L’option nucléaire d’Israël en Iran

LOS ANGELES – L’ancien président George W. Bush révèle dans ses mémoires, publiées récemment, qu’il avait refusé d’accéder à une requête israélienne pour détruire le réacteur nucléaire secret de la Syrie au printemps 2007. Cette révélation pourrait n’être qu’une note historique de bas de page, mais elle soulève plus profondément des incertitudes quant à savoir si Israël estime aujourd’hui pouvoir compter sur les Etats-Unis pour opposer la force militaire au programme nucléaire de l’Iran en cas d’un échec de la diplomatie. L’épisode syrien suggère plutôt le contraire, ce qui signifie qu’Israël pourrait décider de jouer cavalier seul une fois encore, cette fois pour éliminer les installations nucléaires de l’Iran.

Si Israël s’exécutait, cependant, il se retrouverait confronté à une énigme. Contrairement à l’attaque sur les installations nucléaires de la Syrie, les forces conventionnelles israéliennes n’ont pas la capacité de détruire les installations suspectes de l’Iran. Certaines parties du programme nucléaire iranien pourraient être trop lourdement protégées, dispersées, ou dissimulées. Ceci donne à réfléchir sur ce refrain répété à l’envi par Israël selon lequel « toutes les options sont sur la table, » impliquant que même une attaque nucléaire serait envisageable. L’histoire nucléaire d’Israël ne donne aucune indication claire, mais l’avenir pourrait précipiter les choses.

Israël n’a jamais reconnu posséder l’arme nucléaire, encore moins la taille et l’ampleur de son arsenal. Les dirigeants israéliens refusent d’aborder le sujet. Le parlement israélien, la Knesset, ne débat jamais de programme ni ne vote de budget en la matière. Les censeurs militaires empêchent tout débat public à ce propos.

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