Washington: The intelligence information gathered by the Unites States regarding Iran's technological breakthrough that could lead Teheran to an atom bomb in less than three years bodes well with President George Bush's political desperation.
The new intelligence indicates that Iran is making accelerated progress in acquiring the required amount of enriched uranium for assembling its first nuclear bomb.
Until recently, American intelligence estimated that this would only happen in 2015. Now US intelligence is falling into line with its colleagues in Israel and is estimating that an Iranian bomb can be expected as early as 2010.
Contrary to the war in Iraq, the American public does indeed view Iran as a real threat. The combination of a radical religious regime and weapons of mass destruction is America's worst nightmare. Publication of the information is part and parcel of the imminent beating of war drums: On the one hand the Bush Administration is building a significant naval force along the Iranian coast, and on the other it is signaling to the public that the Iranian threat is approaching in great strides.
When the information was revealed on CBS, senior officials at the Pentagon were quoted as saying that now there will be more pressure on Israel to carry out a preventative strike on Iran, just as it did in 1981 in Iraq.
And indeed less than two days elapsed since the publication and Israel's prime minister was quoted in the German weekly Focus as outlining the possibility of such an attack, which would include firing 1,000 cruise missiles in 10 days.
Pentagon expects Israel to do job
The intelligence information that so appropriately fits President Bush's political needs also ties in well with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's war of survival.
It seems that just a few hours prior to the publication of the Winograd report, the prime minister prefers diverting the public's attention to a completely different channel. Similar to Bush, Olmert also knows that when the public is apprehensive it tends to unite behind its leadership.
The moment the information was received the US and Israel closed ranks. Both countries doubt that international sanctions would suffice in halting the Iranian bomb. Bush knows that in the event he decides to go to war with Iran, even the Democrats would support him. Olmert also knows that it would not be difficult for him to secure a similar coalition at home.
The Pentagon expects Israel to do the job itself by use of the aircraft and arms it received from the US. However, either way, both Washington and Jerusalem know that the countdown has begun.