President Bush has given Israel an “amber light” to prepare for a military strike against Iran, a Pentagon official said.
Britain’s Sunday Times reported that a senior Pentagon official said the U.S. president told Israel that he would back a military strike on Iran’s main nuclear sites if diplomatic talks fail.
“Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you’re ready,” The Times quoted the official as saying.
But amber will not turn to green without a workable military proposal from Israel and proof that Iran is planning to launch an attack of its own, the official said.
The report adds that Israel cannot expect to receive any help from U.S. troops and will not have access to U.S. military bases nearby in Iraq for refueling or other support.
“It’s really all down to the Israelis,” the official told the Times. “This administration will not attack Iran. This has already been decided. But the president is really preoccupied with the nuclear threat against Israel and I know he doesn’t believe that anything but force will deter Iran.”
Pentagon officials are opposed to a strike on Iran, in part out of concern that it will put U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in danger.
The Times reported that there has been speculation that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is facing a major corruption scandal at home, would order an attack on Iran to take attention away from his problems. The Times quoted one of Olmert’s closest friends as saying that “in three months’ time it will be a different Middle East.”