February 4th, 2012
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Israel to strike Iran: US

panetta Washington: “There is strong likelihood that Israel would strike Iran in the first half of this year to stop Iran’s nuclear programme”, said US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, according to the reports published in Washington Post.

As per the article written by the columnist David Ignatius, who specializes in intelligence matters, Israel would strike Iran most probably in April, May or June. Speculations regarding the prospect of another war in the Middle East have thus emerged and gaining momentum.

When asked by journalists to confirm what the Washington Post had reported Panetta said, “Frankly, I’m not going to comment on that. David Ignatius, you know, can write what he will but, you know, with regards to what I think and what I view, I consider that to be an area that belongs to me and nobody else.”

“There really isn’t that much to add except that, you know, that they’re considering this and, you know, we have indicated our concerns,” he added.

Ken Pollack, a former White House and CIA official with expertise on the Gulf, said the sudden rise in public discussion of an Israeli strike on Iran’s known nuclear sites — including increasingly dire warnings from Israel’s leaders — were misleading.

“If Israel has a good military option, they just take it, they don’t talk about it, they don’t give warnings,” said Pollack, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. “So the fact that they are talking about it, to me, is one tip-off that they don’t have a good military option.

“We should never rule out the possibility of an Israeli strike and the odds have probably increased in recent months as a result of a number of different factors. But … there are a lot of disincentives that have prevented Israel from launching a strike for 10 years,” Pollack said.

Meanwhile, Iran maintains that their nuclear programme is meant only for peaceful civilian purpose.


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