What former CENTCOM commanders and Israeli intelligence chiefs have in common is intimate knowledge of Iran’s formidable asymmetrical retaliatory capabilities. One bomb [from Israel] on Iran and oil prices could shoot up to $300 or even $500 a barrel.
In other words, Iran is fully capable of disrupting oil flows through the two-mile-wide Strait of Hormuz (by which the Persian Gulf meets the Indian Ocean) in retaliation.
And De Borchgrave offers two other reasons—aside from the oil and conventional military mischief Iran is capable of inflicting—as to why Israel would be taking a huge gamble in preemptively bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities:
First, Iran has had several years’ notice to dig deep for its most sensitive nuclear operations. Second, Israel’s fighter bombers barely have the range to reach one or several of Iran’s nuclear installations, and air-to-air refueling would have to take place over Turkey, Jordan, Iraq or Saudi Arabia.
The conclusion, obviously, is that Iran will have a nuclear bomb over the next year and Israel is simply going to have to live with it, relying on MAD (mutually assured destruction) to keep Iran’s clerics playing nice:
So, short of an Israeli preemptive strike this year on Iran, one of the hinges on which the 21st century will turn is the “critical faculties” of elderly Iranian imams, long-conditioned by Islamic versions of apocalyptic eschatology, with the power to deploy nuclear weapons (or smuggle them to terrorists).
Not a pleasant thought.
And another unpleasant thought: Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who thinks of himself as Winston Churchill on the cusp of World War II, leads Israel.
2012 will not be a year for the faint of heart.