As readers know, the world media has been reporting on the possibility of an Israeli or American strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities for a long time. As the endlessly futile efforts for a diplomatic solution continue, both the USA and the Israelis are still delaying any decision to strike at Iran. However, the world seems to be blithely ignoring a very important question, which is: What if Iran decides to strike first?

After all, Iran has stated its goal is to “wipe Israel off the map” and it denies the Holocaust even as it seems bent on creating a new one for the Israeli/Jewish people. This attack could take the form of an Iranian missile attack vs. the Israelis before either Israeli or other western intelligence agencies think it is possible. However, there is a second option for Iran to try and attack the Israelis without nuclear weapons and without firing a single missile from Iran.

Hezbollah is now reported to have approximately 30,000-40,000 rockets and missiles with varying ranges in its arsenal aimed at Israeli targets. No one knows how many thousands of missiles Syria has which are pointed at the Israelis. Hamas has been working vigorously to smuggle hi-tech missiles and rockets from Iran into Gaza. Let’s consider what could happen if the Iranians give their proxies in Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, Syria and Gaza the order to “strike first” with an opening salvo of many thousands of missiles and rockets simultaneously fired at every strategic target and population center in Israel.

The first link below reports that every part of Israeli territory can now be reached by missiles in the hands of Iranian proxies located on Israel’s borders. It cites Hezbollah’s leader as stating that “he could hit any and every place in Israel with long-range missiles.” This would include Israel’s airports, its seaports and power plants, its water plants, its cities, the nuclear reactor at Dimona, etc. The article notes that Iran’s “Ahmadinejad has quietly been arming his chief terrorist proxy with more advanced conventional weapons.” The second link cites Israeli sources in confirming this enhanced danger re: the range of Hezbollah’s new missiles. The dangers of such a concentrated missile attack to Israel’s northern cities would be great. The article mentions the northern cities of Tiberias and Kiryat Shmona, and this has a personal meaning to me as I’ve been in both these cities. Indeed, I stood at the Israeli-Lebanese military border fence and looked northward into Lebanon in August, 2000. Also, if Hamas has even a few smuggled hi-tech Iranian missiles in its weapons inventory, it is a very short distance from Gaza to Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona. If Israel’s Dimona reactor were hit, it could be just as big a success for Iran as a radioactive “dirty bomb” explosion by a terrorist attack inside Israel.

The Israelis are well-aware of these dangers, and are taking many actions to protect their cities, military bases and people. Israel is developing an “Iron Dome” system to deploy the weaponry to shoot down several kinds of missiles and rockets that could  be fired against them, but it is not yet ready. The third link explains the “Iron Dome” system, and asserts that Israel is “working day and night to make it operational by the first half of 2010.” I hope they succeed in their goal, but I’m sure Hezbollah and Iran also read all such public information. What if Iran decides to respond by ordering its proxies to open fire on Israel before Israel’s Iron Dome system can be deployed?

The Israelis are also considering the deployment of the American Phalanx point-defense system to shoot down incoming missiles and rockets as well, as is detailed in the fourth link below, and the Israelis are, no doubt, also working on missile defense options that they are not publicly discussing. The second link also reports that Israel’s entire civilian population has been actively prepared to understand how to seek shelters in the event of a massive rocket attack vs. the Israelis.

So, as you read the media stories about Iran patiently waiting to be attacked first by an oft-delayed Israeli or American air strike, please remember that a major Mideast War could just as easily be initiated by Iran as well. All it would take is for Iranian leaders to contact their Hezbollah, Hamas and Syrian proxies and give them the time and date on which to “open fire.” I’m not predicting this will occur, but I’m pointing out it could now happen at any time. If it does take place, I expect the Israeli response to be more lethal and powerful than any thing they have done in any previous war.