UK expects Israeli attack on Iran next month with US logistical support
DEBKAfile Special Report November 10, 2011, 9:04 AM (GMT+02:00)
A senior Foreign Office official says British government ministers have been told to expect Israeli military action in the wake of the UN watchdog report "as early as Christmas or very early in the new year," the London Daily Mail reported Thursday, Nov. 10. The ministers were told that Israel would strike Iran's nuclear sites "sooner rather than later" – with "logistical support" from the US.
According to the British paper, which has good military and intelligence ties in London, President Barack Obama would "have to support the Israelis or risk losing Jewish-American support in the next presidential election." The bigger concern is that once Iran is nuclear-armed, it will be impossible to stop Saudi Arabia and Turkey from developing their own weapons to even out the balance of nuclear terror in the Middle East.
debkafile's military sources add that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has told Obama more than once this year, "If Iran gets nuclear arms, Turkey will get nuclear arms."
The Daily Mail goes on to report that in recent weeks, British Ministry of Defense sources confirmed that contingency plans had been drawn up in the event that the UK decided to support military action.
debkafile refers to an earlier report that the British chief of staff, Gen. Sir David Richards, paid a secret visit to Israel on Nov. 2, followed the next day by the arrival in London of the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for talks with British defense and military heads.
The reference to US logistical support is explained by our military sources as pointing to the Libyan model of military intervention whereby France, Britain and Italy spearheaded the action against the Qaddafi regime while the United States from "a back seat" laid on satellite and aerial intelligence and placed at their disposal its logistical supply network, including the in-flight refueling of bombers and ordnance.
Transposing this model to an offensive against Iran, Israel's air and naval forces would front the attack on Iran with logistical and intelligence backup from the United States, while leading NATO powers France, Britain, Germany, Holland and Italy would participate directly or indirectly in the Israeli operation.
Since this attack would almost certainly bring forth reprisals from Tehran and its allies, Syria, Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami, it would almost certainly expand into a wider Middle East conflict, thus also broadening US and West European military intervention.
Prospects are fading for the alternative to military action - tough new sanctions able to choke Iran's financial operations and oil exports after the nuclear agency confirmed its surreptitious attainment of a nuclear weapon capability.
Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov promised visiting Iranian official Ali Baqeri that "Any additional sanctions against Iran will be seen… as an instrument for regime change in Tehran. That approach is unacceptable to us and the Russian side does not intend to consider such proposals."
China will certainly go along with Russia on this.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first response to the IAEA report was to attack its credibility and declare that Iran would continue its nuclear program regardless of its findings