Why Hasn’t Israel Bombed Iran (Yet)?

Posted: July 20, 2010 in Bret Stephens, Iran, Israel, Nuclear Iran, The Face of Nuclear Iran, WSJ

Rhetorical question of the day: if power is defined as the ability to accomplish national goals, is Iran more powerful or less powerful than it was last year?

OK, onto the post.  Bret Stephens asks (and answers) why hasn’t Israel bombed Iran (yet)?

Without sounding too glib, my answer is conditions aren’t right (yet).

The conditions include many disparate issues many of which Mr. Stephens addresses either directly or indirectly.  Among them:

  • The Israeli political/military/populace consensus regarding war
  • The Israeli perception of the Iranian capability and intent
  • The readiness of the Israeli war-machine to include its defensive capabilities
  • The state-of-play between Israel and Saudi Arabia
  • The state-of-play between Israel and the U.S.
  • The state-of-play between Iran and its friends (or perhaps better, its non-enemies such as China and Russia)
  • Uncertainty regarding the possible impact of recent sanctions
  • Uncertainty regarding internal Iranian stability
  • Other things that I’ve failed to identify.  How’s that for a catchall?

These factors culminate in a human judgment by Israeli leaders that reflects the total risk versus total return of an attack on Iran.  Until the perceived benefit substantively exceeds the perceived risk, wait-and-see rules the day, week, month, or year(s).

  1. alaskanangle says:

    As usual, an excellent piece of writing by Bret Stephens. The point he lastly touched on; a joint U.S.-Israel military option is interesting, but one I feel makes the task at hand and aftermath precarious to Israel’s stability.

    If Obama acts at all, it will be late into his first and prayerfully last term. By then, Iran’s arsenal will be more enriched, better bunkered, their defense shields more solidified. China and Russia will have technologically enhanced Iran’s ultimate plan, which is leaving Israeli in a cloud of nuclear dust.

    Obama’s terseness toward Netanyahu, the infamous Cairo speech, and his initial willingness to sit down with the Iranian Madman are but a few of the indicators this President will not strategize any joint effort with the Israeli’s anytime soon.

    Desperately needing the Jewish vote closer to 2012, only then will he openly use it as campaign fodder. Given he is a one-and-done President, January 20, 2013, is a timetable I don’t believe the Israeli’s will adhere to in taking matters into their own hands.

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