Not if, but when Israel attacks Iran's nuclear sites is the premise of the Op-Ed piece by Benny Morris in the New York Times:
ISRAEL will almost surely attack Iran's nuclear sites in the next four to seven months — and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful enough to cause at least a significant delay in the Iranian production schedule, if not complete destruction, of that country's nuclear program. Because if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb.In the end Morris suggests that the Israeli conventional strike will not be enough dissuade the Iranians from their nuclear ambitions and that Israel will find itself compelled to nuke Iran's nuclear sites.
[. . .]
Every intelligence agency in the world believes the Iranian program is geared toward making weapons, not to the peaceful applications of nuclear power. And, despite the current talk of additional economic sanctions, everyone knows that such measures have so far led nowhere and are unlikely to be applied with sufficient scope to cause Iran real pain, given Russia’s and China’s continued recalcitrance and Western Europe’s (and America’s) ambivalence in behavior, if not in rhetoric. Western intelligence agencies agree that Iran will reach the “point of no return” in acquiring the capacity to produce nuclear weapons in one to four years.
Which leaves the world with only one option if it wishes to halt Iran’s march toward nuclear weaponry: the military option, meaning an aerial assault by either the United States or Israel. Clearly, America has the conventional military capacity to do the job, which would involve a protracted air assault against Iran’s air defenses followed by strikes on the nuclear sites themselves. But, as a result of the Iraq imbroglio, and what is rapidly turning into the Afghan imbroglio, the American public has little enthusiasm for wars in the Islamic lands. This curtails the White House’s ability to begin yet another major military campaign in pursuit of a goal that is not seen as a vital national interest by many Americans.
Which leaves only Israel — the country threatened almost daily with destruction by Iran’s leaders.
Morris predicts Israel will strike within "the next four to seven months." That would be just before or just after our presidential election, but before the next president takes office. Just imagine the impact a pre-election strike and the aftermath might have on the U.S. election.
Read the whole thing.
Image credit: Tucker Nicholls via the New York Times.