Brit paper: Five U.S. generals will resign if Bush orders Iran attack; Update: Gulf states agree to IAF overflight?

Whereupon each of them will be given book deals, hired as military analysts by MSNBC, invited to the White House correspondents dinner, and enlisted to serve as consultants on a George Clooney vehicle about their experience entitled Those Who Dared.

I don’t buy it, but it’s good copy.

The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

That leaves it to Israel. The Telegraph has another of it’s too-big-to-be-true bombshells about Iran today, claiming that the IAF is negotiating Iraq flyover rights with the U.S. for its inevitable run on the Iranian reactors. Short of U.S. troops killing the Ayatollah Sistani, it’s hard to think of something that would piss off Iraqi Shiites more than allowing Israel to use Iraqi airspace to bomb the Shiite mothership. But if they don’t go through Iraq, how do they get there from here?

middle_east_graphic_2003.jpg

I’m thinking a little detour through the Kingdom instead, with a secretly complicit Saudi government feigning outrage later about the Jews having defiled its holy airspace despite their best efforts to shoot them, etc etc.

There’s another, longer piece in tomorrow’s Telegraph about Israel prepping for war. A lot of it’s boilerplate about Iran’s nuclear advances and how Israeli estimates of their progress vary wildly from UN/U.S. estimates. The most interesting part:

As part of the defensive preparations for a missile attack, the Israelis recently conducted a successful test-firing of the new Arrow anti-missile defence system, a development that has mainly been funded by the Pentagon.

The Arrow is the successor to the American Patriot missile system used to shoot down Saddam’s Scuds during the 1991 Gulf War. But where the Patriot attacks the incoming missile as it nears its target, the Arrow is designed to intercept a hostile missile much earlier, in the upper atmosphere.

From Israel’s perspective this is a crucial advance, especially if the Iranians were to attempt to fire missiles armed with nuclear warheads. “There’s no point shooting down a nuclear missile once it’s over Israel – the devastation would be just the same,” an Israeli military officer explained this week. “The idea is to take it out long before it hits Israel.”

That would mean such a missile exploding somewhere over Iraq or Jordan, thereby potentially causing widespread devastation in those countries.

Exit question: What happens when a nuclear explosion occurs over land at high altitudes?

Update: Yeah, I don’t know. That’s a long, long trip, and neither Qatar, Oman, or the UAE are any match for Iran militarily. As for Turkey, Islamism is on the rise and they may need Iranian help in the near future to crush the Kurds. Why, then, would they agree to host an Israeli bombing run?