The constant chatter about a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear site may end by the summer. After that, the military option may fall off the table, according to sources quoted in American media Tuesday, relying on the Associated Press.
Except for the ticking clock, the scenario has not changed. Iran is racing to reach nuclear capability, and the West is applying economic sanctions aimed at punishing the Ahmadinejad regime until it realizes it must cooperate with the United Nations and allows honest inspections of its nuclear facilities.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervisors are currently in Iran, which is tying to convince the world its nuclear facilities are for peaceful purposes and not to wipe our Israel.
The current weapons in use against Iran are sanctions, which now are harsher than ever, cyber warfare such as last year’s Stuxnet attack, and subversive assassinations from within Iran and which have eliminated dozens of nuclear scientists and Revolutionary Guard officers the past three years.
Israel is worried the latest sanctions came too late to stop Iran, which has buried its nuclear facilities under concrete bunkers and in isolated mountainous areas to make them more immune to an attack. Israel is armed with American-made bunker busting bombs, long-range drones, submarines and long-range warplanes. Iran claims it can easily attack Israel with its missiles.
The question marks are on how much damage Israel can do and how much damage Iran can do to Israel if it stages a counter attack. Another concern is the possibility that Lebanon’s Hizbullah terrorist organization would attack Israel with tens of thousands of missiles.
The clock may have the final say, according to the American media reports based on sources who say that after mid-summer, the military option will be off the table.
“It seems to us to be urgent, because the Iranians are deliberately drifting into what we call an immunity zone where practically no surgical operation could block them,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last Friday.
He added, "We are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear.”
The sanctions are a two-edged sword, As late as they have come, the United States and other Western countries can claim that Israel must give them time to work. The Iranian economy is known to be suffering, the local currency is in shambles and inflation is sky-high.
An Israeli attack on Iran could cause a worldwide economic crisis if Iran blocks the passage of oil and tankers through the Strait of Hormuz and also could cause a diplomatic crisis as well as all-out war – unless a surgical strike is swift and successful.
Yiftakh Shapir, an expert in nuclear arms proliferation at Tel Aviv University, told the Associated Press, “What will tip the scales in favor or against an attack is whether we will really be able to do inflict serious damage.” He said it would take massive assaults lasting nearly a month to destroy Iran’s fortified nuclear facilities.
Until the summer, it may not be surprising if there are more “mysterious” deaths in Iran.