Israeli Iran strike 'could hinder US support'
01 November 2012
An unannounced Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities would hinder the ability of the United States to provide military support in the aftermath, it has been reported.
An article in The Guardian said that American military commanders had warned that support from Arab nations in the Gulf would be limited as US bases, supplies and refuelling equipment in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman may become unavailable if Israel acts alone.
"The Gulf states' one great fear is Iran going nuclear," a source quoted in The Guardian said. "The other is a regional war that would destabilise them. They might support a massive war against Iran, but they know they are not going to get that, and they know a limited strike is not worth it, as it will not destroy the programme and only make Iran angrier."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Paris-Match magazine this week that surrounding nations would feel "relief" if Israel attacked Iranian nuclear facilities.
"Five minutes later, contrary to what sceptics think, I believe there will be a great feeling of relief throughout the region," he said. "Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some neighbouring regimes and their citizens have well understood that a nuclear-armed Iran is a danger for them, not only for Israel."
A major International Atomic Energy Agency report last year suggested parts of Iran's nuclear programme, which the country insists is for civilian power generation and medical purposes only, could only be used in developing nuclear weapons.
The report led to speculation that Israel intended to launch an attack earlier this year, but Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that the "moment of truth" had been put back by "eight to 10 months" after Iran converted more than a third of its 189kg of 20 per cent enriched uranium into fuel rods for use in its civilian power stations.
An attack "probably" would have happened "about now" if the move hadn't been made, Barak said.
"If no one acts, we will have to contemplate action," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Basically, it's about the question of when they come into this zone of immunity, where no Israeli surgical attack, probably somewhat later not even an American surgical attack, can delay them significantly. That's the issue that bothers us."
"…It's not a minor decision to contemplate an operation against Iran, but however complicated, dangerous – it probably carries some unintended consequences – an operation against Iran could be now – think of what it means to try it when Iran is already nuclear, several years down the stream. It would be much more complicated, much more dangerous and – with far-reaching, unintended potential consequences – much more costly in terms of human lives."