Guns & No Roses

Why attacking Iran has become more likely


Guns & No Roses
by Alon Ben-Meir

The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program during the past few months have produced nothing more than a diplomatic dance in the face of persistent Iranian ploys for time coupled with intransigence on key issues. In failing to reach a negotiated settlement, the conflict with Tehran is inching closer toward a point of no return, where Israel might decide that the circumstances warrant a unilateral attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Although there are other scenarios under which Israel may decide to attack Iran, chief among them is Israel’s fear that Iran is close to reaching what Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak terms, “a zone of immunity.” Under such circumstances and given more time, Iran would be in a position to store much of its previous enriched uranium, as well as its high quality centrifuges, deep inside the mountain base of Fordow, thus becoming completely immune from aerial bombardment.

This objective, which Tehran is hard at work in seeking to achieve, limits how much time Israel would have before it acts. This Israeli concerns make the continuing diplomatic efforts coupled with sanctions advocated by the Obama administration unviable options and might in fact be extremely risky to pursue. The Netanyahu government is absolutely convinced that Iran will continue to play for time as it has over the past several years, during which time Tehran has considerably advanced its nuclear program in defiance of the IAEA and in spite of severe sanctions.

Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Barak, in particular, are not persuaded that any future talks will persuade Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program. Time has therefore become Israel’s worst enemy as Iran races to shield its main nuclear facilities to make them impregnable to air attacks. Unlike securing a “zone of immunity”, which the Israelis believe Tehran could achieve within a few months, other possible scenarios include: Iran mustering the technology to produce nuclear weapons, cyber-attacks being inadequate to slow the nuclear program, and requiring more time to work, thus denying Israel the luxury of time to assume the “wait and see” attitude.

Although a consensus exists among the Israeli defense and security establishment that an attack would at best delay Iran’s nuclear program by two to three years and might even push Iran to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities more vigorously than at the present, it is not a given that Iran would simply resume its nuclear activity following such an attack. Some Israeli officials argue that the changing regional and domestic political dynamics may force Tehran to rethink its nuclear weapons program. Moreover, as Barak speculated a couple of months ago, Iran’s potential retaliatory attacks against Israel or its allies, specifically the US, would have limited impact and the catastrophic regional repercussions many Western observers suggest would not necessarily come to pass. Although President Putin, for domestic political motivation, is eager for a foreign policy achievement and would be inclined to put more pressure on Iran, no one who understands the internal dynamics in Iran expects any breakthrough in the next meeting scheduled for June 18-19 in Moscow between the P5+I and Iran. As a result, feverish diplomatic maneuverings will follow along with a stiffening of the American and European sanctions that are in place already. Additionally, the current quiet military preparation for striking Iran by both the US and Israel may well enter a new phase of readiness, albeit with differences in timing and the decision regarding if or when to strike, which remains a contentious issue between the two allies.

Undoubtedly, there is extensive cooperation between the United States and Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear program, including intelligence sharing and the coordination of cyber-attacks, all the while keeping Israel informed about the progress (or the lack thereof) in the negotiations with Iran. In recent weeks, a number of former and current American officials have visited Israel including: Michele A. Flournloy, former Undersecretary of Defense, David S. Cohen, Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Treasury Department, and Wendy R. Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. These and others are trying to assure Israel that the US’ commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon capabilities is solid and that the US is prepared to use military force should it become necessary.

The Obama administration insists that Iran is at least two years away from reaching the so-called “point of no return”, providing the administration with more time for diplomacy and allowing the crippling sanctions to succeed. Moreover, having just concluded the war in Iraq and with the fighting in Afghanistan still continuing, there is little appetite to start new military operations, which could ignite regional conflagration. In addition, being that this is an election year, the President does not want to risk a military operation especially when there is more time to find new alternatives. Finally, neither the US nor any of its close allies, especially Israel, faces direct, imminent or immediate danger from Iran, which US collective intelligence agencies assure is not the case at this juncture.

