'More than 50% chance of attack on Iran'

'Atlantic' polls Israeli officials about likelihood of strike.

Iran test 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Iran test 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The chance that Israel will launch a military strike against Iran before next July is over 50 percent, according to an article to be published in the upcoming issue of the journal the Atlantic. The article's author, Jeffrey Goldberg, gleaned this information from interviews he conducted over the last year-and-a-half with forty current and past Israeli decision makers.
Goldberg claimed to have spoken with people in and out of government from various political parties. The consensus among them was that Iran is one to three years away from the being able to create a nuclear weapon. This fact, coupled with Iran's publicly displayed animosity toward Israel, makes a nuclear Islamic republic a threat to Israel's existence, and therefore a likely candidate to face an Israeli military strike.
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Goldberg added that a strike by Israel against an enemy's nuclear program would not be unprecedented, citing the 1981 strike against Iraq's nuclear reactor and the 2007 destruction of Syria's nuclear reactor.
He added that sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had said that the premier has little faith in the ability of international sanctions passed against Iran to deter the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.
The officials interviewed by Goldberg also did not believe that a military strike on Iran from the US under Barack Obama was likely, even in the event that Teheran's nuclear capabilities were at a very advanced state. Not even the hawkish former US president George W. Bush advocated a strike against Iran, so they found it difficult to believe that the dovish Obama would launch an attack.  This would increase the likelihood that Israel would see itself as the only barrier between a nuclear Iran and the rest of the world, they said. 
The author also added that Netanayhu had told him in the past that the fear is not only of a direct attack from Iran, but also from the power a nuclear Islamic republic would give Teheran's proxies, Hizbullah and Hamas.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Goldberg that another of Israel's fears is that a nuclear Iran would force mass emigration of Israelis.
Goldberg said that not all of the officials he spoke with believed an attack on Iran was a viable option for Israel. He said that numerous sources told him that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi doubts the usefulness of an Israeli strike on Iran.