Linked with The Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS.
Published on HAARETZ.com, by Reuven Pedatzur, May 16, 2009.
Israeli government ministers and Knesset members who will help make the decision about whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities do not have to wait any longer for a preparatory briefing by the Israel Air Force.
They can read about all the possible scenarios for a strike on Iran, and about the potential risks and chances of success, in a study by Abdullah Toukan and Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Never before has such an open, detailed and thorough study of Israel’s offensive options been published. The authors of the 114-page study meticulously gathered all available data on Israel’s military capabilities and its nuclear program, and on Iran’s nuclear developments and aerial defenses, as well as both countries’ missile inventory …
… The continual harping on the Iranian threat stems from domestic Israeli politics and a desire to increase investment in the security realm, but the ramifications of this are dangerous when you analyze expected developments in Iran’s ballistics: It is impossible for Israel to ignore Iran’s capacity to hit it, and Jerusalem must shape a policy that will neutralize that threat.
In another year, or three years from now, when the Iranians possess nuclear weapons, the rules of the strategic game in the region will be completely altered. Israel must reach that moment with a fully formulated and clear policy in hand, enabling it to successfully confront a potential nuclear threat, even when it is likely that the other side has no intention of carrying it out. The key, of course, is deterrence. Only a clear and credible signal to the Iranians, indicating the terrible price they will pay for attempting a nuclear strike against Israel, will prevent them from using their missiles. The Iranians have no logical reason to bring about the total destruction of their big cities, as could happen if Israel uses the means of deterrence at its disposal. Neither the satisfaction of killing Zionist infidels, nor, certainly, the promotion of Palestinian interests would justify that price. Israeli deterrence in the face of an Iranian nuclear threat has a good chance of succeeding precisely because the Iranians have no incentive to deal a mortal blow to Israel.
Therefore, all the declarations about developing the operational capability of IAF aircraft so they can attack the nuclear facilities in Iran, and the empty promises about the ability of the Arrow missile defense system to contend effectively with the Shahab-3, not only do not help bolster Israel’s power of deterrence, but actually undermine the process of building it and making it credible in Iranian eyes.
The time has come to adopt new ways of thinking. No more fiery declarations and empty threats, but rather a carefully weighed policy grounded in sound strategy. Ultimately, in an era of a multi-nuclear Middle East, all sides will have a clear interest to lower tension and not to increase it. (full text).
In Iraq, U.S. must hold and build, by ANTHONY CORDESMAN, May 14, 2009;
Obama gets Israel to back off attack plans, by Jay Bookman, May 15, 2009.
Watch this video: Riz Khan – The future of US-Israeli relations, 14 May 2009, Part 1, 11.09 min;
Dangerous new world, by Reuven Pedatzur, November 09, 2006.