US to Sell Israel Bunker-Busters
One threat to Israeli security stems from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both the U.S. and Israel have reiterated in several forums that the military option to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons remains on the table, alongside international sanctions and other diplomatic means. Several sensitive facilities used in Iran’s nuclear development program are located underground and some of them may be vulnerable to the bunker-buster munitions Israel is set to receive. The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency announced this week that Iran was not cooperating with the UN inspections process.Iranian officials recently threatened painful and surprising retaliation for any strike by Israel or the United States. An Iranian defense official said Iran has prepared “hidden” capabilities for such an eventuality. In intelligence circles, it is known that Iranian-sponsored terrorist cells, some from the Lebanese Hizbulllah, have been dispatched to various locations in the Middle East and beyond to await the order to retaliate against Western targets.
Under an American Umbrella
In addition to the approved sale of the GBU-39 bombs, an American Defense Department official recently intimated that the United States considers Israel to be informally under its “nuclear umbrella.”
During a special briefing for reporters at the Pentagon on September 12, the Chairman of the Defense Department’s Task Force for Nuclear Weapons Management, James Schlesinger, said that the U.S. has formal obligations to use its nuclear arsenal in the defense of NATO nations. In response to a question from the press, he explained that “Israel, which has concerns of its own, [is] not formally protected.”
Then Schlesinger added, “However I think that it probably would be ill-advised for any nation to act on that lack of formality. There are, probably are, informal arrangements.”