Israel’s military is drawing up plans for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities without cooperation from the United States, the Jerusalem Post reports.
“It is always better to coordinate [with the U.S.],” a top Defense Ministry official said. “But we are also preparing options that do not include coordination.”
Israeli officials have said it would be difficult but not impossible to launch a strike against Iran without codes from the U.S. Air Force, which controls Iraqi airspace.
Israel asked for the codes in 1991 during the First Gulf War, but the U.S. refused, and more recently President George W. Bush has refused to approve an Israeli attack on Iran.
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius has written that the U.S. opposes an Israeli strike on Iran on the grounds that it would slow Iran’s nuclear program but not destroy it, rally Iranians’ support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s unpopular government, and have unpredictable consequences.
The U.S. has deployed an early warning radar system in Israel, along with 120 American personnel. But the deployment, in addition to giving Israel earlier warning of an Iranian missile launch, could also be designed to monitor Israeli airspace so the U.S. is not caught off guard if the Israelis initiate a strike on Iran, Time magazine recently reported.
One Israeli official cautioned: “There is still time and there is no need to rush into an operation right now. The regime [in Iran] is already falling apart and will likely no longer be in power 10 years from now.”
But Israeli officials believe Iran would have enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb by late 2009, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The Israeli military is preparing for a wide range of options, Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan said, asserting that all it would take to launch a strike was a decision by the government.
“The air force is a very robust and flexible force,” he told the German magazine Der Spiegel. “We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us.”
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