According to some reports, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated that Israel will strike at Iran sometime between April and June of this year. The Pentagon declined to officially comment, and Israeli leaders are silent as well. The Western media, however, were happy to sink their teeth in the story. Many publications are convinced that both Israelis and Americans may strike at Iran.
The first news of the alleged statements of Panetta was published by The Washington Post. The paper wrote that, according to some reports, the Israeli leadership will be ready to act alone and will demonstrate resolve in a time when the "Arab Spring" undermines the security of Israel. The U.S. administration sees two possible ways to dissuade Israel from an attack: either Tehran enters into serious negotiations about safely ensuring a purely civilian nature of its nuclear program, or the U.S. will step up its covert operations to disrupt the program.
The newspaper continued by saying that the fears of Western capitals of a sudden Israeli attack provoking a wider armed conflict in the Middle East have increased. Israel is increasingly showing that they can take action alone if there are no breakthroughs in the coming months, the newspaper wrote, citing the staff of the U.S. administration and intelligence. If Israel strikes and Iran responds, the Americans would stand up for their ally.
Another American newspaper The New York Times has reached the following conclusions from the interviews with Israeli experts: 1) because Israel demanded new sanctions, including the oil embargo and seizure of Iran's Central Bank accounts, it would wait a few months to see if the sanctions work, 2) Israel believes that the current sanctions are probably insufficient, 3) a strike with the use of military force remains a very realistic scenario, and 4) the state of affairs after the conflict would not be as horrific as the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran.
However, U.S. journalists doubt the effectiveness of an attack on Iran. They wrote that Iran has been preparing for an attack for several years and will take tough measures like its allies Hezbollah and Hamas. In addition, an attack, at best, would slow down the development of nuclear weapons for a couple of years and will force Tehran to double its efforts. The nuclear program, as opposed to the government, enjoys broad support in Iran and the Israeli strike would only rally the Iranians around the power.
An Israeli expert Ronen Bergman on the pages of the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung urged the Europeans to do everything possible to toughen the sanctions against Iran. Compared to Iran possessing nuclear weapons, sanctions in the long term are still much less expensive. Even if we rule out the possibility that Iran would really use these weapons against Israel or Europe, Iran's nuclear advances will cause a nuclear arms race between Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This would entail a destabilization of the entire region, the newspaper wrote.
The Israeli expert said that if Israel for the sake of preventing such a development makes plans for an attack on Iran, the entire Middle East would be ablaze, which would mean yet another financial disaster for Europe and much of the developed world.
The French Le Figaro also believes that Israel has every reason to attack Iran. The paper wrote that despite the secret war where four Iranian nuclear scientists were killed, explosions occurred at military facilities and virus attacks at the computers supporting the operation of facilities enriching uranium were undertaken, Tehran continues to implement its nuclear program and, according to most experts, will soon be able to develop nuclear weapons.
Italian La Repubblica wrote about the means the United States has to strike at Iranian nuclear facilities. "The Pentagon has spent $330 million to develop a 13-ton Super bomb that can destroy Iranian underground nuclear arsenals. But after a series of tests it was revealed that the most powerful MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) is unlikely to be able to achieve the objects located in Mount Fordou near the Muslim holy city of Qom, says the publication.
Therefore, the U.S. defense department turned to the Congress for over $82 million needed for the improvement of the bomb by the engineers from Boeing. The supplies hidden in the mountain can be reached by blowing up the mountain, emphasized the Italian publication.
The Hong Kong English-language edition of Asia Times warns against underestimating the strength of Iran. Iran's protégés may be more dangerous if Tehran equips them with manageable rockets, artillery and mortars. Other organizations, such as Hezbollah, will be able to carry out terrorist campaigns to expand the crisis and pose a threat to some areas of the U.S., even directly on their territory, the newspaper wrote.
While this indirect approach may not yield much success, Iran can use its ballistic missiles and power of trusted proxies for direct attacks on U.S. bases and troops in the Persian Gulf, summed up Hong Kong reporters.
It sounds quite alarming. The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and Libya, as well as the U.S. invasion of Iraq was preceded by information attack on these countries from the Western press. When the Western media is seriously considering options for strikes on Iran by Israel and the United States, the likelihood of a war in the Middle East is, at least, sufficiently high.
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