“Israeli aircraft would not need to actually land in Iraq to refuel, as it is common practice to refuel in the air using long-range air tankers. However, the tankers that the Israeli Air Force currently has are outdated, making it difficult to coordinate refueling for such a long-distance mission. To address this concern, Israel reportedly requested the more modern Boeing 767-based
refueling tankers, but the U.S. has also rejected this request, as reported several weeks ago by Israel’s Channel 10 television.”
“Even if the Israeli jets were able to be refueled in the air by long-range air tankers, a mission to Iran would require an overflight of Iraq, the only country that would possibly be willing to allow Israeli aircraft in its airspace. A glance at El-Al passenger flight routes from an in-flight magazine illustrates this clearly: Flights en route to Asia and the Far East, normally represented by graceful curves for non-Israeli airlines, suddenly become sharp turns northward or southward in order avoid flying over Middle Eastern countries.”
“However, the United States has apparently refused to authorize Israel to fly over Iraq as well, and according to one report, American officials told their Israeli counterparts to ask permission from the Iraqi prime minister themselves. It is very unlikely that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki would volunteer to allow Israel to use his country’s airspace without pressure from the U.S., since such a move would antagonize many Arab countries in the region.”
“In an apparent attempt to compensate for its unwillingness to assist Israel’s needs for an Iran strike, the U.S. has offered to deliver an advanced radar warning system, to be installed in the Negev and manned by a permanent U.S. staff working alongside Israeli military personnel. The Pentagon has apparently placed the order already.”
“Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Russian state-owned company building Iran’s Bushehr reactor announced last week that the construction of the reactor will reach a state of “no return” by early 2009.” (My commentary: And you were probably wondering why this matter is so urgent now).
“While a better radar system promises to greatly enhance Israel’s ability to detect a long-range aerial attack from Iran, Israel may soon be left with no realistic option to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities and no time to find another solution.”