(photo credit: Stringer Iran / Reuters)
Israel could cause extensive damage to Iran’s nuclear program but would not
succeed in eradicating it in a future military strike, leading American defense
analyst Anthony Cordesman said on Thursday.
RELATED:US hits major Iranian airline with sanctionsAhmadinejad insists Iran not seeking nuclear weapons
Speaking to The Jerusalem
Post on the sidelines of the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem,
Cordesman also said that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was alienating
Israel from the rest of the world and was a liability for Israel and the United
Cordesman is a senior researcher at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington and served in the past as director of
intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
can achieve short-term gains but the basic structure of the Iranian efforts
would remain and such a strike would do more to catalyze support of the program
in Iran than undermine it,” Cordesman said of a possible Israeli strike against
Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“It would not threaten the regime and while
Israel might achieve some gains, it would not be able to restrike [if it is
“There is a very hard target mix and the problem is that there
is a lot we don’t know about the system and there is not a lot of unclassified
reporting on Iran’s program,” he said.
“If they [the Iranians] had any
willingness to consider this, they would have enough redundancy and
reconstitution capability so that a single strike would not have long term
Last year, Cordesman wrote a paper arguing that the US ties to
Israel were not based primarily on strategic interests but rather on moral and
ethical reasons. At the time, he wrote that Israel “at the best of times”
provides some intelligence and some minor advances in military
He said that Israel needed to use the ongoing upheaval in the
Middle East to work toward peace with the Palestinians as opposed to Israel’s
current strategy, which he said was to stall for time.
“We cannot afford
confrontations between Israel and the Arab world,” he said. “Pushing away from
the peace process and a foreign minister that constantly confronts the Arab
world and alienates you from the world is a liability for us.”
Thursday, news reports broke that five people killed in a plane crash in
northern Russia on Tuesday were Russian scientists who had helped Iran design
its Bushehr nuclear reactor.
Reports said 45 people were killed in the
crash and Russian security sources confirmed that five of the dead were nuclear
scientists who had worked with Iran, according to The Daily Mail.
British paper identified one of the dead as Andrei Trokinov – one of Russia’s
top nuclear scientists.
Despite the presence of the scientists on the
plane, investigators said the crash was the result of bad weather and pilot
error, not foul play.