Mullen: US has viable Iran attack plan

Think tank: Fear keeps Israel, Hizbullah from new war.

August 2, 2010 06:06
3 minute read.
US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral M

mullen 311. (photo credit: AP Photo/Oded Balilty)


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The United States has a viable military plan to attack Iran and its nuclear facilities, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday, stressing, though, that such a strike was probably a bad idea.

Mullen has often warned that a strike against Iran would have serious and unpredictable ripple effects around the Middle East. At the same time, he has said that Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.

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Mullen: I see Israeli perspective
IDF expects Hizbullah to target roads

Mullen would not say which risk he thinks is worse.

But he told NBC television’s Meet The Press that a strike remains an option. Should it come to that, he said, the US military has a plan at hand.

“Military options have been on the table and remain on the table. It’s one of the options that the president has,” Mullen said. “I hope we don’t get to that, but it’s an important option, and it’s one that’s well understood.”

Also on Sunday, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards, Yadollah Javani, told the official IRNA news agency that Iran will make the Persian Gulf a war zone unsafe for all nations if the US attempts to attack its nuclear program.

“If the American make the slightest mistake, the security of the region will be endangered.

Security in the Persian Gulf should be for all or none,” he was quoted as saying to IRNA by AFP.

“We will defend ourselves if America or Israel resort to any hostile measures against our vital values,” Javani said.

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group, a Brussels- based nongovernmental organization that provides analysis and advice on preventing and resolving conflicts, is scheduled on Monday to release a report on the current Israeli-Hizbullah standoff, in which the NGO concluded that the main obstacle to renewed warfare is the fear, on both sides, that the next conflict will be far more violent and extensive than the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

One possible spark for a renewed conflict could be an Israeli or American strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

This mutual fear, the report claims, could lead one side to feel emboldened enough to take risks under the assumption that the other side will limit its response to avoid an escalation. Such action, the report warns, could lead to all-out war.

Israel had reportedly considered bombing a convoy of trucks transferring advanced weaponry to Hizbullah from Syria earlier this year.

“Thus, Israel might target a weapons storage facility in Lebanon or Syria; it might also attack a Hizbullah-bound weapons convoy it viewed as being particularly dangerous,” the report said. “By the same token, Hizbullah might at some point decide to reassert itself – for example if it were to feel that a strictly defensive posture was gradually eroding its legitimacy – by, say, retaliating against violations of Lebanese airspace.”

According to the report, the only long-term way to avoid conflict in the north is to resume meaningful peace talks between Israel and Syria and to start talks with Lebanon.

“There is no other answer to the Hizbullah dilemma and, for now, few better ways to affect Teheran’s calculations,” the report said. “Short of such an initiative, deeper political involvement by the international community is needed to enhance communications between the parties, defuse tensions and avoid costly missteps.”

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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