US warns Israel off pre-emptive strike on Iran

Julian Borger
guardian.co.uk

US military commanders have warned their Israeli counterparts that any action against Iran would severely limit the ability of American forces in the region to mount their own operations against the Iranian nuclear programme by cutting off vital logistical support from Gulf Arab allies.

US naval, air and ground forces are dependent for bases, refuelling and supplies on Gulf Arab rulers who are deeply concerned about the progress Iran has made in its nuclear programme, but also about the rising challenge to their regimes posed by the Arab spring and the galvanising impact on popular unrest of an Israeli attack on Iran.

The US Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain and the US air force has major bases in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Senior US officers believe the one case in which they could not rely fully on those bases for military operations against Iranian installations would be if Israel acted first.

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