The Netanyahu government sees the Iranian threat from a different perspective. Israel maintains, with some justifications, that the Iranian leadership has repeatedly threatened Israel existentially and even if Iran does not use a nuclear weapon against Israel, it poses a grave regional danger far greater than the potential consequences of an Israeli attack. A nuclear Iran would increase nuclear proliferation (the Saudi government has already threatened to develop its own nuclear weapons), heighten the risk of extremist groups of obtaining nuclear materials, and embolden Iran to throw its weight around in the region, pitting the Shiite bloc against Israel. That said, former Israeli officials from the intelligence and military communities argue that Iran knows only too well that Israel maintains second strike capabilities that could cause catastrophic damage to Iran and the Iranian leadership is not so irrational as to commit suicide. Nevertheless, Netanyahu insists that Israel’s national security concerns cannot be taken lightly and however remote the Iranian threat may be, Israel cannot afford to take the risk.

The Israeli position is further strengthened by the argument that the on and off negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran and through Turkish and Brazilian mediation nearly two years ago, have produced nothing of substance. This problem was compounded by the recent presumed agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran to allow inspectors to access the controversial Parchin military base, which has failed to materialize. Moreover, recent evidence revealed that a cleanup operation has taken place at the military site, which has heightened the suspicions of IAEA, the US and Israel. Finally, Iran continues to refuse unfettered IAEA access at its suspected nuclear sites, with the intent of obfuscating its true nuclear goals. Israel views this as a pattern that Tehran has been pursuing almost with impunity while defying not only the IAEA but also four UNSC resolutions demanding a complete suspension of its enrichment program.

Although for Israel time is of the essence, should Iran come close to reaching the “zone of immunity” which would make attacking Iran more likely, clear and unequivocal evidence of Israeli intelligence findings must be produced for the whole world to see before Israel contemplates such an attack. A premature Israeli attack could not only have catastrophic regional consequences but could also subject Israel to world–wide condemnation, potentially crippling sanctions, and retaliatory attacks by Iran and its surrogates.

The United States is not oblivious to Iran’s intentions or to Israel’s legitimate concerns. Regardless of the differing assessments between Israel and the US, Israel would be well advised to fully collaborate with the American administration and act in concert to avoid any miscalculations that could potentially cost Israel dearly.

Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies >>>


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as I always say....

by shushtari on

you don't need an outright war......we need 5000 special ops dropped in tehran to take of khayenei and his band of theives....cut the head of the snake, and our people will finish the rest!

I would hate to have the israelis attack our homeland, but the only silver lining is that they will ALMOST CERTAINLY destroy the akhoonds' and their ability to retaliate.....they will not let a wounded, festering creature to bounce back....

if they go for it, they will also go for regime change- there is no going back 

Arash Kamangir

Bring the war on!!

by Arash Kamangir on

Israel is sick and tired of IR whose intentions are to eliminate Israel one day . It is better for everybody's sake that IR can be eliminated from political map of the World and can be littered in history.


Sassan last time I responded to you was when you

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

insulted an online friend of mine directly Zia. 

I respect that you have a different view and that like me you are not a politician.  The issue with syria is that not as simple as the IRI mullahs love Assad.  Most common sense Iranians who have been harmed as a result of 1979 and the wests support for islamist extremists, have good reason to have doubts about support for muslim extremists by the west. 

Many Iranians have learned their lessons, of the west using their legitimate desire for democracy in order to harm their country and retard their economic and political development. That is what is meant by "create phoney popular revolts"

These iranians are not proud of having been used as patsys of the USA, foot soldiers to create Iranian suffering, misery, poverty, dictatorship, corruption, tortures and excessive repression.  What is your story Sassan1, I agree with kooshan personally, he clearly differentialtes himself from IRI and makes his point very clearly.

Developing, Growing & Using ones wisdom is Nothing to be Ashmed of.  The choices being given to Syrians are bad (assad) and worse (extremists), which one are you supporting?  Wait a minute, don't tell me after 33 years you haven't discovered how to use the peanut between your ears to figure out that armed extremists killing their way to power are not a legtimate democracy movement???????? 

