The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss with one take on the potential for a US-Israeli attack on Iran:
Needless to say, an Israeli attack on Iran would unleash catastrophic consequences, completely apart from whether or not Israel could actually do the job effectively.
Whereas Israel’s attack would be limited in scope and duration, an American attack on Iran would probably last four to six weeks, and it would target Iran’s air defense, air and naval units, military and intelligence command-and-control centers, bases of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and important transportation and communication systems, along with weeks of pounding many of the more than fifty sites inside Iran involved in that country’s nuclear program. In contrast, Israel would likely be able to strike once, targeting only a handful of Iran’s most important sites, in Isfahan and Natanz.
But an Israeli attack would lead to a regional conflagration, in which Iran would use its proxies and allies and, most likely, terrorist units against US and Israeli targets across the region and even worldwide. Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon, would strike Israel, leading to what would end up being an Israeli war against both Syria and Lebanon. Iran’s allies in Iraq and Afghanistan could launch attacks against US and NATO forces there, and there’s a strong likelihood that Iran would try to attack the oil facilities of the Arab countries across the Persian Gulf. The ripples would spread from there, including soaring oil prices (in the range of $150 to $200 per barrel). For all these reasons, without definitive proof that Iran has actually acquired a bomb and that Iran is planning to use it, an attack by either the United States or Israel makes no strategic sense, especially since many analysts believe that even a sustained attack might not succeed in doing anything more than delaying Iran’s program while convincing Tehran to accelerate it and to move its facilities underground into hardened sites, as it appears to be doing in its new facility outside Qom.
President Obama, while pushing to isolate Iran and impose even tougher sanctions, isn’t likely to attack Iran. (That’s not true for some of his Republican rivals in 2012.) In addition, since 2007, under both President Bush and President Obama, the Pentagon has delivered strong warnings to Israel not attack Iran under any circumstances, because the consequences would be so severe. No doubt, those warnings stand. Which is why, for my part at least, I don’t believe Israel would risk an attack on Iran by itself.