Thursday, March 22, 2012

Israel More Confident in Attack on Iran? Remember Dick Cheny?

Before Israel Attacks Iran it Should Remember Dick Cheney

Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic Monthly has an interesting although somewhat unnerving piece on his recent trip to Israel.  While there, Goldberg talked to a number of senior Israeli officials and emerged from his trip more convinced than he was previously that Israel is not bluffing when it threatens to attack Iran.  According to Goldberg, Israeli officials increasingly believe that the dire forecasts of the harm an attack on Iran would cause are overblown, and that the fallout affects from a strike could be contained.  According to Goldberg:
One conclusion key officials have reached is that a strike on six or eight Iranian facilities will not lead, as is generally assumed, to all-out war. This argument holds that the Iranians might choose to cover up an attack, in the manner of the Syrian government when its nuclear facility was destroyed by the Israeli air force in 2007. An Israeli strike wouldn’t focus on densely populated cities, so the Iranian government might be able to control, to some degree, the flow of information about it. 
Goldberg also notes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu believes that a successful raid could "unclothe the emperor" and embolden Iran's citizens to overthrow the regime.  For those interested, here is the link to Goldberg's full article.  I have no particular insight into the thinking of senior Israeli or Iranian military officials; however, if past experiences have taught us anything it is that when it comes to armed combat, "the best laid schemes of mice and men" frequently go awry.  Indeed, who can forget Dick Cheney's prediction before the launch of an attack against Iraq in 2003 that "we will, in fact, be welcomed as liberators".  I think its fair to say in retrospect that this did not work out quite as planned....

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