U.S. concerned Israel could strike Iran
File photo of an Israeli F-15 fighter jet
November 4th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

U.S. concerned Israel could strike Iran

By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

The United States has become increasingly concerned Israel could be preparing to strike Iran's nuclear program, a senior U.S. military official told CNN on Friday.

The U.S. military and intelligence community in recent weeks have stepped up "watchfulness" of both Iran and Israel, according to the senior U.S. military official and a second military official familiar with the U.S. actions.  Asked if the Pentagon was concerned about an attack, the senior military official replied "absolutely." Both officials declined to be identified because of the extreme sensitivity of the matter.

Both the U.S. Central Command, which watches developments in Iran, and the U.S. European Command, which watches developments in Israel, are "increasingly vigilant" in watching potential military movement in both countries.  U.S. satellites are a crucial method of gathering intelligence in both arenas, though the official did not specify that was the method being used.

Separately, another senior U.S. military official is now calling Iran the largest threat to the United States in the Middle East.  Concerns about the threat to American interests from Iran has grown for several reasons, according to military officials.  In addition to the country's nuclear ambitions, recent allegations have come to light about an Iranian assassination plot in Washington, Iranian shipment of weapons into Iraq, and continued Iranian support for the militant group Hezbollah.

The concerns over a possible Israeli strike come as the International Atomic Energy Agency is set to release a report next week detailing Iran's progress on its nuclear weapons development program.  A number of Israeli newspapers in recent days have speculated that the Israeli government could respond with attacks.

The military official told CNN that the United States is watching any Israeli military movements closely as well as those inside Iran.  In the past, the U.S. officials felt they had assurances from Israel that it would give warning to the United States of any attack.

"Now that doesn't seem so ironclad," the official said.

The American assessment is that an Israeli strike could likely include both manned aircraft and use of Israeli Jericho ballistic missiles. Manned aircraft are particularly risky because Israeli pilots would have to cross into third-country airspace, and likely engage in mid-air refueling that could be detected by radars in the region.  In addition, Iranian air defenses are "top notch," according to the official, and pose a threat to both manned aircraft and missiles.  Drones do not have the range to attack Iranian targets and do not carry enough firepower to destroy Iran's underground weapons facilities.

The official underscored long-standing U.S. military concerns about the risk of hostilities to American troops in the region, both those still in Iraq and U.S. naval forces and ground forces throughout the Persian Gulf.  The official also strongly emphasized the United States has no current intention of striking Iran.

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Filed under: drones • Intelligence • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Military • Nuclear
soundoff (671 Responses)
  1. cheap mk watches

    Hello Guru, what entice you to post an post. This article was really intriguing, especially since I was looking for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

    May 17, 2014 at 7:51 am | Reply
  2. Makumbiro

    Who can wipe out a blessed nation like Israel?a nation that God the creator of heaven and earth has blessed for ever.What is the 2500 years history of Iran as compared to that of Israel.If there is any nation that makes history it is Israel because through Jews , God manifested in the fresh for the salvation of Man kind.Gentiles today have been connected to God because of Jesus Christ who was born in Israel and through the Jewish race.May God bless Israel Forever in Jesus name

    August 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  3. Moester

    I'm a pretty serious gentile zionist. I'm 100% on the side of Israel to the end. But, diplomacy has not failed yet. Iran can PROVE to the Israel government that they have no desire or capability to harm them. No disgrace to Iran. No loss of pride. Do it behind the scenes in secret. Whatever it takes. There are a ton of really smart, Jewish and Gentile, minds in Israel and The US. Great Britain too. Give Iran some non military technology or something. If things get ugly, We must know every diplomatic approach was attempted. I'm just a blue collar, cannabis partaker. You smart ones figure something out here man. A lot of beautiful Persian women out there.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  4. rs1201

    Unfortunately, Israel has a big fat enemy in the White House who will be thrown out of office in Nov 2012...but until then, Obama sides with the muslim brotherhood who just had a rally in the biggest mosque in Cairo, Egypt and they were busy yelling "one day, we will kill all Jews"...not a word of this on CNN or anywhere else except the NY Daily News. Israel is on her own with the Iran dilemma...obama would be happy to see Israel obliterated by Iran...but his democrat buddies are busy telling him that he has to feign sensitivity to the problems that Iran presents Israel with...he's not fooling anyone...the American Jewish Community is very well aware of who our enemies are...and obama is Israel's biggest enemy!!!

    November 27, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • EUGENE

      Would it be too much for you sons of gog and magog to go back home to Russia and let the real Jews who lived for thousands of years in peace with the people of Palestine, just be. America will be destroyed by these criminal and imposters, who have no claim to Israel. The founders of the Zionist nation of Gog and Magog, need to go back to abkhanizi. "I'm really wondering if the holocaust was really true" read revelations people!

      December 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • LOLqaeda

      brainwashed much buddy? your comments are wacko.

      November 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Judy

      Right on!!!!

      December 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • Jaws7

      The US and Israel are probably in the top three that sell the most weapons throughout
      the world. While Arabs may say down with Israel it is out of frustration whereas
      Israel with the help of the US just kills to advance their economies. I do not know
      what is wrong with the US. Take Mexico for example, the government agencies of
      the US smuggle deadly weapons into Mexico to be used by criminal gangs. Israel
      I use to think was a country to be admired but it is nothing but a warmongering
      nation. WAR is WRONG but some how I seem to wish it would attack Iran so it
      can get its ass kicked in just like Hezbollah kicked their ass in 2006.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:42 am | Reply
    • Moester

      Not accurate dude. The President made it abundantly clear on the pre super interview on NBC that We are not going to abandon Israel. Hahahaha. You're a silly bassid man. Google that

      February 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  5. Fug Xu

    I really hate all this pretense. Let's just get this over with already...that entire region of the world has been a bane to the human race since the clash of two cultures from the ancient world. We are going to go to war with Iran because of Israel. Iran will use the nuke on Israel if they develope it, then they will use it here in the U.S. The only way to be sure they do not is to literally remove all life from that country...no, the entire region. Yes, eliminate every single living organism from that part of the world...but we all know that will never happen.

    Since we won't just wipe out life there, every can just sit back and enjoy the downfall of the human race. We as a species are still too driven by primal brain function to be rational. We let our survival instincts kick into overdrive and that gives birth to extreme greed and cruelty. So unless someone just hits the reset button on the human race, we can all just sit back and enjoy the crumbling world that is dominated by the most idiotic form of life on it. I've got my popcorn, do you? In short, we are going to destroy ourselves because we want one more banana than the next guy.

    Nature is cruel, she made the human race a few cards short of a full deck, lol.

    November 27, 2011 at 9:57 am | Reply
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