Israel to attack Iran in December —again

All of a sudden everybody’s talking about this. On Aug. 12 the Jerusalem Post noted a story by Jeffrey Goldberg in the current issue of The Atlantic, “The Point of No Return,” predicting an Israeli attack on Iran by the end of the year. After speaking with 40 Israeli, Arab and US officials (past and present), Goldberg writes that “based on my conversations with Israeli decision-makers, this period of forbearance, in which Netanyahu waits to see if the West’s nonmilitary methods can stop Iran, will come to an end this December.” He asserts that the Pentagon has issued a directive not to shoot down Israeli planes in Iraqi airspace.


There have admittedly been some very worrying signs lately. But we’ve heard such predictions before. If it doesn’t happen, will anyone call upon Goldberg to eat crow?

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  1. How would you like your crow prepared, Jeffrey Goldberg?
    We will be waiting with bated breath to see if Israel attacks Iran in the five days remaining of December. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Goldberg can think about how he would like his crow prepared. We suggest a piquant chutney glaze.

    1. Did J.G. read the content of this cable?

      09TELAVIV1177 2009-06-02 06:06 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv

      SIPDIS

      E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/01/2019
      TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV MOPS IR KWBG IS
      SUBJECT: CODELS CASEY AND ACKERMAN MEET WITH DEFENSE
      MINISTER BARAK

      Classified By: DCM Luis G. Moreno, reasons 1.4 (b,d)

      ¶1. (C) Summary: Post hosted two CODELS during the week of May 25: one from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee led by Senator Casey, the other from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs led by Congressman Ackerman. Both delegations met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who conveyed similar points on the Peace Process and Israel’s concerns about Iran. End summary. (..)

      ¶10. (C) In both meetings, Barak described Iranians as “chess, not backgammon players.” As such, Iran will attempt to avoid any hook to hang accusations on, and look to Pakistan and North Korea as models to emulate in terms of acquiring nuclear weapons while defying the international community. He doubted Tehran would opt for an open, relatively low-threshold test like the recent one in North Korea. Rather, Iran will seek ways to bypass the NPT while ensuring its program is redundant and well-protected to prevent an irreparable military strike. Barak estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable. After that, he said, any military solution would result in unacceptable collateral damage. He also expressed concern that should Iran develop nuclear capabilities, other rogue states and/or terrorist groups would not be far behind.
      _____________________________________
      ‘Israel likely to hit Iran, consensus of 40 speculates’
      By HERB KEINON
      08/12/2010 04:47

      ‘The Atlantic’ magazine says Pentagon issued directive not to shoot down Israeli planes in Iraqi airspace.

      Talkbacks (20)
      The consensus among some 40 Israeli, Arab and US officials – past and present – is that there is a better than 50 percent chance Israel will launch an attack against Iran by next July, US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in a just published article for the September edition of The Atlantic magazine.

      In a massive 10,000 word piece titled “The Point of No Return,” Goldberg – who culled extensively from an interview he conducted, and previously wrote about, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu before he was sworn in as prime minister last year – said that “based on my conversations with Israeli decision-makers, this period of forbearance, in which Netanyahu waits to see if the West’s nonmilitary methods can stop Iran, will come to an end this December.”

      http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=184484
      ______________
      Cable seems to be the source: What’s up?
      “Barak estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable.”

    2. Buying time
      Buying time

      “But, based on my conversations with Israeli decision-makers, this period of forbearance, in which Netanyahu waits to see if the West’s nonmilitary methods can stop Iran, will come to an end this December. Robert Gates, the American defense secretary, said in June at a meeting of NATO defense ministers that most intelligence estimates predict that Iran is one to three years away from building a nuclear weapon. ‘In Israel, we heard this as nine months from June—in other words, March of 2011,’ one Israeli policy maker told me. ‘If we assume that nothing changes in these estimates, this means that we will have to begin thinking about our next step beginning at the turn of the year.'”

      1. Arabs see Iran as greater enemy
        You might pick-up the idea (clearly confirmed by the recent released WL cables) that the rich Arab (incl. Sunni Iraq) regimes, Israel and the USgov, perceive Iran as the greater enemy / threat of their interests. By the way, JG might also have had the same sources than the abovementioned cable(s).

        Israel want to pull the US into Iran. I do not know whether the Russians, China and Europe are ready for it and have the stomack for it. Israel has the experience from Iraq, how easy the US mil. complex likes to go to war (and wants Israel to keep out)…