Israeli historian Benny Morris has an op-ed in the New York Times today that declares flatly:
ISRAEL will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months — and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful enough to cause at least a significant delay in the Iranian production schedule, if not complete destruction, of that country’s nuclear program. Because if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb.
Taken in the context of Dr. Morris’s past positions I think it’s reasonable to suspect that he’s predicting rather than advocating the strike.
I continue to think such a strike is extremely unlikely and my views are more in line with those of Blake Hounshell:
What’s going on? I have a guess: Israel is playing bad cop to America’s good cop. The Times story provides one clue: “[T]he Israelis have also been told that they can expect no help from American forces and will not be able to use U.S. military bases in Iraq for logistical support.” It’s hard to imagine the Israelis could or would pull off a strike without U.S. help, so this is probably disinformation intended to send the message that Israel could act alone (which is doubtful for geographic, technical, and diplomatic reasons).
I think that Israel and the U. S. are much in the position of Frederick Burr Opper’s comic strip characters Alphonse and Gaston pictured at left.
Neither Israel nor the United States wants Iran to have nuclear weapons but neither country wants to be the first through that door to stop the Iranians from having them. For good or ill I suspect it’ll stay that way until we have significantly more definite information than we do now.