Israel will probably attack Iran to keep it from developing a nuclear bomb, but it will try to do it without making the U.S. an accomplice, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and Israeli advocate says.
Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist by training and longtime Washington-based syndicated columnist and political analyst for Fox News, made the prediction to DoD Buzz during his appearance at the annual Air & Space Conference sponsored by the Air Force Association this week at the National Harbor in Maryland. In an address to a ballroom filled mostly with Airman, including Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, Krauthammer said the Israelis will feel compelled to attack Iran.
“It’s almost inconceivable that Israel will not do something if the world doesn’t to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon,” he said. “The only question is do they have the resources or the actual intelligence on the ground for such an attack to succeed. And that answer to that is entirely on them [to decide]. Perhaps there are others who know it. We may only know it the morning after, when the dust has settled and the smoke has cleared.”
But the U.S., with close ties to a number of Arab states and troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has concerns about the consequences of an Israeli attack if the U.S. is implicated.
The most direct route to Iran would be over Iraq, and the U.S; controls Iraqi airspace, meaning that an Israeli attack would require U.S. knowledge and acquiescence. But Krauthammer argues that most Arab states in the Middle East also do not want Iran to become a nuclear power. This includes Saudi Arabia.
Asked about the consequences to American forces about an Iran attack from Iraqi airspace, Krauthammer said the Saudis will consent to the over flight, albeit unofficially, and then pretend they didn’t know it was happening. “That’s the cute thing about this,” he told Military.com. “They’re [the Israeli’s} are not going to go over Iraq because that would embarrass the U.S. The Saudis will give them a corridor and they’ll be asleep that morning.”
Krauthammer was the sole speaker on the topic of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. A strong supporter of Israel, he presented a chronology of failed peace attempts in which the sole blame rested with the Palestinian side.
Lois O’Connor, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Association, said Krauthammer was invited to speak but the association did not know what he would choose to speak on. Given the complexity of the issue, she told Military.com, a panel discussion probably would have been a good idea.