By Yoel Guzansky
...[A]t that timing, Israel will have a greater extent of the necessary legitimacy to meet the implications of this operation and to contribute to its success.
Translated by Viktoria Lymar
Edited by Steven Stenzler
27 March 2012
The time window for assault on Iran has not yet closed. Due to its nature, it is dynamic, and there are actions and means that can be used to expand it.
Beyond the operational-intelligence considerations, the gap in the preparation of the public and the home front, and the need to reach a more intimate dialog with the United States on the issue – the conditions are not ripe, currently, for an Israeli operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
First, the international effort to impose sanctions on Tehran is approaching its climax. Iran has been cut off, in practice, from the global economic system: it can no longer perform money transfers in a variety of banking areas – a deadly blow to any modern economy. If this doesn’t do the job, the oil embargo planned by the European Union, is supposed to come into force in early July, and Iran is going to lose another market for oil export.
Israel will have difficulty making a decision on striking nuclear sites during the full swing of this intensive international effort – it doesn’t want to look like someone who thwarted this attempt enjoying broad international support and an undeniable success.
Iran Is Not Moving as Fast as It Can
Another development making it harder for Israel to act at the present time is connected to the beginning in April of the dialog with Iran. The renewing of the negotiations will also make it difficult for Israel, at least while they are still taking place, to resort to the military option because the country may appear as one who sabotaged the international efforts to resolve the matter in a peaceful way.
Although the dialog with Iran has not brought so far the desired results, however, both the West and Iran have interest to show that there actually are some – Iran in order to avoid intensification of the pressures on it, and the West in order to postpone hard decisions.
The time window for attacking Iran has not closed yet – due to its nature, it is dynamic, and there are actions and measures that can be used for expanding it, particularly considering that it’s more possible than in the past, to identify the Iranian foray to the bomb.
Overall, Iran is dealing with an ensemble of economic and political pressures more complex than in the past – and it might abandon the defiant line – especially if it assesses that the likelihood of an offensive is increased – and to refrain, for the time being, from dashing toward nuclear weapons. Iran is not moving at as fast a pace as it can, for it estimates that crossing the nuclear threshold would charge it a heavy price.
Failure of the Talks Will Facilitate Israel
Israel has a right to defend itself by itself, nevertheless, it won’t be right from its perspective to act in this timing. Should the diplomacy and the sanctions eventually prove effective, so much the better. Yet, if the sanctions don’t bring a desired change in the Iranian policy, the degree of legitimation to employ force against Iran will grow significantly.
In the same way, the fiasco of the talks with Iran, “the last chance for diplomacy,”1 according to Obama, is going to make it easier for Israel – since it’ll prove, to those still needing proof, that the Iranian leadership is not ready to compromise on the nuclear issue.
There is no guarantee that in November, even if the sanctions and the negotiations do not yield results, the American president, a Democratic or Republican one, will stop the Iranian nuclear development by military steps. Nonetheless, with that timing, Israel will have a greater extent of the necessary legitimacy to meet the implications of this operation and to contribute to its success.
Original Hebrew article: