Congressional report: Attack on Iran would be a failure

Demonstrators hold placards and shout slogans during a "No War on Iran" protest in Los Angeles, California, on February 4, 2012. (AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown)
A new Congressional report affirms that a potential US or Israeli strike on Iran would be useless since the Islamic Republic could recuperate from it within a six month time frame.

The report sparked by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s remarks claiming he “believes” Israel is “likely” to attack in Iran in either April, May or June, says although US and Israel aren’t certain of the precise location of the nuclear sites, the facilities may be spread out in a way that an attack would result in failure.

Bloomberg described the report stating it is “unclear what the ultimate effect of a strike would be on the likelihood of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Iran’s alleged “workshops” for producing nuclear centrifuges have had Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushing for an airstrike on the program that Iranian officials claim is for peaceful purposes.

What to do about Iran’s nuclear program has created a divide between the US and Israel.

Although the US has hesitated to publicly endorse Israel’s plans to carry-out an attack on the Islamic Republic, Israeli officials have expressed they may have to go it alone, with or without American assistance.

According to the Bloomberg report, last month a former US government official stated to researchers that “Iran’s centrifuge production is widely distributed and the number of workshops has probably multiplied  ‘many times’ since 2005 because of an increase in Iranian contractors and subcontractors working on the program.”

This echoes Netanyahu’s and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s concern that sanctions against Iran are futile and an attack should be implemented before it’s too late.

The report states “an attack could have considerable regional and global security, political and economic repercussion, not least for the United States, Israel, and their bilateral relationship.”

In the 52 page document, it states that although President Obama and leaders of Congress have expressed their concerns about a nuclear armed Iran, the American people must have trust in the US intelligence assessments that “Iran has not made a decision to build nuclear weapons.”

The report also acknowledges that the aspects of detailed text are subject to “vigorous debate and remain fully or partially outside public knowledge.”

According to the Congressional Research Service report, Iran has been engaged in nuclear activities for decades and despite extensive examination of the activities by entities such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, there is no “definitive proof” that Iran is attempting to gain nuclear capabilities for warheads. But many argue that Iran is developing their “nuclear capability” just below the verge of nuclear weapons.

In page five of the report it states that “this uncertainty and ambiguity is a major feature of the environment in which international actors decided their policies and actions vis-à-vis Iran.”

Leaders like Netanyahu have taken advantage of these grey areas.

Twice in history, the reports states, “Israel has conducted air strikes aimed at preventing a regional actor from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.” The report goes on saying Iran and Syria have been victims of the Israeli aggression that the US ally claims was self-defense. But the report says a military move on Iran “would be significantly more complex than previous attacks.”

The CRS report, asks questions like, “what are the factors in Israeli thinking? How does Israel assess the operational requirements of a potential strike? Is an attack more likely to prevent an Iran with nuclear weapons or help bring it about? If Iran retaliated, would it limit the targeted area to Israel?”

The report quotes Netanyahu as saying, “Iran has threatened to annihilate a state. In historical terms, this is an astounding thing. It’s a monumental outrage that goes effectively unchallenged in the court of public opinion…Iranian leaders talk about Israel’s destruction or disappearance while simultaneously creating weapons to ensure its disappearance.

Although Iran hasn’t attacked a country in decades the fear of a potential assault on Israel continues to put the global community at risk.

According to an article by the Jerusalem Report news outlet, “even if the Iranians don’t use the bomb, [Netanyahu] fears  the very fact that they have it could lead to a mass exodus of Jews from an Israel under nuclear threat, weakening the state and compromising the Zionist dream.”