Is that your story?????  That is the same story as Amir1973, Vildemouse, Mousa67, Roozbeh commie guy and some others.  You can look at the point I am making and either agree or disagree. Don't label me an IRI supporter when I point out the inconvenient truths, that these are phony revolts with massive western support, by supporting the western created and funded muslim brotherhood extremists.  As a person that aspires to greater democratic development I oppose this approach.  


Dear Sassan1

by Kooshan on

Excuse for my typo......But I stand with my assessment of the situation in middle east. It is a cheap shot to call a contrarian as "regime hack"! We must be able to stand each other in a civilized way.

There are three sides to the madness of political upheaval:

1. Those who come with plans (IRI, Israel, USA, Russia, and the people on their payroll)

2. Those who have honest demands (The freedom seekers who take to streets)

3. Those who get caught in the crosshair


The 3rd kind is the majority I believe. Pleople who want changes but want it in a civilized and bloodless battle. I'm of the 3rd kind and I'm branded as "bikhodi" by IRI and "regime hack" by the opposition.

I've been thru one change in Iran and I feel like I was used as an element to topple one rullerto bring on another. There was not only any change for good for a regular Joe in Iran (me) but also costed me a lifetime that could have otherwise been spent in better way. 

If you like to defend the blood of freedom fighters spilled in the streets of Syria, I have to say that it usually creates more bloodshed. These people, in my opinion, play with fire and naturally they will get burns! That is their choice.I tend to like the cause Dr King, Ghandi, Mandela and othes like them pursued.


Just take a look at Tunis, Lybia, and Egypt and tell me if they are better off after a year of two. The strings are being pulled somewhere else! Situation will definitely get worse as th eheat of revolt (or revolution) has receded.


So my final words are: I think I value the blood of those victims more than you. You push them in front of guns to spill their blood in the streets and I want their blood in their veins by keeping them off the target site!!!!!!

Can you judge which one of ushave more dignity and seeks freedom? No pun intended!


You Kooshan...

by Sassan1 on

"Creat phony popular revolts"

Please learn to spell first off; second, you are a moral coward for inferring to the plight of the Syrian people as a "phony revolt". These are people who simply want to live in freedom and human dignity. If I didn't know any better I would imply you were a regime hack. Shame on you. Truly, SHAME ON YOU for implying the plight of the Syrian people means nothing. You are nearly right there with the evil Mullahs (if not already there). 


We have really passed the point of psychological war of bombing

by Kooshan on

to intimidate IRI to give in.

 America's plan C was to stir up the situation to align Middle East with the long term goal of energy control and secularization of Muslim countries.

What was Plan C?

1. Creat phony popular revolts followed by undeclare war: Lybia, Syria

2. Intimidate allies for unconditional support: Saudi, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, ...

3. Promise pieve of the kill: Turkey

4. Derail populare revolt: Egypt


The antagonism between Iran and Israel is very passionate one known mutually one being "Existential Threat" to the other. Iran is leveraging off of the geopolitics of Russia/China in their interest, while Israel is unconditionally using America's might. Syria is turning into the battle ground to settle the score. Currently it is in critical stage and future of middle east weighs heavily on the outcome of Syrian theatre. I believe this is far more critical to Israel than just propaganda of air attacks against Iran which really will NOT serve the intended objective.


The closest situation I can think of approaching WWIII is the Syrian situation!


This is the reason I say the USAsupporting extremists Originally

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

and following this approach in achieving USA goals, while attainable is and was not ever sustainable and therefore stupid.

While today the USA is still Peerless, this massive mental decline of the USA has no happy or positive ending for the USA and it is mental declines that have a physical counterpart as we see in history time and again. 


No real choices... Master piece of US foresight.

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

1) negotiate with Iranian secular democrats to remove IRI, end the USA lead criminal activity towards Iran and unlawful policies towards Iranians, do a 180.

