Monday, November 07, 2011

is 2012 the year?

when u.s. forces withdraw from iraq at the end of this year, it will also end american control over iraqi airspace. a few years ago i mentioned in a couple of posts that one of the main reasons (IMHO) why an israeli military strike against iran would not happen was because such a strike would require israel to cross iraqi airspace. when the u.s. refused to give israel permission, that left israel with two choices: violate iraqi airspace anyway and risk a military confrontation with the u.s., or call off any attack against iran.1

so starting january 1, 2012, that barrier to an israeli strike will be removed. sure, iraq still is unlikely to give permission for a strike. but israel is a lot less likely to care about what the iraqis say than their ally the americans. and they probably are a lot less frightened of a skirmish with iraqis.

that doesn't mean a strike will necessarily happen in 2012. it's just that one big reason reason that i have been consistently betting against a strike actually happening over the past few years will no longer apply. and recently there has been a sudden uptick of talk about an israeli attack on iraq.

1-a third choice, find an alternative route to iran that didn't involve iraqi airspace, was also not likely. deteriorating relations with turkey complicated the northern route from israel to iran while poison pill leaks about gulf state cooperation with israel complicated the southern route from israel to iran. plus, putting those complications aside, a longer alternative route, even with permission/acquiescence from the countries en route, also increases the chances of something going wrong with the strike.