Nearly two decades ago, Israel started alerting the world about Iran's nuclear program. But the world ignored our warnings, wasting 10 years until the secret nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz was exposed in 2002. Then eight more invaluable years were lost before much of the international community imposed serious sanctions on Iran.
Throughout that time, the ayatollahs systematically lied about their nuclear operations, installing more than 10,000 centrifuges, a significant number of them in a once-secret underground facility at Qom. Iran has blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from visiting its nuclear sites, refused to answer questions about the military aspects of its program, and rejected all confidence-building measures. Iran has tested long-range missiles capable of reaching any city in the Middle East and, in the future, beyond.
In their first round of talks with Iranian officials, late in 2009, the P5+1 demanded the suspension of all enrichment activities in Iran and the transfer of its stockpiles, then enriched to 3.5%, abroad. Iran rejected those conditions and escalated its enrichment process to 20%, which can be enhanced to weapons-grade in a matter of weeks.
Iran now has amassed roughly 225 pounds of 20% uranium and 11,000 pounds of 3.5%, sufficient for almost five nuclear bombs. Rather than stand by its initial demands, however, the P5+1 is now seeking merely the cessation of Iran's 20% enrichment, the removal of its 20% stockpile, and the closure of the facility at Qom. Arguably, this would be the first stage in the phasing out of Iran's nuclear program. But Iran has rejected even this preliminary gesture.
Iran will continue to drag out the negotiations while installing more centrifuges. These, according to the IAEA, are spinning even faster. The sanctions, which have dealt a blow to Iran's economy, have not affected the nuclear program. Meanwhile, more of Iran's expanding stockpile will be hidden in fortified bunkers beyond Israel's reach.
Time is dwindling and, with each passing day, the lives of eight million Israelis grow increasingly imperiled. The window that opened 20 years ago is now almost shut.
And now there are reports of preparations for an October attack. Personally I think it would be fitting if Israel attacks on Yom Kippur, which starts the evening of September 25th. Make the Iranians learn the real meaning of the Day of Atonement. Though it would probably be too suspicious to have any Israeli military activity on a day where the country usually shuts down completely:
I think the timing does make general sense. Ramadan ends on August 18 and we know Israel wouldn't want to be accused of violating some else's holy days. Then we have Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur coming in September and it might be hard to disguise activity on those days given usually there isn't much militarily. So that leaves the very end of September and October as November might be too late due to the rains that usually come to the area around then (negatively impacting visibility and armor mobility, if it comes to that).
U.S. intelligence analysts watching for indicators of Israeli military action recently reported that there are signs the Jewish state plans an attack against Iran in October.
One veteran Israeli journalist, Channel 2's Ehud Yaari was quoted July 28 as saying he was told the most likely date for an Israeli military strike is October.
"I will give you an impression, and this is just an impression, but it is a strong impression, after conversations with the people one needs to talk with about this matter," Yaari said.
"My impression is that the Americans are convinced that there is very high chance that Israel will decide to attack in Iran before the elections in the U.S."
"The date that they are talking about — they say that the prime minister will have to make a decision around October," he said. "They are getting ready for a possibility like that in the sense that they have to decide what they will do if there is one response or another by Iran, in the follow-up stage."
"But when you talk to them, they talk about [an Israeli strike] almost as a given—as a clear, unassailable fact."
The sensationalist Israeli newsletter DEBKAfile reported July 29 that its sources in Washington report "October is often mentioned these days in the White House, the Pentagon and top military command as the month to watch."
The report said Persian Gulf states would prefer a U.S. attack rather than an Israeli strike. The July 29 report said senior Saudi officials recently told western officials that they have been assured by the United States that the Israelis will be the first to attack and that U.S. forces would later join in. The Saudis also were told that the Obama administration has been pressing the Israelis to hold off from conducting an attack but that Washington cannot be certain that Israel will wait.
The Untied States currently has two aircraft carrier strike groups in the region.