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).