When a boy has a scuffle with a bigger and stronger boy, he pretends that he is going to attack him any moment and shouts to the spectators: "Hold me back, or I am going to kill him!"
Israel is now in such a situation. We pretend that we are going to attack Iran at any moment and shout to the entire world: "Hold us back or..."
And the world does indeed hold us back.
IT IS dangerous to prophesy in such matters, especially when we are dealing with people not all of whom are wise and not all of whom are sane. Yet I am ready to maintain: there is no possibility whatsoever that the government of Israel will send the air force to attack Iran.
I am not going to enter into military matters. Is our air force really capable of executing such an operation? Are circumstances similar to those that prevailed 28 years ago, when the Iraqi reactor was successfully destroyed? Is it at all possible for us to eliminate the Iranian nuclear effort, whose installations are dispersed throughout the large country and buried far below the surface?
I want to focus on another aspect: is it politically feasible? What would be the consequences?
FIRST OF ALL, a basic rule of Israeli reality: the State of Israel cannot start any large-scale military operation without American consent.
Israel depends on the US in almost every respect, but in no sphere is it more dependent than in the military one.
The aircraft that must execute the mission were supplied to us by the US. Their efficacy depends on a steady flow of American spare parts. At that range, refueling from US-built tanker aircraft would be necessary.
The same is true for almost all other war material of our army, as well as for the money needed for their acquisition. Everything comes from America.
In 1956, Israel went to war without American consent. Ben-Gurion thought that his collusion with the UK and France was enough. He was vastly mistaken. One hundred hours after telling us that the "Third Kingdom of Israel" had come into being, he announced with a broken voice that he was going to evacuate all the territories just conquered. President Dwight Eisenhower, together with his Soviet colleague, had submitted an ultimatum, and that was the end of the adventure.
Since then, Israel has not started a single war without securing the agreement of Washington. On the eve of the Six-day War, a special emissary was sent to the US to make sure that there was indeed American agreement. When he returned with an affirmative answer, the order for the attack was issued.
On the eve of Lebanon War I, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon rushed to Washington to obtain American consent. He met with Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who agreed but only on condition that there would be a clear provocation. A few days later there just happened to be an attempt on the life of the Israeli ambassador in London, and the war was on.
The Israeli army's offensives against Hezbollah ("Lebanon War II") and Hamas ("Cast Lead") were possible because they were cast as part of the American campaign against "Radical Islam".
Ostensibly, that is also true for an attack on Iran. But no.
BECAUSE AN Israeli attack on Iran would cause a military, political and economic disaster for the United States of America.
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