Will the US help Israel bomb Iran?

Boeing KC-767 Tanker

Boeing KC-767 Tanker

Possibly this is the “unspecified military equipment” that the US did not wish to provide to Israel:

During his most recent visit to the US earlier this month, Defense Minister Ehud Barak requested that America sell the IAF several Boeing 767 refueling planes. However, the White House refused, as it was not prepared to seem as though it was aiding a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the report said.

The IAF has a great need of the planes, as the ones currently used by the air force are extremely old.

Last week, Barak told Army Radio that the US had made it clear it was opposed at the present time to military action against Teheran…

[A US State Department spokesman said] that “the US is committed to Israel’s security” and that “the US would defend Israel from any attack from Iran.”– Jerusalem Post

The US cannot ‘defend’ Israel from a nuclear attack by Iran. Antimissile systems are not 100% reliable, even for long-range missiles, and there are other ways to deliver a bomb. The US can threaten Iran that if they attack Israel they will pay a price. But given the ‘realist’ policy that seems to be determining US policy and is likely to continue to do so in the next administration (see Caroline Glick: “Iran’s American Protector“), can Israel count on this as a real deterrent? Would you?

The US has several reasons to oppose an Israeli attack on Iran:

  1. Iran would retaliate against the US as well as Israel, possibly interfering with passage of oil tankers through the Strait of Hormuz as well as by ordering up terrorist attacks against American interests from its terror subsidiary, Hezbollah.
  2. Iran would make things more difficult for the US in Iraq, from which it hopes to withdraw, by encouraging allied Shiite groups to attack Americans and Sunnis.
  3. Some American policymakers believe that it is more important for America to have good relations with Iran than with Israel. In particular, they are concerned that Iran will ally herself with Russia to oppose American influence in the region.

Both Israel and the US are endangered by an Iranian nuclear bomb, but simply by virtue of geography Israel’s red line will be reached sooner. Therefore there will come a time when Israel feels that she has no alternative but to attack Iran while at the same time the US will oppose it.  The US will suggest that the danger is not as great as it seems, that possibly diplomacy can defuse the crisis, that it will threaten Iran, etc. There is a strong parallel here to the events immediately preceding the 1967 war, including possibly the mischievous activity of the Russians.

An Israeli attack without help from the US in the form of landing rights at US bases, the 767’s mentioned, etc. will be more difficult. But if (when) the point is reached that there is no alternative, then it — like the bombing of Egypt’s airfields in 1967 — will be undertaken regardless of difficulty. This may turn out to be more uncomfortable for the US in the long run.

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One Response to “Will the US help Israel bomb Iran?”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    It is true that the Israeli concern over this question is far greater than the American one. For Israel the immediate threat is much greaster. Israel is not only closer but it is also much more hated and villified than the United States. Its destruction is deemed possible by the fanatical regime of Ahmadinejad.
    It is also true that the United States has recently shown a tremendous reluctance to take on Iran. This is a violation of the Bush promise to prevent Iran from going nuclear. It is happening apparently while the Bush Administration is continuing to seek more sanctions. But also the U.S. has made a number of recent moves which are quite contemptible in regard to Israel. It has had Secretary Gates and the Chief- of -Staff of the Armed Forces in effect warn against an Israeli strike. It has downplayed Iranian threats and claims of military and technological success, not only in uranium enrichment but also in missile and satellite technology. It has in effect chickened out- at least for now. The refusal to sell Israel the Boeings is just another part of this. On the other hand, I believe the U.S. did previously sell Israel ordnance which could be used in a possible strike against Iran. On the whole what we are getting now is a sense that Bush with Iran far closer to nuclear weapons than what he entered it. And with nothing real done to stop them.