The irony of recent events vis-à-vis Iran and Israel is that if Israel was planning an attack this would be a perfect time for one. Before any readers jump into any conclusions, this statement doesn't mean that I am advocating, or am in favor of, an immediate attack, but it is merely an observation.
Here is why I think this might be the perfect time for an Israeli attack against Iran:
The Israeli prime minister publicly retreated from his prior aggressive positions, opting instead for a higher threshold of tolerance for uranium enrichment by Iran, per his UN speech. Mr. Natanyahu appeared to acknowledge, and accept, the reality that United States' only red line is the one they have devised for Israel, which is: "don't drag us into war without our consent". The Iranians could be forgiven for thinking that the danger has passed, at least for now.
To add to the sense of normalcy, the Israeli prime minister called for early elections. Again, no one would expect an attack on Iran in the midst of Israeli elections, but the rub is that the same players are expected to win this election, so there is really no political uncertainty to preclude an attack against Iran.
If Israel wanted to regain the element of surprise, then the recent, Israeli made, events have given it that element back, and all the pieces seem to be in place if they were to chose to attack, even as there seem to be no doubt that an attack is no longer considered imminent.
Another element needed, other than surprise, is the pretext for military movements. To that end, Israel has planned maneuvers in the Negev desert under the pretext of preparing for events in Syria in case the chemical weapon stockpiles are moved by the Syrian regime.
On the US end, the Israelis maybe sensing some room to maneuver as the US election is now more tightly contested making it difficult for President Obama to speak out against any Israeli military action if it were to occur. In fact, as I had written in the past, President Obama might hate the notion of war with Iran but such war would almost guarantee his reelection, so it's a "win win scenario" for him.
So, if Israel was actually planning to attack Iran in the next few weeks, hypothetically speaking of course, what would we expect it to say or do in prelude to war?
One might expect the following:
- Hint to the world that they are backing down, perhaps by using a UN speech to convey that message.
- Create additional diversions, like calling for early elections which could have been easily done after the US election or post new year.
- Keep the strike force on alert with preplanned maneuvers like the one already planned in the Negev.
- Strike when no one expects it.
I could be wrong, and all this could just be a cluster of coincidents.