The justification for this stance is the belief Israel will attack Iran's nuclear facilities and, as a consequence, Iran must preempt it. Although many strategic experts described these comments as "bluster," Iran's Defense Ministry test-fired a two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic-missile, putting a new satellite into orbit; clearly, Iran has ICBM capability.
The head of Mossad recently noted that Iran has sufficient enriched uranium for four to six nuclear bombs and is continuing to enrich uranium despite four sets of U.N. sanctions. Recognizing this present state of affairs, Israeli forces have been engaged in a variety of preparations for an attack with Secretary of Defense Panetta, who stated that -- despite U.S. disapproval -- a strike may take place in the Spring.
The 1981 bombing of the Osirak nuclear facility in Iraq was also criticized by the American government, notwithstanding the fact nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein would have been a game-changer in the Middle East, and have forestalled the first Gulf War.
Any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is far more complicated than the 1981 bombing at Osirak, where there were only 12 casualties. This attack would have forestalled collateral damage and significant political blowback, albeit several Sunni nations will publicly condemn and privately congratulate Israel should the Iranian nuclear program be set back or destroyed.
To avoid or control retaliation, Israel will consider a variety of secondary targets including communication infrastructures and energy resources. But this cannot be a sterile operation; retaliation has to be entertained including the firing of thousands of missiles by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon into Israeli population centers. Israel will be under siege. How the Obama administration responds is critical. The current passive climate in Washington has given the Iranian regime encouragement and explains why Netanyahu has apparently said he will only give DC officials 24 hour notice of the impending attack.
Israel cannot allow Iran to attack first: that would constitute a second holocaust. Every Israeli pilot in his F-16 realizes he is fighting to prevent the slaughter of Jews and the survival of Israel. Iran contends its military doctrine is "defensive preemption," what the UN charter calls "anticipatory self defense." But with the development of enriched uranium and statements about the destruction of Israel from Ahmadinejad to Khamanei, it is Iran that is on the offensive and Israel that must defend itself.
Should these attacks take place, the U.S. will not be able to insulate itself. Iran will claim Israel needed the approval and assistance of the U.S. before an attack could be launched. And Israel will argue that the inability of the U.S. to constrain Iranian nuclear weapons development forced its hand.
It was assumed by the Obama intelligence team that time is on our side, which the US also thought about North Korea; one morning America woke up to find that North Korea had nuclear weapons. The moment for dreaming about time has passed. Sanctions have not had an effect in the Iranian enrichment program. Obama himself has delayed acting. hoping against reality that Iran will come to its senses. There is only a military option that remains, one that the U.S. will not consider, but one Israel cannot avoid. With the threat of Iranian nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at every capital of Europe -- the problem is global, not just Israel's -- is resulting in a year of difficult but unavoidable decisions.