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Pentagon prepares “aerial refueling” for Israeli planes striking Iran

DEBKAfile
Thursday, March 1, 2012

In a dramatic U-turn to show Israel that Washington is serious about its military option against Iran’s nuclear program, Pentagon officials disclosed Thursday, March 1, that “military options being prepared start with providing refueling for Israeli planes and include attacking the pillars of the clerical regime. They include the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its elite Qods Force, regular Iranian military bases and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.” The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in Washington’s first public reference to possible joint military action with Israel against Iran.

Earlier, Israel asked the Obama administration to finally set red lines for Iran’s nuclear program and abandon its “shifting red lines” option, as well as spelling out US military contingencies instead of using the worn-out “all options are on the table” mantra.

DEBKAfile reported earlier Thursday on the deep discord marking the US-Israeli approach to the threat of a nuclear Iran:

Barring last-minute changes, US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will still be at profound cross purposes on Iran when they meet at the White House on March 5. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak flew to Washington to try and work out with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Wednesday, Feb. 29 a formula for bridging the widening gap. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that notwithstanding their smiling embraces, Barak flew straight back home to inform the prime minister they had failed.

While still airborne, Barak heard White House Spokesman Jay Carney further sharpen Obama’s current tone: “I think we have been clear about this – that any (Israeli) military action in that region threatens greater instability in the region, because Iran borders both Afghanistan and Iraq – we have civilian personnel in Iraq, we have military personnel as well as civilians in Afghanistan.”

Full story here.

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