Israeli officials are quietly conceding that new international sanctions targeting Iran's suspect nuclear program, while welcome, are further constraining Israel's ability to take military action – just as a window of opportunity is closing because Tehran is moving more of its installations underground.The officials said that Israel must act by the summer if it wants to effectively attack Iran's program.Israel contends a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its survival. It also fears an Iranian bomb would touch off a nuclear arms race in a region still largely hostile to Israel.
After calling for tougher sanctions against Iran at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday: "We must not waste time on this matter; the Iranians continue to advance (toward nuclear weapons), identifying every crack and squeezing through. Time is urgently running out."Key Israeli defense officials believe that the time to strike, if such a decision is made, would have to be by the middle of this year.
Complicating the task is the assessment that Iran is stepping up efforts to move its work on enriching uranium deep underground.
Many believe that in the event of a strike, Iran would likely unleash its large arsenal of missiles capable of striking Israel.
Iran's local proxies, Hezbollah to Israel's north and Hamas to the south, possess tens of thousands of short-range rockets and missiles. American soldiers in the Persian Gulf might come under fire. Islamist backers of Iran could target civilians all over the world.
The prospect of a new conflagration in the Mideast is one reason cited by some influential Israeli figures, like recently retired spy chief Meir Dagan, when arguing against an Israeli military attack.
Israeli officials believe the Iranian nuclear program is so far advanced that any attack would delay it by two to three years at best, but not destroy it.
"It's a very advanced program with many facilities, some very large and some very fortified. To destroy them you need a series of massive assaults for two to three weeks, a month, something like that," Shapir said.
We could be down to a countdown as far as Israel taking out these nuclear facilities in Iran. From almost all information available, the point of no return will be sometime this summer. This scenario may or may not represent the tipping point in the region, but soon, either Iran will have nuclear weapons or Israel will have taken military action.
Either of these scenarios would probably trigger a much larger cascade of subsequent events, as so many reports have mentioned - events that are destined to fulfill biblical prophecy.