Unilateral Israeli strike would not prevent a nuclear Iran
A unilateral Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would have less chance of success than a coordinated U.S. strike due to their relatively limited military capability. In addition, it would incur all of the negative consequences that a U.S. led strike would and inevitably draw the U.S. into a broader regional war.
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[WEXLER] But why focus all this energy and resources on a difficult and uncer- tain diplomatic and economic campaign when the Israeli Air Force could significantly compromise Iran’s nuclear facilities with one strike? After all, faced with similar threats in the past, Israel successfully launched swift pre- emptive military campaigns against Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 and Syria’s secret nuclear facility in 2007.
But the sobering reality in this case is that (a) intelligence analysts have raised troubling concerns regarding the possible efficacy of such a pre- emptive strike and (b) an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities could ignite massive military and terrorist destruction in the region and abroad.
To the first point, intelligence reports state that in contrast to the sin- gular and accessible nuclear targets in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria five years ago, Iran has hardened and fortified its nuclear sites deep underground and spread them throughout dozens of sites across the country. Top mili- tary officials in Israel and the US have therefore suggested that even in the best-case scenario, a military strike might only set back the Iranian nuclear program by a relatively short period of time.
As to the second point, the same reason that Iran cannot be allowed to attain nuclear weapons—its general belligerence, the deplorable human rights violations committed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the terrorist activities of its proxy militias—is the very reason that military confrontation could yield devastating fallout. Israelis know better than anyone that war with Iran could mean thousands of rockets rain- ing down on its towns from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Assad regime in Syria, and perhaps even from Iran itself. In February, Israel’s military intelligence director, Major General Aviv Kochavi, warned that more than two hundred thousand missiles and rockets are currently aimed at Israeli cities. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, roughly four thousand rockets were launched at Israel, and the Israel Defense Forces expects that number to increase tenfold in a future conflict of the type that could be ignited by a military strike against Iran.
"Attacking Iran's Nuclear Project
." World Affairs
. Vol. 175, No. 1 (May-June 2012): 25-38. [ More (7 quotes) ]