After (If) the Iran Deal: What does Israel Do Next?
Nothing could be more predictable than this headline from CNN today: Does Israel have a military option vs. Iran nuclear program?
(CNN)The Iran nuclear negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, reportedly have made substantive progress, inching closer toward a provisional agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. While the talks continued to unfold this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu restated his concern about an agreement with Iran, vowing “to continue to act against any threat.”
If an agreement is reached, the international spotlight will turn to Israel, in anticipation of its possible reaction. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Bogy” Yaalon stated that a deal is “a tragedy for the whole world.” The question is, however, what can Israel really do once a deal is signed? In recent days, notable conservatives in the United States have attacked President Barack Obama’s handling of the negotiations with Iran, arguing that a bad deal will force Israel’s hand, leaving it with no choice but to attack Iranian targets.
But is this a realistic conclusion?
My answer to that question is “I don’t think so.” On what do I base that conclusion? On expert opinion. To which skeptics would ask “What makes YOU an expert?”. To which my reply is: “Man it is not MY expert opinion. It is THESE guys”. Who THEY are and what THEY say will require a visit below the fold.
Some years back I put up a link and discussion of the following 2009 report by Abdullah Toukan and Anthony Cordesman of CSIS entitled Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities The conclusion I drew from the Report is that Israel could launch a limited first strike at selected Iranian targets but would require American logistical support, particularly in the way of aerial refueling, to make that happen. However it would not be able to maintain a sustained effective air campaign thereafter. It didn’t have the resources and reserves.
A link to that 2009 post can be found in a 2013 Angry Bear update The Map Office Still Calling: Israeli capabilities for striking Iran which in turn linked to what was essentially a Sept 2012 update to the original Toukan-Cordesman report entitled: Analyzing the Impact of Preventive Strikes Against Iran’s Nuclear Facilities
My take on that Sept 2012 update is available at the Map Office link and was summarized there as follows:
All I can say is that Israel is running a huge bluff here. There is exactly no way they can launch a successful attack on Iran, and still less a sustained multi-mission series of attacks without active U.S. assistance starting but not ending with re-fueling assistance.
So my question to you all is this: on what reading of either Toukan-Cordesman 2009 or Toukan-Cordesman 2012 or any other equivalent data-based analysis would you say that my conclusion is in fact wrong?
oh, well, we can hope the Israelis don’t do anything stupid. and we can hope they never have cause to regret not doing something stupid.
but can we have confidence the American Congress will not do anything stupid?
not to say the American President, whoever he may be.
Thom Hartman is currently having a conversation with Prof. Stephen Cohen on all this.
Why the lone focus on Israel? The Saudi led Sunni population has a big stake in this also. I would conjecture that in the short term Israel’s reaction will depend closely on what Saudi wants. In this time frame I would rule out a nuclear reaction.
In the longer term I think we will be asking what will be the Saudi reaction, but in this longer time frame I am not sanguine about a Saudi nuclear reaction.
I doubt that Saudi Arabia is that much concerned about potential Iranian nuclear capability. Certainly not as much as their support of various Shi’ia populations in and around the Arab Peninsula and the Levant. In any event Saudi Arabia does not have 200+ nuclear weapons ready to go as Israel does nor the record on launching pre-emptive strikes.
Powerful forces in Israel up to and decidedly including the Prime Minister have been openly threatening to take matters into their own hands and have tried to sell the idea that they are somehow just standing aside and allowing the U.S. to take the lead as if they are doing us some kind of favor. Rather than as I contend running a huge bluff trying to get the U.S. to go along with its own Neo-Cons and launch a war on Iran largely on Israel’s behalf.
CoRev something you yourself were comfortable threatening back in the day with your suggestion that we should just circle C-130s over Damascus and Tehran as a deterrent against those regimes interfering in the Iraq War you so fervently supported. Your warmongering days may be hazy to you but are sharp enough in my recollection. Why would I listen to you now?
Why don’t comments show up in your original post? I seem to remember you and I had discussed using Saudi airspace and your suggestion was KSA wouldn’t allow this as to not offend their Shiite minority. Of course that thought was way off base considering recent developments. I could have sworn we discussed that in comments.
