Israel is negotiating with the United States for
permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear
facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli
war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli
military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.
senior Israeli defence official said negotiations were now underway
between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide
an "air corridor" in the event of the Israeli government deciding on
unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear
"We are planning for every eventuality,
and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important," said the
official, who asked not to be named.
"The only way
to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space. If we don't sort
these issues out now we could have a situation where American and
Israeli war planes start shooting at each other."
Iran continues to defy UN demands to stop producing material which
could be used to build a nuclear bomb, Israel's military establishment
is moving on to a war footing, with preparations now well under way for
the Jewish state to launch air strikes against Teheran if diplomatic
efforts fail to resolve the crisis.
The pace of
military planning in Israel has accelerated markedly since the start of
this year after Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, provided a
stark intelligence assessment that Iran, given the current rate of
progress being made on its uranium enrichment programme, could have
enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead by 2009.
week Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, announced that he had
persuaded Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad for the past six years and one
of Israel's leading experts on Iran's nuclear programme, to defer his
retirement until at least the end of next year.
Olmert has also given overall control of the military aspects of the
Iran issue to Eliezer Shkedi, the head of the Israeli Air Force and a
former F-16 fighter pilot.
community will increase the pressure on Iran when senior officials from
the five permanent of the United Nations Security Council and Germany
meet at an emergency summit to be held in London on Monday.
ignored a UN deadline of last Wednesday to halt uranium enrichment.
Officials will discuss arms controls and whether to cut back on the $25
billion-worth of export credits which are used by European companies to
trade with Iran.
A high-ranking British source said: "There is a debate within the six countries on sanctions and economic measures."
officials insist that this "incremental" approach of tightening the
pressure on Iran is starting to turn opinion within Iran. One source
said: "We are on the right track. There is time for diplomacy to take