Washington, Feb. 8 - Israel may attack Iran by the end of the summer when many top Israeli officials see Iran’s nuclear program crossing a “point of no return,” Israeli academic Uzi Rabi said Wednesday.
“We are getting into a very very strict timetable” with Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon, said Rabi, who directs the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies and chairs the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University.
In a conference call hosted by The Israel Project, Rabi said Iran was now under heavy United Nations and international sanctions aimed at forcing it to halt its nuclear weapons program. The International Atomic Energy Agency concluded last year that several elements of the program could only be used for military purposes.
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee last Thursday approved in a voice vote new sanctions targeting Iran's national oil and tanker firms, and last month, President Obama signed sanctions that target foreign entities that do business with the Central Bank of Iran.
Rabi said these measures should be given time to impact the Iranian leadership, which has still not fully “internalized” the gravity of the measures.
“The sanctions, if fully implemented… would give the ayatollahs in Iran a second thought” about the nuclear program, Rabi said.
But if the sanctions are evaded or countries like India and South Africa buy more Iranian oil, the alternative would probably be a limited Israeli military strike sometime this summer, he said.
Meanwhile, on Syria, Rabi said the world could be looking at the eventual disintegration of the country into separately controlled power centers and cantons.
“We have here the dynamic of a failed state,” Rabi said. “Syria is going to be broken up to pieces.”
The international community is dealing with the fallout from China’s and Russia’s rejection of UN/Arab League plan to end the violence in Syria where President Bashar Assad’s forces have killed over 5,000 civilians