Leaders hope talks will delay possible Iran strike (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 04/09/12)
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The upcoming negotiations between the West and Iran could be the last
chance Israel is willing to give for diplomacy before pushing up the
timeline of a possible military strike against the Islamic Republic’s
While highly skeptical, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense
Minister Ehud Barak hope that Iran will agree to some sort of
compromise that would allow Israel to put the military option on the
Israel’s conditions for the talks – revealed last week in The
Jerusalem Post and reiterated on Sunday by Barak – are meant to be
stringent and more difficult to accept than the ones set by the US.
One main difference, for example, has to do with the uranium enriched
to 3.5 percent levels. The US has not asked for the suspension and
surrender of that uranium while Israel has.
A tougher position on Iran has always been Israel’s strategy
regarding the nuclear program. While other countries, for example,
talk about an Iranian decision to build the bomb as the line that
would need to be crossed to justify military action, Israel talks
about Iran’s entry into the so-called immunity zone.
The strategy has always been the same – set a higher bar so if a
lower one is met it will also be acceptable.
If, for example, Iran were to accept some of the conditions presented
by the US and a compromise was reached, Israel would likely fall in
line with the rest of the world and scale down its saber-rattling.
Israel would not want to be perceived as undermining what could
become US President Barack Obama’s greatest diplomatic success.
The Iranians know this going into the talks and as a result, are
expected to try and achieve a deal in which they give in enough to
get the West and Israel to back off, but not too much that will make
the regime lose its pride or its nuclear program.
In the meantime, the IDF is continuing to plan for the next war –
against Hezbollah and Hamas – that could potentially break out either
following an Israeli strike against Iran or as a result of the
ongoing upheaval in the region.
While both organizations recently announced that they will not
automatically retaliate following a strike on Iran, Israel believes
that the chances are high that both will lash out on Iran’s behalf.
Current assessments in the IDF predict that 15,000 rockets and
missiles would be fired into Israel during a war that would last 21
Israel hopes though to shorten the war to just a few days, a lesson
learned from the Second Lebanon War in 2006 which lasted 34 days. The
way to achieve this goal though will require a land campaign together
with unprecedented aerial bombings of enemy targets, particularly of
Hezbollah in Lebanon.
As revealed last week on Channel 10, in such a war the IDF estimates
that 300 Israelis could be killed. If however, more missile defense
systems are deployed – primarily Iron Dome for short-range rockets
and David’s Sling for medium-range rockets – this number could be cut
This, however, is all based on scientific analyses of the various war
scenarios played out on the General Staff’s table. The problem is
that if anything, the past decade has shown that when it comes to
Iran, it is usually safer to bet on the unexpected. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/09/12)
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