For those nervous that the world is lurching closer to another war in the Middle East, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that one potential aggressor, Israel, thinks it will be a short war.
The bad news is that this means Israel is probably getting closer to pulling the trigger.
The potential war in question, obviously, would be the one in which Israel (and the rest of the world, including the United States) try to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
The world has imposed serious economic sanctions on Iran, which are beginning to bite.
But lots of folks are sceptical that sanctions will work–in part because, as one expert at a conference argued recently, because some leaders in Iran don’t trust the west and don’t believe that the sanctions will be lifted even if Iran does give up on its weapons program.
So Israel and the U.S. are making more and more noise about attacking.
And according to Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg, Israel now believes that it can attack and disable Iran’s nuclear weapons effort without either of the side effects that otherwise make an attack unpalatable.
1) without so infuriating Iran’s civilian population that they dig in and fight to the death, and
2) without drawing the rest of the world into the conflict.
Specifically, Goldberg says, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites would actually “unclothe the emperor”–demonstrating to Iranian civilians that their leaders were weak and, thus, encouraging them to overthrow the regime.
Secondly, Goldberg says, Israeli officials have now convinced Netanyahu that they will be able to take out Iran’s nuclear sites without provoking an all-out war. Because the sites aren’t located in heavily populated areas, this theory goes, Iran’s regime will just deny that an attack took place. And Iran will be so scared of America’s military power, meanwhile, Iran won’t risk attacking U.S. ships in retaliation..
In short, Goldberg’s sources have convinced him that Netanyahu is not bluffing. On the contrary, he thinks Israel’s gearing up to launch a pre-emptive attack.
Meanwhile, a U.S. “war game” scenario has concluded that an Israel attack on Iran might lead to all hell breaking loose.
And so we wait…
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