Israel in Dress Rehearsal for Iran Strike?

Rick Moran
American officials report that an Israeli military exercise earlier this month involving more than 100 planes and dozens of helicpoters could have been a dry run for a strike against Iran:

But the scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran's nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

"They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know," the Pentagon official said. "There's a lot of signaling going on at different levels."

Several American officials said they did not believe that the Israeli government had concluded that it must attack Iran and did not think that such a strike was imminent.

First, it should be said that most American analysts believe that the Israeli political leadership has not decided whether they should strike Iran although it appears more and more as if the military brass is convinced such a strike is desirable and inevitable.

Secondly, the "message" the Israelis want to send will be heard loud and clear. Europeans are, if anything, more committed than the US to forcing the Iranians to back off on their enrichment program. The Israeli exercises may light a fire under Europe to increase the severity of the sanctions against Iran in hopes that the regime will buckle.

This isn't likely. President Ahmadinejad appears ready to take Iran over the cliff with their nuclear program - something the Israelis simply cannot allow.

Will the exercise become real soon? Estimating progress in the Iranian program is difficult but it seems pretty certain that by this time next year, the Iranians will be enriching uranium on an industrial scale - several dozen pounds a month of reactor grade uranium that could be turned into weapons grade material in a matter of weeks. At that point, all bets are off and Israel will feel it necessary to protect itself.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

American officials report that an Israeli military exercise earlier this month involving more than 100 planes and dozens of helicpoters could have been a dry run for a strike against Iran:

But the scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran's nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

"They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know," the Pentagon official said. "There's a lot of signaling going on at different levels."

Several American officials said they did not believe that the Israeli government had concluded that it must attack Iran and did not think that such a strike was imminent.

First, it should be said that most American analysts believe that the Israeli political leadership has not decided whether they should strike Iran although it appears more and more as if the military brass is convinced such a strike is desirable and inevitable.

Secondly, the "message" the Israelis want to send will be heard loud and clear. Europeans are, if anything, more committed than the US to forcing the Iranians to back off on their enrichment program. The Israeli exercises may light a fire under Europe to increase the severity of the sanctions against Iran in hopes that the regime will buckle.

This isn't likely. President Ahmadinejad appears ready to take Iran over the cliff with their nuclear program - something the Israelis simply cannot allow.

Will the exercise become real soon? Estimating progress in the Iranian program is difficult but it seems pretty certain that by this time next year, the Iranians will be enriching uranium on an industrial scale - several dozen pounds a month of reactor grade uranium that could be turned into weapons grade material in a matter of weeks. At that point, all bets are off and Israel will feel it necessary to protect itself.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky