Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iranís Nukes Can Work
By Jeffrey Goldberg Mar 19, 2012 4:00 PM PT http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...-can-work.html
After interviewing many people with direct knowledge of internal government thinking, however, Iím highly confident that Netanyahu isnít bluffing -- that he is in fact counting down to the day when he will authorize a strike against a half-dozen or more Iranian nuclear sites.
One reason Iím now more convinced is that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are working hard to convince other members of the Israeli cabinet that a strike might soon be necessary.
But I also heard from Israeli national-security officials a number of best-case scenarios about the consequences of an attack, which suggested to me that they believe they have thought through all the risks -- and that they keep coming to the same conclusions.
One conclusion key officials have reached is that a strike on six or eight Iranian facilities will not lead, as is generally assumed, to all-out war. This argument holds that the Iranians might choose to cover up an attack, in the manner of the Syrian government when its nuclear facility was destroyed by the Israeli air force in 2007. An Israeli strike wouldnít focus on densely populated cities, so the Iranian government might be able to control, to some degree, the flow of information about it.
The arguments Iíve outlined here -- and those Iíll describe in my next column -- all lead to a single conclusion: The Israeli political leadership increasingly believes that an attack on Iran will not be the disaster many American officials, and some ex-Israeli security officials, fear it will be.