A former top adviser to US President Barack Obama is calling on Washington to provide bunker-busting B-52 bombers to Israel as a means of bolstering Israeli deterrence and the credibility of its so-called military option should Iran opt out of commitments codified in Tuesday’s deal with world powers.
“To have a credible military option, it’s not enough to say all options are on the table. We have to be much more blunt,” said Ambassador Dennis Ross, a longtime diplomat and former special adviser to Obama on Iran.
In an interview Thursday, Ross said he favors the transfer of an unspecified quantity of B-52 Stratofortress bombers outfitted to deliver 30,000-pound GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators as one of the means of shoring up deterrence vis a vis Iran.
“Deterrence becomes a very important question as we move toward implementation,” Ross told Defense News of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed July 14 in Vienna.
“The life of the deal in terms of threshold status is for 15 years, after which it legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state … So sometime before year 15, the Israelis should have this capability,” he said.
He noted that in the nearer term, Israeli pilots could start training in the United States and working jointly toward receipt of the new capabilities.
Ross’ remarks were the first time he or any other member of Obama’s inner circle publicly endorsed an idea bandied about for years as a means of fortifying Israel’s legally mandated Qualitative Military Edge (QME).