Why hasn't Israel bombed Iran?

I’m cynical about global politics. There’s a lot of media attention right now on whether Israel will bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, but if Israel was genuinely ramping up to launch such a bombing raid they wouldn’t be telling reporters at the Washington Post about it. They would do it out of nowhere in complete radio silence like they did with Syria’s nuclear facility in 2007: they kept that raid so quiet that newspapers didn’t find out for weeks afterwards, and to this day almost no one has heard about it. If they’re telling reporters they’re thinking of bombing Iran, that suggests to me they have no intention of bombing Iran any time soon.

So what are the reasons they haven’t bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities yet? Is it because Iran’s facilities are protected too effectively for an attack to destroy them? Is it because Israel or America is worried about Iran’s retaliation on oil supplies and shipping in the Gulf?

How about because it might trigger a war that Israel is not ready or able to fight alone. My guess is that the US is telling Israel not to attack until all diplomatic efforts have failed. And the US thinks it can economically strangle Iran into complying with it’s demands.

Notice that this week Iran has signaled that they are now ready to talk? Perhaps they are stalling to buy themselves time so that Israel, which they may think is hamstrung by the US, can’t attack.

BTW, Iran is not defenseless. While Israel has advanced weaponry, I believe that Iran is now capable of lobbing missiles into Israel if they wanted to…

Assuming that they are perfectly willing, at some point, to do so, the only reason that makes sense is that they still think they might not have to.

But this is necessarily speculation. You’re not going to get a verifiably factual answer to your question.

I don’t think Syria had second strike capabilities, which made the strike in 2007 a good idea.
Iran, on the other hand, probably has at least two, if not three, missile sites with the ability to hit Israel.
That changes the game.

No; what I’m looking for though is expert opinion, from foreign policy experts with no agenda, rather than statements from politicians with a stake in the issue, media reports or commentators who have an agenda towards one side or the other (usually the US-Israel side).

“They might not have to” is not a good answer; they didn’t have to bomb Syria’s nuclear plant either in 2007. But they were capable of bombing it and they figured they could do so with few repercussions, so they did it. What I’m asking is why haven’t they done the same with Iran? Are they not capable, or are they scared of the potential repercussions? If the latter, what are those potential repercussions?

Does Iran really have significant capability to attack Israel?

Since Israel has street cred for attacking other countries, it’s probably cheaper to bluster and posture about thinking about attacking, than actually attacking.

Maybe the US and Israel are running a good cop/bad cop routine on Iran.

Israel will not attack Iran without US support. It just can’t do it. The US, at the moment, wisely sees this as a disaster scenario, so Israel’s hands, but not their blustering, are tied.

Why is knocking out the Iranian nuclear plants a disaster scenario?

Request forum change

Taken out of context, you’re right. Putting it back into the context of my post, it’s the best one you’re going to get.

Clearly, it’s preferable not to bomb than to bomb. But assuming that if they have to, they will, they must not be convinced that they will have to do so yet. Possibly, they are waiting for a better time, but that doesn’t make much sense since every day that goes by makes it more difficult.

Emphasis added. Then you should request a forum change.

I don’t want a forum change. I’m not looking for a debate or idle speculation. What I’d like most is cites of foreign policy experts explaining why they think Israel hasn’t bombed Iran yet; what the factors influencing that decision are, and the relative importance of each. Failing that, I’d be interested in suggestions for those factors from the posters here grounded in fact.

That’s not an assumption we can make. I’ve read expert military commentary before (unfortunately I can’t remember where) suggesting that Iran’s nuclear facilities are underground and scattered around the country in multiple places, and that consequently there’s no guarantee that a bombing raid would even destroy the targeted facilities, let alone all the facilities in the country. This was cited as a reason why Israel hadn’t taken the same route yet as they did in Syria, which only one had facility which was above ground and easy to destroy.

Alternatively, perhaps Israel is certain that military action is necessary, and believes that it could be effective, but is worried about the retaliation and is waiting for certain factors to fall into place to mitigate against that retaliation.

Or perhaps Israel is convinced about the necessity of military action but needs the US on board for some specific reason, and is still attempting to achieve that.

I don’t know. That’s what I’m interested if anyone knows of any commentary from foreign policy experts discussing this issue.

Why would you think what is SPECULATED in the media is going to happen. I never heard any credible report that says Israel was going to bomb Iran. It was all “what if” talk.

The thing is Iran today is not Iraq 30 years ago. If you attack you only get one chance. If you can’t achieve your goals there’s no point doing it half assed

Israel seems to be having much the same effect by bombing key scientists from Iran’s nuclear facilities. As long as they can do it on the cheap that way, why start a big fuss by actually bombing the facilities themself?

The OP needs to check tonight New York Times online. They have an analysis by experts on this subject. The take away from the article: US experts believe a successful attack by Israel ranges from very very difficult to impossible. They simply don’t have the military capability to destroy the targets. They could probably drop some bombs on some targets, but they don’t have the ability to launch the kind of large scale attack at long range that would be necessary.

Is there still any doubt that Israel was behind (or at least, was one of multiple parties behind) the Stuxnet attack? They are attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities; they’re just using weapons more efficient than bombs.

Israel would have to have the US backing as they have to overfly either Saudi Arabia or Iraq to get to Iran. I can’t see Israel getting permission to do either of those without US backing.

Even if they flew all the way around Saudi Arabia to avoid any overflight, presumably the US could easily stop an Israeli attack using assets at Qatar if they wanted to.

It’s possible that Israel has determined an attack will be ineffective. If it doesn’t disable Iran’s nuclear capability, and leaves them open to counter-attack, why would they? I would put this in as a corallary to **John Mace’s **response, in that they will never feel they have to attack if an attack would be unsuccessful.

exactly. israel doesn’t, but the US does, and the US is not prepared to start another fight until all other options have been exhausted