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Terrorism & Security

US officials: Israeli military exercise was preparation for attack on Iran's nuke plant

The exercise involved more than 100 jet fighters, helicopters, and air-refueling tankers, according to a new report.

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In an interview with Der Spiegel earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also indicated that an attack on Iran was a possibility.

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SPIEGEL ONLINE: Can Israel live with a nuclear Iran?
Olmert: No. I don't think -- considering the nature of the Iranian regime -- that Israel can be expected to live under the threat that they may use it.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Does Israel have the military capability to remove any nuclear threat on its own?
Olmert: I think that the capabilities of Israel are well known to the world and I don't need to go into the details and to analyze them or to describe further what everyone knows.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Does the Begin Doctrine, which stipulates that Israel can act on its own if it feels threatened, still apply today?
Olmert: Israel always has to be in a position to defend itself against any adversary and against any threat of any kind.

The New York Sun reports that the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a bipartisan thinktank, released a paper this week indicating Israeli preference for preemptive action against Iranian nuclear facilities, rather than attempting to deter an Iran that has nuclear weapons.

The paper proposes that prevention of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is a superior option to the prospect of deterring the Iranians once they get one: "Americans should recognize that deterrence is, in Israeli eyes, an unattractive alternative to prevention, because, if deterrence fails, Israel would suffer terribly. The consequence is that any suggestion that a policy of deterrence is America's preferred option only reinforces the idea among many Israelis that, in the end, they may be left alone to bear the brunt of the Iranian nuclear threat."

The Sun notes that the paper, available on the Institute's website, includes signatories from the camps of both US presidential nominees: former national security adviser Tony Lake for Sen. Barack Obama (D) of Illinois and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey for Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona.

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