Israeli Cabinet minister: We will attack Iran

With Ehud Olmert running out of political gas from a corruption scandal, his Kadima party needs to find a new leader, and given Kadima’s strength, that leader could become the next Prime Minister. Shaul Mofaz, currently a Kadima Cabinet minister and a former defense minister, wants the job. If he gets it, Iran may have a problem on its hands:

An Israeli Cabinet minister has said the country should attack Iran if it continues with its nuclear program, a newspaper reported Friday.

The Yediot Ahronot daily quoted Shaul Mofaz as saying, “If Iran will continue with its plan to develop nuclear weapons, we will attack it.” …

Mofaz is a former defense minister and army chief. He would like to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of the Kadima Party in light of a corruption scandal that threatens to bring Olmert down.

Mofaz told the newspaper that economic sanctions have not worked and would not keep the Iranians from building nuclear weapons. The only solution he sees is to attack Iran and destroy their facilities, which he said Israel would do before Iran has a chance to complete their work. Mofaz also stated that the US would support any Israeli action against Iran.

That may depend on who gets elected in November here in the US more than whether Mofaz becomes PM. While Barack Obama has shifted more towards Israel and away from tete-a-tetes with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it seems unlikely that an Obama administration would publicly support an Israeli attack on Iranian installations, and that’s not a knock on Obama. The Reagan administration didn’t support Israel’s first-strike attack on the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981, either, although Reagan himself was sympathetic (see The Reagan Diaries, pages 24-5).

If Israel expects American backing for such an attack, then it would make sense to see it come sooner rather than later, and not just for the obvious nuclear-development timeline. George Bush might at least be sympathetic to such an attack, and John McCain might be as well, but the Israelis have to see a McCain victory as a toss-up at best right now. Their window of opportunity may be closing. If Obama wins the election, Israel would have two months to conduct an attack that would hopefully devastate Iranian nuclear facilities.

If Israel conducts the attack successfully, don’t expect to see Arab nations rising in indignation to declare war on Israel. They don’t want a nuclear Iran any more than Israel does. Israel should expect all-out war from the Iranian terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, and the US may find our position in Iraq seriously damaged as well.