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Report: Israel, U.S. considering joint ‘surgical strike’ on Iran

JTA

October 9, 2012 | 11:33 am

Bushehr nuclear power plant, 746 miles south of Tehran, on Aug. 21, 2010. Photo by REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Bushehr nuclear power plant, 746 miles south of Tehran, on Aug. 21, 2010. Photo by REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Israel and the United States are considering a joint "surgical strike" targeting Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, a former Clinton administration official who is close to the Obama administration said.

David Rothkopf, an international relations expert writing in Foreign Policy, cited a source close to the discussions between Israel and the Obama administration, as saying the strike would take a couple of hours in the best case and a day or two overall.

The source said the strike would be conducted by air, using primarily bombers and drone support.

Rothkopf said in the article that there is not "exact agreement on what constitutes a 'red line,'" but that "the military option being advocated by the Israelis is considerably more limited and lower risk than some of those that have been publicly debated."

The surgical strike option could not be conducted by the Israelis alone, Rothkopf wrote. In order to reach Iran's underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, the attack  will require bunker-busting bombs that Israeli planes are not equipped to carry.

"The mission, therefore, must involve the United States, whether acting alone or in concert with the Israelis and others," Rothkopf wrote.

Rothkopf called on the Obama administration to make the option of a surgical strike more clear, saying that it would  make a U.S. threat of force that much more credible.

"It's not the size of the threatened attack, but the likelihood that it will actually be made, that makes a military threat a useful diplomatic tool. And perhaps a political one, too," he concluded.

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