A truly terrifying proposition (from the Guardian):
Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak, has said the moment is approaching when any military intervention to halt Iran's nuclear programme will come too late, in a strong indication that the Jewish state is closer than ever to authorising action.
But the veteran politician also publicly acknowledged the extent of debate and disagreement within Israel's political and military echelons over the merits of a military strike.
He told an international conference in Herzliya, Israel, on Thursday: "The world today has no doubt that the Iranian military nuclear programme is slowly but surely reaching the final stages and will enter the immunity stage, from which point the Iranian regime will be able to complete the programme without any effective intervention and at its convenience."
At that point it would be impractical to attack, he said.
"Dealing with a nuclearised Iran will be far more complex, far more dangerous and far more costly in blood and money than stopping it today. In other words, those who say 'later' may find that later is too late," Barak said.
No one in their right mind wants Iran to get nuclear weapons, but for Israel to assert that it has the right to nuclear weapons and attack another country that wants the same capabilities is hypocritical beyond belief.
Although Israel does not technically admit to having nuclear capabilities, everyone in the world knows they do. And the Iranians are acutely aware of this.
The truth is, Iran would be insane not to want to acquire nuclear weapons. It is surrounded by countries invaded by the US (Afghanistan and Iraq) and has a long standing grudge with the highly militarized Israel. The US makes routine threats against the country, invades its airspace, and is destabilizing its economy.
This isn't taking sides in the ongoing conflict - just stating the facts.
The US (and Israel) are highly aggressive towards countries with no nuclear capabilities, while taking a completely different tone with countries able to fight back (see North Korea and Pakistan). Iran knows this and is pursuing a strategy of deterrence by arming itself as quickly as possible.
Could this backfire? Absolutely - Israel's threats should be taken very, very seriously as it has a history of quick and brutal military action.
Again, the Middle East teeters on the edge of war, and again, the world looks on unable to talk sense to two sides intent on not talking to each other and following the most dangerous path possible.