Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said on Sunday that it was “fairly certain” that Israel would strike Iran soon, “or you would not have had this leak, deliberately coming this week from the secretary of defense through David Ignatius of The [Washington] Post saying that he thinks there is a high likelihood Israel is going to attack.”
Ignatius quoted Secretary Leon Panetta as saying that Israel would probably attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before June of this year. “You don’t say that unless there is obviously indications from the Israelis that they are going to do this even if they get and they are getting a signal from the United States not to do it,” according to Krauthammer.
Appearing on WJLA’s Inside Washington, the right-wing commentator reiterated David Ignatius’ assertion that Israel believes Iran is about to enter the “zone of immunity” to start developing a nuclear weapons capacity. “The trigger is not the assumption that Iran now has the knowhow to make a bomb,” said Krauthammer. “That is later down the road.”
What comes earlier is when Iran has put enough uranium in completely untouchable, protected sites, like the mountain outside of Qom where you cannot touch it, meaning that at that point, Iran has the wherewithal, the facilities, the material that it can build a bomb unmolested, and then it can never be attacked again. If Israel thinks it is approaching the point of immunity, it will attack.
Krauthammer didn’t deem it likely that Iran would attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation even if it has repeatedly threatened to do just that in recent months. Petroleum sales make up 80 percent of Tehran’s export revenues. If it blocks access to the Persian Gulf, it would deprive industrial nations of up to a quarter of their oil resources but also hurt its own economy.
In 2010, the Islamic country sold 2.6 million barrels of crude oil per day. European nations, Japan and the United States have agreed to boycott Iranian oil but it can still sell to China, India and South Korea.
“The other question,” said Krauthammer, “is will they attack the United States base in Bahrain?” The Americans maintain a naval support facility in the island nation for the Fifth Fleet which operates in the Gulf. More than 2,000 personnel is stationed there. “If you kill a single American, you’re going to bring America into the war,” warned Krauthammer. “So it will be an all out war.”
Given that the Iranian leadership probably isn’t suicidal, “The rational Iranian response will be to attack Israel and nobody else,” he predicted.