Talk in Israel of a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities has reached a fever pitch. Last week brought the news of an alleged “war plan” leaked to a blogger. This week, a well-informed military correspondent in Jerusalem reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “determined” to attack Iran before the U.S. election. Two weeks ago, an outgoing government minister told Israelis to prepare for a war that would last 30 days.
David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has his own contacts in the Israeli leadership. He says there’s more going on here than just war talk. “I think there’s a 50-50 chance before the U.S. election of an Israeli strike,” he says.
The alleged war plan that was recently leaked said an Israeli strike would begin with an unprecedented cyberattack designed to paralyze the Iranian regime and blind it to what was happening on its territory. The Internet, telephones, radio and television transmissions, the electrical grid would all be taken out.
That’s an attention grabber: The world has never seen a cyberattack remotely that dramatic.
John Bumgarner, chief technology officer at the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, says the plan does make sense, at least in theory: “Israel has very good cybercapabilities. Some of the best computer scientists in the world come out of the Israeli military and intelligence branch,” he says. “Some of the best cybertools that are currently used in the world come out of Israel.”
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