Iran tests short-range missiles amid nuclear dispute
Sunday's missile tests come after the US, Britain, and France revealed Iran's secret nuclear facility, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging US lawmakers to act now.
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Striking a more aggressive tone, Lieberman went on to say that the time has come for the international community to "overthrow the mad regime of Tehran," reports Israel's conservative Jerusalem Post. A senior Israeli official also told the paper that this was the "last opportunity for engagement with Iran" and that the international community is beginning to see that the "Iranian mask is slipping."Skip to next paragraph
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Although an Israeli strike remains a possibility, the tactical and political difficulties of pursuing a military solution will likely deter Israeli bombing runs over Iran, writes noted security scholar Anthony Cordesman in the Wall Street Journal. Iran's nuclear sites are spread throughout the country, meaning that to effectively stop the program Israeli bombers would have to strike a number of targets. Additionally, the distance between Iran's nuclear sites and Israel, about 950 and 1,400 miles would strain the limits of Israeli bombers.
At best, such action would delay Iran's nuclear buildup. It is more likely to provoke the country into accelerating its plans. Either way, Israel would have to contend with the fact that it has consistently had a "red light" from both the Bush and Obama administrations opposing such strikes. Any strike that overflew Arab territory or attacked a fellow Islamic state would stir the ire of neighboring Arab states, as well as Russia, China and several European states.
Additionally, Israeli politics are likely to stand in the way. Due to internal power dynamics, The New Ledger reports that Netanyahu could not carry out an attack without the support of his defense minister, Ehud Barak, and Mr. Barak is unlikely to sign off on such an attack.
…[D]espite Netanyahu and Leiberman's urgent statements, Barak's personality and his previous actions suggest that an Israeli strike is highly unlikely, precisely because of the current sense of political urgency. … With one notable exception (the 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon) he tends not to act rashly or emotionally; and plans his moves meticulously beforehand.