There should be no misunderstanding here. If there is an attack against Iran, it will be by BOTH Israel and the US. It would be impossible for Israel to attack Iran without the nod from the US. It will be joint effort.
The current rhetoric about US reluctance to attack Iran before giving other options a chance and about the possibility of Israel going it alone is pure propaganda designed to lull the Iranians into a false sense of security because they know that the Israelis can’t do it on their own. The current rhetoric also creates the impression that the US actually wants to give ‘diplomacy a chance’ which, in turn, creates the impression that it is the US holding back the Israelis from attacking Iran.
The reality, however, is this; Israel, at the very least, will need to overfly Iraq in order to get to Iran and will therefore require US permission. Israel will need to acquire the special weapons it needs for such an operation from the US. The US will need to provide airspace control over the entire route from Israel to Iran and back. The US will need to supply Israel with extraordinary amounts of jet fuel. The US will need to pre-plan and provide air support for unexpected contingencies during a strike operation. The US will need to have other preparations in hand ready for any Iranian retaliation. In other words, the idea of Israel simply going after Iran on its own or against the wishes of the US is a complete illusion.
Since the real objective has always been regime change, to be achieved by destroying Iran’s military and political institutions, and not the destruction of Iran’s so-called nuclear facilities, though these no doubt will be hit just to make it seem as though they were the objective, with their real primary targets presented to the media as merely secondary, the Israelis will require a massive air fleet to launch such an attack with their strike aircraft possibly having to do two or even three sorties each throughout the operation. The real challenge for the Israelis, however, lies in their ability to prevent an Iranian counter attack against Israel. This means destroying Iranian missile sites during the initial attack on Iran’s nuclear sites and before they are able to mobilise them into action; a massive undertaking that Israel alone could not undertake.
The threat by the US and Israel to take on Iran has been one of those ‘on-again off-again’ threats that has dominated the entire Bush presidency. Now the Bush presidency is drawing to close and an Obama presidency will not attack Iran. One can reasonably conclude therefore that an attack against Iran is now imminent if for no other reason than the opportunity to do so is rapidly disappearing.
The US by using the propaganda and rhetoric of a ‘diplomatic resolution to solve the Iranian nuclear weapons crisis’ are hoping to avert the public backlash there would be if the US started simply issuing overt threats in a run-up to a war against Iran. A ‘surprise’ attack, on the other hand, would be fait accompli which, as usual, a compliant media and an American public pre-occupied with simply trying to keep a roof over their heads will just accept.