The political and media frenzy that focused on Iran, Israel and U.S. forces near the Strait of Hormuz has appeared to mellow over the past few weeks, but just because it’s not in the headlines doesn’t mean it’s over.The tensions really started flaring up in late December when Iran held a massive Naval exercise near the Strait, threatened to mine it, and choke off 40 per cent of the global oil supply.
Since then, U.S. officials like Secretary of defence Leon Panetta and President Obama himself, have said that the U.S. will not allow Iran to achieve a full fledged nuclear program capable of creating a nuclear weapon.
Israel has also said it cannot abide a nuclear Iran, and rumours of them going it alone against Tehran filled headlines as recently as a couple of weeks ago.
But that all seems to have changed after the major U.S. war game “Internal Look,” which Pentagon brass used to understand what might happen if Israel were to attack Iran on its own.
This go-round of the huge war game showed that an Israeli attack would be the first step in a regional war that may pull in the United States and leave hundreds of American soldiers dead.
The findings seem to have derailed Israel’s initial drive to take on Iran alone, and Amir Oren at Ha’aertz reports today that Inside Look has put off an Israeli attack on Iran until early next year, at least until spring 2013.
This could allow both the U.S. and Israel to rally support to a few key areas like Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, used for short-range missile attacks. The Iron Dome didn’t perform as well as hoped in recent tests, and the U.S. recently promised to provide additional funding to improve and expand its capabilities.
It could also give Israel time to install itself on a newly purchased airbase at Iran’s northern border, so that its fighters won’t have to rely on mid-air refueling during any sorties flown to Tehran.
And it could give the U.S. a bit of time to upgrade its fleet of B-2s, the only plane capable of carrying the 30,000 pound bunker buster bomb called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator needed to strike Iran’s underground bunkers.
Congress urgently passed $82 million in further funding for an enhanced MOP in February, looking to enhance the penetration capabilities it will need to hit fortified underground targets set as deeply as Iranian nuclear facilities, for instance.
The 2013 timeline would also allow the U.S. to pull as many troops as possible out of Afghanistan and consolidate its attention on an Iran campaign that, if it happens, promises to be a complex, dangerous, and very costly endeavour.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.