Israel Preparing for War with Iran for 10 Years

Two Israeli Defense Force-Air Force F-15I Ra'a...

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Israel, for more than a decade, has been preparing for war with Iran.

Over the last ten years, the Israeli government has procured bunker-busting bombs from the United States, routinely sent the air force on long-distance training missions, and increased its missile defenses, all with an eye toward destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iran’s nuclear program began in 1950, with a nuclear reactor donated by the US. At that time, America was actively supporting the Shah of Iran, widely viewed as an American puppet regime and accused of “oppression, brutality,corruption, and extravagance.”

Following the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah and replaced his government with that of hard-line Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, the government gradually revived their nuclear program and, on 9/12 of 2011, officially announced the completion of their Bushehr I reactor, with the assistance of the Russians.

Since 2006, the United Nations Security Council has passed repeated resolutions demanding that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programs.

Iran, for its part, has called the resolutions unjust and routinely declared that its nuclear research is focused on providing energy for the Iranian people, and that they are in no way attempting to develop nuclear weaponry.

Despite Israeli assertions to the contrary, this seems to be borne out by investigations conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In each inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities, the IAEA has been able to account for all Iranian nuclear material, leading some to conclude that Iran is being truthful in its claim of pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful, civil ends.

Mohammed ElBaradei, former head of the IAEA, stated that although Iran does possess small quantities of enriched uranium, “that doesn’t mean that they are going tomorrow to have nuclear weapons, because as long as they are under IAEA verification, as long as they are not weaponizing, you know.” ElBaradei also remarked upon the fact that it seemed as though Iran was being singled out: “[M]any other countries are enriching uranium without the world making any fuss about it.”

This has not stopped Israel, the region’s sole nuclear power, from preparing an attack which many in the country feel to be inevitable. This from the AP:

The Israeli air force has carried out a series of long-distance training runs that could serve as models for striking Iran. In 2008, 100 jets participated in a drill in Greece. The air force has carried out similar drills more recently with both Greece and Italy, officials say.

An Israeli attack on Iran presents numerous difficulties, however. The foremost of which is how best for the Israeli fighter jets to reach the Muslim nation. Any of the routes available to Israel requires a violation of a neighboring country’s airspace, very possibly resulting in diplomatic spats, or even military retaliation.

Additionally, Israeli firepower is largely based upon modified, out-dated technology. Some in the Israeli military are concerned that the bunker busting bombs which Israel possesses would not be powerful enough to destroy certain Iranian targets. The main Iranian uranium enrichment facility, for instance, is believed to lie roughly 25 feet underground, behind two concrete walls.

This may explain why President Barack Obama reportedly offered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the latest in American military technology in exchange for delaying the Israeli attack on Iran until after the November Presidential elections.

President Obama’s offer is a recognition of the fact that the vast majority of the American people oppose any war with Iran. This sentiment is not confined to the civilian population, either. John McLaughlin, former acting director of the CIA, had this to say:

“People keep saying that the military option is still on the table. I think it would be a very bad option… One of the big problems with Iran is that if you get into an open confrontation, a military confrontation, you risk a cycle of retaliation and response with great difficulty seeing where the end point is.”

In a CNN poll from early February of this year, only 17% of respondents favored American military action against Iran, while fully 82% advocated either total non-intervention or a diplomatic solution.

Meanwhile, the march to war continues. A story released recently in the Jerusalem Post asserted that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has issued a final warning to the Iranians: the present round of diplomatic negotiations represent the last chance to avoid military conflict. An unidentified Russian diplomatic source is quoted as saying:

“The invasion [of Iran] will happen before the year’s end. The Israelis are, in effect, blackmailing Obama: either he supports the war, or he risks losing the support [of the Jewish lobby].”

Speaking at joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama seemed to deliver the same message to the world, saying that the “window for diplomacy is shrinking”:

“Tehran must understand that it cannot escape or evade the choice before it. Meet your international obligations or face the consequences.”

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