Despite his skepticism over the potential success of diplomatic efforts, Halutz claims that plans for a preemptive strike are not yet under discussion, although he also states that a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable. Clearly Israel has the most to lose should Iran ever gain nuclear technology since there's little doubt as to where Iranian missiles would be aimed. If anyone has the incentive to launch a preemptive strike, it is Israel.
That Israel is not yet considering such a strike comes as no surprise, however. Most of the nuclear research facilities in Iran are in subterranean bunkers that Israel is incapable of penetrating. A military strike by Israel would only anger the rest of the Middle East while doing very little harm to Iran's nuclear research. In fact, a strike by Israel could turn the tide of public opinion in favor of Iran, something the Israelis need to avoid at all cost.
Personally, I believe a nuclear strike against Iran is inevitable, although like Halutz I don't believe that strike will come from Israel. The only nation that has the ability to hit the underground bunkers in Iran is the US. When diplomatic efforts ultimately fail - and I'm certain they will fail - it will be the US, not Israel that hits Iran's nuclear facilities.
The US is already preparing unilateral economic sanctions against Iran. There can be little doubt that Iran's nuclear program will be debated in the UN Security Council in 2006 with additional sanctions from that body forthcoming. What remains to be seen is the timetable for an American military strike on the Iranian bunkers. Make no mistake, though, such a strike is virtually inevitable. It's not a question of "if", it's not a question of "by whom", it's only a question of "when."
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