If the post was when we were on the old platform for the blog, then all comments are lost.
It may have been. Thanks for the explanation.
Bruce, don’t listen to me!
Anyone denying the possibility of a Sunni V Shia war in the ME is not following the news. Many think we already have a hot war when previously it was just a war with proxies.
When Iran has enough nuclear capabilities so will Saudi. One will develop it at great cost, and the other will just buy them from its allies. It it hasn’t already happened.
CoRev you are off topic.
And BTW piss off. If you want to talk Saudi Iran relations take it somewhere where they care to hear your opinion. Don’t try to hijack my post. For the bazillionith time.
looks like you and I are in the same basket “off topic” land.
and they say I am rude.
for what it’s worth, i don’t particularly agree with you, but i can’t see how it is off topic to speculate on the future of the middle east following the Iran nukes deal in comments to a post speculating on the future of the middle east after the iran nukes deal.
maybe we are both wasting our time.
Dale hijacking threads is rude. Not every thread on Social Security is an excuse for you to intrude your particular fixation just as not every thread on just about anything ever is an excuse for CoRev to try to hijack it into a climate change denial thread. But both of you do this ALL THE TIME.
You are a friend and CoRev is someone I despise to my very core but honestly since I met the two of you I have found you shared a cavalier disregard to the point of “Fuck the Poster” as to any need to actually address the post rather than hijack comments.
This post was not about THE FUTURE OF THE MIDDLE EAST.
This post was about ADDRESSING ISRAEL’S ABILITY TO LAUNCH AN EFFECTIVE STRIKE ON IRAN’s NUCLEAR CAPABILITIES.
If you want to talk about something else you can take it to an Open Thread or ask Dan (or me) to put up a post on your behalf. Otherwise you can piss right up the same rope alongside CoRev.
And yeah I am grumpy. Because I on about year eight of this same sh*t.
the distance between “what does Israel do…” and “what will happen in the mideast…”
is not great enough for anyone in a normal conversation to notice that “the topic has changed” much less that “the conversation has been hijacked.”
My posts have been hijacked… by CoRev among others. I think I can tell the difference. I can also tell the difference between disagreeing with someone, even disagreeing with them strongly, and telling them to piss off.
This last is a point I tried to make with your friends at Social Security Works. They didn’t get it.
I am afraid we are in eye of the beholder land.
As for “every thread on Social Security…” Since I am the only one who has the right answer to the Social Security “crisis,” I am perfectly willing to intrude my particular fixaton. I am perfectly willing to be yelled at for it. I don’t think I hijack the subject threads. I do reply to arguments made against me, whether substantive or personal, which may indeed have the effect of hijacking the thread, but in that case it is often the “poster” who hijacks his own thread, and i find it quite as tedious as you do.
Which is as good a reason to stop here as the other one I was thinking of (the uselessness of continuing and the absolute danger of just digging deeper into hard feelings.)
Wow, did this discussion deteriorate at warp speed. I’m afraid I didn’t see the hijacking, either, but as not one of the insiders, what do I know?
UL & Dale, yup! Bruce Highjacked his own article’s comment thread.
To put us back on the core question: “…would you say that my conclusion is in fact wrong?” You are wrong! Capabilities and politics have changed in the region. These are several of the routes proposed in 2012/13: http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2012/08/Israeli%20Air%20Force%20Strike%20Routes_0.jpg
Notice which countries are involved and how the politics have changed due to ISIL successes. Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are all potential allies, or at least able to turn their heads as Israeli forces were overhead, coming and returning!
As for Israel’s reaction, it will most likely occur with overt and probably active support of the Saudis, because of the ongoing Sunni V Shia conflict. It will be a non-nuclear/traditional combined air/Spec. Ops. military reaction.
The presence of Israel has perturbed the historical animosity between these two religions. The increased religious tension and the addition of Iranian nuclear capability to the 3 major parties will eventuate in a REAL the enemy of my enemy is my friend relationship. It will be short lived as all parties become nuclear neighbors.