Sources in Israel are reporting that Israeli defense officials expect the initial US response to the Attack on America to involve two phases. The first phase will be an air attack on installations in Afghanistan connected to the Osama bin Laden organization. This attack will be carried out from bases in the US, Turkey, possibly Pakistan and off carriers, and will involve cruise missiles as well as heavy bombers. It will take place within days.
CNN is reporting that Pakistan will threaten Afghanistan with a massive US-led attack unless bin Laden is turned over this week.
The second attack is likely to strike Iraq. The possibility that Iran may be struck at this point is considered less likely. Concern in Israel is that Saddam Hussein will reply with a missile attack against Israel. Hussein is believed to possess four launchers and approximately twenty missiles, although some intelligence estimates claim a higher figure.
At the same time Hezbollah will fire rockets toward Israel.
It is possible that the attack on Afghanistan will involve overflights of Iran from US bases, carriers, Turkey and Diego Garcia. The alternative is to gain overflight permissions from a number of different countries.
Iranian diplomats are believed to be attempting to add an Israeli dimension to the conflict in consultations with Arab and Moslem states at this time, in an effort to reduce their co-operation.
Syria is resisting this effort, because it does not wish to be seen as a supporter of terrorism. Whether or not Hezbollah would attack Israel at this time depends on the Hezbollah leader, Hasan Nasrallah, who at present is believed to wish to remain neutral for fear of a devastating American attack on his positions in Lebanon.
The US is attempting to isolate Afghanistan and Iraq from other Arab and Moslem states, and step up its behind-the-scenes efforts to aid negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, as a partial price for Arab and Moslem neutrality in its effort to damage, and ultimately destroy, the terrorist states.
The American attacks are expected to be among the heaviest ever carried out.
From sources in Israel.
Opinion: If the Taliban give bin Laden up to the US, there will be no eventual cloture of this problem. Instead, three things will happen:
1. He will be tried in the United States, and either incarcerated or executed here.
2. The terrorist threat will continue.
3. The heightened security measures and reduced freedoms that are coming as part of our response to the threat will remain with us. Bin Laden will not have succeeded in his aim to start a war between the Moslem world and the west, but he will have vastly curtailed American freedom.
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