Washington has been hinting recently that President Obama
and his aides are considering launching a pinpoint attack
nuclear installations even before the November 6 presidential elections.
An article suggesting this is the case was published in the credible Foreign Policy magazine, which has reliable sources within the administration.
Meanwhile, similar remarks are being heard from people who are close to the White House and the Pentagon. According to these sources, who currently visiting the Middle East, the US has a plan of action in place for an aerial bombardment of a number of Iranian nuclear sites, and the preparations for such an operation have already been completed.
According to one of the American sources, such an attack can be launched "at any moment."
It is safe to assume that these statements and hints are aimed at making it clear to the Iranians that their foot-dragging on the nuclear issue may cost them dearly. The American government wants to let the Iranians know that if they continue to stall for time, the US may act even before the elections. An American strike on Iran would not hurt Obama's chances of getting reelected because the full effect of the increase in the price of oil would not be felt until after the elections.
Iran's Ahmadinejad watching military parade
Moreover, the American people tend to rally around their president in times of crisis, so even if Iran responds by attacking Israel and American targets in the Gulf, this would only help the Obama administration secure more votes. The Americans' new stance is most likely the result of cooperation with Israel, which has improved significantly over the past few days, after it was almost non-existent before Netanyahu's address at the UN General Assembly.
Meanwhile, the naval forces of the US and 12 other countries are conducting a mine-sweeping exercise in the Gulf. The deployment of a Patriot
surface-to-air missile battery in Haifa can be seen as part of the preparations for the joint Israeli-American military exercise, but it may also be a part of Israel's preparations for a possible Iranian response to an American attack.
Patriot battery (Photo: Gil Nehushtan)
Needless to say, American news outlets are following this issue closely. An article by Newsweek's Jerusalem-based reporter Dan Ephron, which focused on various "war game" scenarios, said that "although in recent weeks it has looked like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is backing away from an attack, an October surprise cannot be ruled out. In some ways, the perception that an Israeli operation is no longer imminent makes the coming weeks a more appealing window for Netanyahu to order military action.
Yet, despite all this, it is safe to assume that the Americans would not have made their intention to strike Iran public had they actually reached a decision to do so. The American sources also mentioned that among EU countries and NATO security elements there is a strong opposition to an Israeli or American strike in Iran. Elements in India and other Asian countries also oppose a military operation against the Islamic Republic's nuclear sites.