Aug 12, 2010

The Point of No Return: New Article in The Atlantic Examines the Prospect of an Israeli First Strike on Iran

Joel C. RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

I commend to your attention a new article in The Atlantic by reporter Jeffrey Goldberg entitled, “The Point of No Return.”


  • “For the Obama administration, the prospect of a nuclearized Iran is dismal to contemplate — it would create major new national security challenges and crush the president’s dream of ending nuclear proliferation. But the view from Jerusalem is still more dire: a nuclearized Iran represents, among other things, a threat to Israel’s very existence. In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? As Washington and Jerusalem study each other intensely, here’s an inside look at the strategic calculations on both sides — and at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold.”

  • “[T]he United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace [enroute to Iran]. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down.”

  • “When the Israelis begin to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the formerly secret enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and possibly even the Bushehr reactor, along with the other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program, a short while after they depart en masse from their bases across Israel — regardless of whether they succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, or whether they fail miserably to even make a dent in Iran’s nuclear program — they stand a good chance of changing the Middle East forever; of sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations….”

Related Links
'Israel likely to hit Iran, consensus of 40 speculates' - Jerusalem Post
Will Israel attack Iran? - The Week Magazine
Romania says it will stand by Israel in event of conflict with Iran - Ha'aretz
Obama and Netanyahu: Worlds Apart on Israel - (George Will)
The Twelfth Imam - Joel C. Rosenberg (Book)