Analysts Believe Israel is Moving Closer to Iran Strike

More

Haaretz is reporting a new diplomatic initiative by Israel to convince Western countries to increase sanctions on Iran. The work comes ahead of an IAEA report to be released on November 8, which is expected to detail the scope of Iran's nuclear program and submit evidence that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear bomb:

"The significant progress that has taken place on all the components of the Iranian nuclear program should be emphasized, especially uranium enrichment," said a classified cable sent to Israeli ambassadors in several dozen countries. "The Iranian program is military, and in light of International Atomic Energy Agency reports, there is an increased fear that the Iranians are developing a nuclear warhead for ballistic missiles." 

The ambassadors were asked to tell the equivalent of the foreign ministries and prime minister's offices in the countries where they are serving that there isn't much time left to stop the nuclear program through diplomatic means.

There are all sorts of signs afoot that this fall is a bit like the spring of 2010, in which it also seemed likely that Israel was moving toward a preemptive attack (I wrote about Israeli plans in this article). By late 2010, the successes (temporary, perhaps) of the Stuxnet virus in crippling a certain percentage of Iran's centrifuges seemed to cool off passions on this subject, but now we're back to worrying. Keep in mind one important thing: The clock the Israelis are watching is not the one telling them that Iran is close, or not-so-close, to actually constructing a nuclear warhead and a delivery system for such a warhead. The clock the Israelis care about is the one that will tell them when they've run out of time to take effective preemptive action against the Iranian program, which is to say, when the Iranians put their centrifuges so deeply underground that they become beyond the reach of Israeli bombers. This is the issue we should be watching.

Here's some bonus conspiracy material for those who enjoy such things: Last week it was announced that Prime Minister Netanyahu had canceled his scheduled appearance at the Jewish Federations' annual General Assembly in Denver this year, set to take place in the days immediately before the IAEA report comes out. The GA is currently ranked third as the world's most Netanyahu-friendly audience, just behind the United States Congress, and AIPAC. He doesn't usually like to miss such events.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

When Will Robots Take Over the World?

"In a sense, we're already becoming cyborgs."


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Video

The Origins of Bungee Jumping

"We had this old potato sack and I filled it up with rocks and dropped it over the side. It just hit the water, split, dropping all the stones. And that was our test."

Video

Is Trading Stocks for Suckers?

If you think you’re smarter than the stock market, you’re probably either cheating or wrong

Video

I Spent Half My Life Making a Video Game

How a childhood hobby became a labor of love

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

From This Author

Just In