Why Israel Could Strike Iran Before November

How negotiations with the Islamic Republic have made the situation more dire.

If the Obama administration still vehemently opposes an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities for fear of hampering his chances for reelection, the latest Debka report reveals that Tehran is closer than ever to an atomic bomb. “The months of negotiations with the six world powers were happily used by Iran for great strides toward bringing its nuclear weapon program to fruition,” explains Debka, a publication close to Israeli intelligence agencies.

We knew that Tehran produced low-enriched uranium for four nuclear warheads in the fortified bunker in Fordo. We knew that the centrifuges are enriching uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent. But according to Debka, uranium enrichment levels have crept past 20 percent in expanded quantities.

“The six powers are understandably reluctant to admit that in the time bought by negotiations, Iran was able to refine uranium up to 30-percent grade or even a higher and go into advanced preparations for 65 percent grade enrichment. Now the Iranians are well on the way to an 80-90 percent weapons grade.” This is the weaponization of the nuclear cycle.

That’s why Israel could launch a preemptive operation against Iran before the US presidential election in November. Or as the former Israeli Mossad director, Ephraim Halevi, just commented to the New York Times, "if I were an Iranian I would be very worried in the next 12 months.”

“The period before the US elections is the best for an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities,” Israel’s leading analyst Efraim Inbar, head of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and one of the informal advisors of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told me this week. “The diplomatic talks failed, the sanctions are not working, only a military operation can stop Iran’s atomic program. We already stopped Iraq and Syria’s nuclear programs. We will take in consideration only our security and Jewish survival, because a nuclearized Iran would be an immense threat for the Jewish State.”

Inbar attacks the "bizzarre red line” of the Obama's administration on Iran, which is an order by Iranian leadership to build a bomb. “If you wait so long the Iranian program would become immune to an attack,” says Inbar. He also criticizes Europe, which used the talks to stop an Israeli strike on Iran’s atomic program. “It’s even worse than Munich’s 1938, then Europe was willing to use the force, while today nobody wants to fight anymore.”

In Israel, Inbar explains, “nobody believes in the sanctions, while there are those, like the former Mossad’s head Meir Dagan, believed that covert operations would have been better to abort the Iranian program. The Americans are now trying to be our babysitter, but the last decision will be taken in Jerusalem by two Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The two Israeli leaders must now determine whether Israel can trust the recent US promise to thwart Iran's atomic ambitions in case sanctions prove to be insufficient – or launch a unilateral Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic. In the first case, everything would be postponed to the next spring.

Otherwise, the sirens will wake up the Israelis one day in the next three months, food cans will quickly disappear from the supermarkets, they will seal doors and windows and the Home Front Command will instruct them to enter into shelters. The rest will be history.

And if Iran gets the bomb? Norman Podhoretz, founding father of neoconservatism and the ideological architect who inspired George W. Bush’s foreign policy, recently told me: "If Iran gets the bomb, the Israelis would have to decide whether to preempt or to retaliate from the rubble."

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