The debate seems increasingly to be over “when,” not “if” Israel will launch preemptive strikes against Iran. A story in a major British newspaper today reports the Obama administration realizes that economic sanctions aren’t working well enough to stop Iran from vigorously pursuing nuclear weapons, and thus makes an Israeli war with Iran all the more likely. According to the story, some experts believe that the Israelis won’t strike in the April to June window suggested by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, but might wait until the fall during the height of the U.S. presidential elections. “Earlier this month, the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, told the Washington Post that he thought the window for an Israeli attack on Iran is between April and June,” the story noted. “But other official analysts working on Iran have identified what one described as a ‘sweet spot,’ where the mix of diplomacy, political timetables and practical issues come together to suggest that if Israel launches a unilateral assault it is more likely in September or October, although they describe that as a ‘best guess.'” Expect more speculation — and even disinformation — to keep the “experts” guessing. Should Israel strike, it will be hard, fast and without notice.
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- Joel’s latest NYT best-selling novel, The Tehran Initiative, is about an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.