2) live with islamic republic nuke and nuclear development.

3) invade russia for lawfully giving IRI nuclear assistance and invade china for supporting russia.



1) ends neocolonialism on Iran, leads to ww3 on unfavorable terms,

2) leads to ww3 on unfavorable terms, 

3) starts ww3 on unfavorable terms


Why Israel Can’t/Won’t Attack

by Faramarz on



The operational details of the Israeli plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities that have been leaked over the course of the past several months have identified several vulnerabilities that make such an attack highly unlikely.

An attack of this magnitude to destroy facilities that are 1,000 miles away requires the following 4 elements; A large number of F-16 bombers to effectively bomb the facilities, a smaller number of F-15 fighters to quickly eliminate any challenge from the air defense system or aircrafts, airborne refueling to support the operations and, search and rescue helicopters to find an evacuate downed pilots.

Based on the plans and several maneuvers that have been performed over the Mediterranean Sea to emulate the operation, the Israelis need to use somewhere between 100 to 110 F-15’s and F-16’s to conduct this attack. That is almost the entire Israeli Air Force. The decision to place the entire air force of a country that is technically at war with some of its neighbors is a huge one and can only be made if the country is under imminent threat of attack. Also, Israel as a small nation, values every single pilot’s life and will have to think long and hard to expose them to danger.

Israeli has less than 10 retrofit Boeing air tankers that can be used for refueling the aircrafts. I believe that these are the same tankers that the late Shah ordered back in the 70’s (instead of C-130 tankers) but never took position of them and they eventually ended up in Israel. Military experts that have observed Israelis refueling have expressed concerns over their lack of expertise in this area. That’s not a surprise. Israeli Air Force generally operates within a short distance of its bases and airborne refueling has never been a requirement.

Finally, the best estimates are that 2-3 Israeli aircrafts will crash during the operation (for whatever reason) and the rescue operations need to be taken into account. As we saw in the killing of Osama, the US forces had 2 large helicopters waiting in the remote areas of Pakistan in a dry river bed to come and take the Seals out after one of their copters crashed into Osama’s compound. The only place that the Israelis can have rescue helicopters sit and wait is in airbases in Azerbaijan where they have been granted access. But that’s also a complicated arrangement that drags the Azeris into this situation.

All and all, in my opinion, an attack by Israelis will not happen until there is certainty that the Regime is about to build/test a nuclear weapon, at which point the US and NATO will come in and completely wipe out the Regime and its capabilities, including the nuclear facilities with every weapon in their arsenal.


Israel Can't Attack Iran Anymore. Proof: "Iro(a)n Dome"

by bahmani on

Israel has now missed the window of opportunity to attack Iran. Likely the result of a "Don't mess with my Election Year" sales pitch by Obama, and the faith everyone put in the computer viruses designed to blow up Iran's centrifuges.

My wild conspiracy theory is that either in Turkey or Baghdad, Iran let "slip" 2 things. One, that it had successfully crossed the mythical 20% threshold in enrichment, and two, the lesser two, the greater feeder of my conspiracy theory, that it might or might not already have a nuke it might or might not have bought from AQ Khan, the last time Iran went shopping in Lahore.

If this is true, and Iran already has a nuke, proof of this could be in Israel's recent sudden dropping of all the attack talk, and their announcement of installing "Iron Dome" anti missile defense systems all over Israel to completely protect itself.

My logic behind this, is that if I was Iran, surrounded on now all 15 of my borders with the outside world, by a demonstrated hostile military presence, and if it was critically important to me to stay in power, and I could afford to buy a nuke before I could figure out how to build one, I'd kind of fucking buy one.

If this is true, everyone is now merely putting on a good effort and a good show for their upcoming elections, and the sheep that attend them "faithfully", Obama this year, Iran next year.

All of this, kind of looks that way, no?

To read more bahmani posts visit: //


Great Article of ME regarding IRR/IRI &

by Azarbanoo on

Israel concern.