Israel is about to have a government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, whose identification of the Iranian Nuclear Program as an “existential threat” to Israel is well known. The United Nations has concluded that Iran has the necessary material to construct a nuclear bomb and no one seriously disputes that assessment. Russia has aided the Nuclear Program at every turn and is due to send some advanced anti aircraft batteries to protect Iranian nuclear facilities from attack. Russia and the United States have sparred, under Bush, during the Georgia War, and Obama’s attempt to set a new tone has resulted in his humiliation at Russian Hands. The Iranians have been testing their new missiles including launching their first satellite into space. President Ahmadinejad is up for election in June and it’s possible that he might be replaced by a more moderate candidate. Meanwhile in the United States; President Barak Obama is consumed by domestic difficulties and the global financial meltdown and appears to have little inclination toward foreign policy in addition to lukewarm support of Israel at best.
Against this backdrop the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has done a report, excerpts of which ran in the Jerusalem Post, indicating that Israel will act unilaterally and feels the window for action is getting dramatically shorter. Delivery of the Russian Anti Aircraft system would guarantee an Israeli attack and the Russians have shown no shyness about helping Iran and vexing the United States seems to relish the delivery of the system. Other nations of the gulf region are wondering if they will be protected by America and they look for more missile protection lest Ahmadinejad target their oil fields to damage the western economies already on the brink of the abyss. It seems that with the embattled Kadima Prime Minister Olmert out of the picture that events will move rapidly toward a war between Iran and Israel, this year, unless international pressure and or a change in Iranian leadership prompts a reassessment.
Here is a clip from the article in the Jerusalem Post and the URL for the whole story:
‘Israel seriously mulling Iran military action’
Mar. 5, 2009
HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPost correspondent in Washington , THE JERUSALEM POST
Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a report by top US political figures and experts released Wednesday.
The report also says Israel’s time frame for action is growing shorter, not only because of Iranian advances, but because Teheran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations.
The report, “Preventing a Cascade of Instability,” was put out by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). It also argues that international sanctions against Iran need to be intensified urgently for the engagement the Obama administration is planning with Teheran to be effective.
“It’s quite serious in acting on its own about a nuclear-armed Iran,” former US ambassador to the United Nations Nancy Soderberg, one of the task force members who traveled to the region to research the report, said at a WINEP event held Wednesday on the report’s release.
She noted that the timetable for an Israeli attack might be “significantly” moved up if Jerusalem believed Russia was going to make good on its pledge to supply Iran with the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which would greatly complicate any Israeli attack.