Magazine article Tablet Magazine

What Happens after (If) Israel Attacks Iran?

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

What Happens after (If) Israel Attacks Iran?

Article excerpt

If Israel launches military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, what happens next? The New York Times takeaway today is to quote a former Israeli official: "1991 plus 2006 plus Buenos Aires times 3 or 5." That is, missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and from Lebanon, and attacks like that on the Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994. Attacks on U.S. interests would be more modified and likely wouldn't be anything so dire that it would prompt massive U.S. retaliation. Still, the United States has quietly beefed up its presence near the Strait of Hormuz so that it is ready to act if Iran seeks to close the crucial energy bywayan American red line.

At the same time, in the heat of a crisis, anything could happen, which is why some U.S. military strategists are worried that even an Israeli attack privately opposed by the U.S. could nonetheless draw the U.S. into a subsequent conflict. (Although, no, Iranian rockets won't hit the East Coast.)

Ehud Eiran has a great article that takes stock of much of this but then notes that it's actually a rather narrow conversation we're having, one largely in the realm of military/paramilitary/terrorist actions. What about the impact on U.S.-Israel relations? Israel's relations with other countries? How will the Israeli public respond? What about energy markets? If Iran were on the verge of obtaining a workable nuclear weapon, you could argue that these concerns are simply trumped, but not even Israelis suggest that's truethey suggest, rather, that the "zone of immunity" is nigh, an assertion belied by reports that U.S. bunker-busters are capable of getting even to Iran's fortified underground facilities. …

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