According to a few reports, the US has allowed Israeli jets to fly over Iraqi airspace and use US airbases for over a month in preparation for an attack on Iran.
According to Helena Cobban at Just World News, Israel’s Y-net (where the story originally appeared) updated their article to add an IDF denial saying the reports are “unfounded.” Cobban points out that while the IDF denies that it is conducting “training” activities in Iraq, it is not a categorical denial of other activities such as reconnaissance.
1. All the war games that US military planners have done to game out the sequelae of a US (or Israeli) act of war against Iran have shown that they are truly devastating for the US.
2. Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stated on July 2 that Iran does not, actually, fear an Israeli attack. That is consonant with the results of the war-gaming indicated above.
3. There is at least some possibility that this current piece of Israeli muscle-flexing– like Iran’s own recent, widely publicized, missile tests– is an intentional precursor to Iran and the P5+1 sitting down to start the serious, de-escalatory negotiations that imho sorely need to happen. (Glenn Kessler posited this explanation, regarding the Iranians, in today’s WaPo, I see.) But Israel’s muscle-flexing is of a notably different order than Iran’s– not least because Israel is not, actually, a potential participant in the Iran-P5+1 negotiations. For that reason, Israel remains in the role of a potentially very dangerous ‘rogue’ actor– and it might even have an incentive to prevent or spoil those negotiations. The fact that PM Olmert is in such deep political trouble at home, and that the country’s whole political system is in such a shaky situation, means that Olmert’s decisionmaking may indeed be reckless and risk-embracing.
4. We need to think much more about what “message” Olmert and his national-defense people are trying to convey to the Americans with this risk-taking behavior regarding Iran. This is true even if (or perhaps, all the more so if) Olmert has many enablers and supporters dug well in at high levels of the US national-security machine.
Irancove @ July 11, 2008