Two top retired Israeli and American generals last week published an unofficial theoretical sequence of events that is likely to precede any strike against Iran's nuclear program.
American general James Cartwright, most recently chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, former head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence and Israel Air Force chief of staff, used the exercise to determine what set of events would justify military action against Iran, and, if it comes to that, which nation - Israel or America - should lead the charge.
Generals Cartwright and Yadlin published the report simultaneously to the websites of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (of which Yadlin is the current director) in hopes of sparking more concerted discussion between the two nations' political and defense establishments over the topic.
The narrative of the Cartwright-Yadlin document follows more or less what Israel and its supporters increasingly expect to see happen. Iran will continue to rebuff all international efforts to curb its quest for nuclear arms, necessitating a difficult decision by Washington and Jerusalem to implement preemptive military strikes.
Despite a deep desire to avoid yet another Middle East war, US President Barack Obama will, according to the two generals, feel compelled to take action, acknowledging that allowing Iran to "go nuclear" would be far more dangerous to American interests in the long run.
If it comes to that, Cartwright and Yadlin have a few suggestions:
America should lead the attack. The Arab states are less likely to feel compelled to react if the US is at the forefront of the action, and America has more capability to inflict serious damage to Iran's fortified nuclear facilities.
The attack should be extremely limited in nature, and by no means include a ground invasion. By acting in this manner, Iran will find no viable excuse to respond with a full-scale war against either American or Israeli interests or allies.
Israel should play a strong behind-the-scenes role, as it has more operational experience in attacking nuclear facilities, and has a far greater moral purpose for striking what it sees as an existential threat.
Click here to read the full report.