Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak told US Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey that Israel would not give the US more than 12 hours notice before launching a strike against Iran.
Dempsey visited Israel last week on his first official trip to the country and met with Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz as well as the Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres. During the visit, Dempsey and IDF Chiefs discussed a planned joint military exercise that would test missile defense that was recently postponed as well as Israel’s intentions towards Iran. Dempsey said the postponement, which upset Israeli officials, was to ensure “a better outcome”.During the meetings, Netanyahu and Barak told Dempsey that Israel would not coordinate with the US regarding a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and would not give advance warning, especially in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s insistence that he would prevent such as a strike from occurring. The reasons for a lack of coordination are unknown but speculation is that Netanyahu does not trust Obama to back Israel in a confrontation with Iran. The US President has incentive to block such a strike, which would cause Iran to halt oil shipments, raising oil and gas prices in addition to blocking the Strait of Hormuz, where most of the world’s oil shipment originate.
Over the last year, Israel has increasingly hinted that it is planning a military strike on Iran’s controversial nuclear program which the West suspects of having the goal of nuclear missiles to use against Israel and the US. Since the beginning of 2011, the IDF’s elite paratroopers have been training for a long-range operation and the IAF has been practicing maneuvers such as mid-air refueling that have suggested that the attack may actually be closer than what the Western think at this time.
The EU responded to the announcement by saying that sanctions against Iran would be tightened, with Iranian oil imports being indefinitely banned. The US and Israel have not commented on Dempsey’s comments and those of IDF officials at this time.