A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
March 1, 2012- Iran Update
Today's article by Amos Yadlin in the New York Times, entitled: Israel's Last Chance to Strike Iran has been heavily covered in Israel today. Yadlin, who was both head of Military intelligence and one of the pilots who destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, is uniquely qualified to write about Iran. Yadlin has always been considered cautious on Iran and has never been one of those who pushed for an attack. The article makes a number of interesting points. First and foremost, whatever the negative consequences of an attack, a nuclear Iran would be worse. Second point Yadlin makes is that however difficult an attack might be, those who have been denigrating Israel’s ability to pull off such an attack do so at their own risk. The IAF specializes in pulling off the near impossible. Frankly, based on my own experience, albeit, more than a few years ago, IAF pilots and officers are among the most talented people I have ever known. By all accounts, IAF pilots are the best pilots in the world. So if there is a way to successfully execute this mission, the IAF will succeed.
The key unanswered question remains: Is it possible that it is too late to stop Iran's nuclear program through military action, while there might still be time to stop them diplomatically? This translates into whether or not a military action can delay or stop the Iranian program. How long can Iran be delayed?
Yadlin says at least two years. If that is the case, the real question is what can be accomplished in those two years. Could the sanctions become so strong that they totally undermine the regime and threaten its rule? Can that happen without a military attack? I am not sure. That is the only chance we have of stopping the Iranian nuclear program, short of a military attack, with unknown consequences.
The other major unknown is where the American's see their red line. President Obama has repeatedly gone on record saying: "we will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons". How close does Iran have to get to attaining nuclear weapons for the Americans to take the next step? That line will be determined at the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama next week.
The one thing that I continue to find intolerable are those American and other commentators who state that Israel is over reacting. A Jewish state cannot overreact when a nation whose leaders constantly call "Israel is a cancer that must be removed", gaining nuclear weapons. It must not act in haste and it must take the best possible course of action, but an Iran with its current government and with nuclear weapons is a threat that cannot be overstated.
Finally, in a related development, the former head of the Israeli Defense Command stated yesterday that the Arrow 2, which is currently deployed, is capable of intercepting a multiple barrages of missiles from Iran. Arrow 3 will be tested very soon.