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Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts

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Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts

By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 9:50AM BST 24/06/2008

John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush's successor is sworn in.

The Arab world would be "pleased" by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

"It [the reaction] will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action," he said.

Mr Bolton, an unflinching hawk who proposes military action to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons, bemoaned what he sees as a lack of will by the Bush administration to itself contemplate military strikes.

"It's clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility," he said. "I don't think it's serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don't think it's in the cards."

Israel, however, still had a determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, he argued. The "optimal window" for strikes would be between the November 4 election and the inauguration on January 20, 2009.

"The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defences by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations .

"They're also obviously looking at the American election calendar. My judgement is they would not want to do anything before our election because there's no telling what impact it could have on the election."

But waiting for either Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, or his Republican opponent John McCain to be installed in the White House could preclude military action happening for the next four years or at least delay it.

"An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy," said Mr Bolton, who was Mr Bush's ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006.

"With McCain they might still be looking at a delay. Given that time is on Iran's side, I think the argument for military action is sooner rather than later absent some other development."

The Iran policy of Mr McCain, whom Mr Bolton supports, was "much more realistic than the Bush administration's stance".

Mr Obama has said he will open high-level talks with Iran "without preconditions" while Mr McCain views attacking Iran as a lesser evil than allowing Iran to become a nuclear power.

William Kristol, a prominent neo-conservative, told Fox News on Sunday that an Obama victory could prompt Mr Bush to launch attacks against Iran. "If the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out," he said.

Last week, Israeli jets carried out a long-range exercise over the Mediterranean that American intelligence officials concluded was practice for air strikes against Iran. Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said this was an act of "psychological warfare" that would be futile.

"They do not have the capacity to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran. They [Israel] have a number of domestic crises and they want to extrapolate it to cover others. Sometimes they come up with these empty slogans."

He added that Tehran would deliver a "devastating" response to any attack.

On Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said military action against Iran would turn the Middle East into a "fireball" and accelerate Iran's nuclear programme.

Mr Bolton, however, dismissed such sentiments as scaremongering. "The key point would be for the Israelis to break Iran's control over the nuclear fuel cycle and that could be accomplished for example by destroying the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan or the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

"That doesn't end the problem but it buys time during which a more permanent solution might be found.... How long? That would be hard to say. Depends on the extent of the destruction."

Story from Telegraph News:


Does Israel really have the balls and accessory's to attack Iran?

Israel has quite an air force. I mean the strike will  be most likely from the air. They've taken out Itaq'i nuclear sites before with an air strike. Then they had to go into dive with a F-16, some F-15s were covering them, now they can use smart bombs and bunker busters.

I agree Israel's AF is very powerful and can carry out a strike but am concern that Iran spread out it's nuclear program making it harder to take out in a single blow.  My stance on this is I don't want a terrorist supporting country to have such weapons period.  I never want to read or hear on the news Iran's President saying "Iran Government did not support the attack" while some type of weapon was used.  It will be too late at that point and hope it doesn't get to that point.   

Iran's means to strike back?
Air force wise not much but some Su-24s which might be there best platform.  The rest old Mig-29As, F-5 paste on's, and a handful of F-14s.  I am not a believer in Iran's F-14s as some are the maintenance needed to keep them operational by skilled USN personnel with a real part chain was intense, thus cannot believe those fighters can go afterburners and pull high Gs.  Flying straight and slow so pictures can be taken doesn't make them combat operational.     

I assume their rocket's maybe be there best strike back type weapon.   It seems Iran's over the last five years released info on many types of rockets always increasing in range and claiming they cannot be stopped.  Iran's command and control is no better then Iraq's was and rockets or missiles batteries need targets and orders still, which maybe difficult if unplug in a sense.   I think Iran's military means is overrated they may have more heart to fight, they may have more people then Iraq, but still couldn't put away Iraq in a eight year war.  There air defenses are similar to Syria's so even a small NATO trained and equipped AF can do damage.  I don't say this in haste you can't not buy new fighters or other key and important weapons in ten plus years and think you can fight a modern war.  The layers of weapons and military assets around Iran are on a scope that there's or most countries in the would couldn't stand up to.  I don't feel Israel will act totally on their own because Iran will most likely lash back which means firing on some US Forces, thus drawing the US in.  I do feel US Forces will sit back and let Iran strike them and think some of Iran's weapons or assets that could hurt forces in the region would become targets and taken out.  This is a complex subject but keep in mind years of weapons bans and poor military training & leadership. 


--- Quote from: Gripen on June 26, 2008, 08:54:22 AM ---Does Israel really have the balls and accessory's to attack Iran?

--- End quote ---

Of course they do! Israel has an amazing air force, plus a very good military period.
Plus I think that Iran is pushing it big time. They bit off way too much for them to chew, they simply cannot back up all of these claims. The only thing would be IF they got their hands on nuclear weapons.
They do need to be delt with in my opinion, and to be quite honest, I do not believe that speaking with their president will do any good at all. That makes no sense in this case, most likely they'll go back on what they say. Thats how the world works.  ::)

With US and British backing also, and maybe France and Germany, and possibly Australia.

Then maybe Russia will get more involved, terrorist-infested countries like Syria might take action just for the heck of it, and possibly China will make a move for Taiwan ??

Thats kind of speaking more on the epic side, however.

Maybe World War III. I sure hope not. We're messing with a big one now, not a country that has almost no allies you know.


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