The United States could launch an attack on Iraq as early as next week, should Turkey allow the deployment of US troops on its soil, a senior Israeli intelligence officer estimated on Tuesday.
"If the United States is allowed to deploy its forces in Turkey,the attack in Iraq could open on any given day, beginning next week. ... Without Turkish approval, the United States could postpone the war until April or May," Major General Aharon Ze'evi told Israel TV.
Early on Tuesday, Ze'evi told the Knesset (parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that there was little chance that Iraq would attack Israel ahead of the US-led war, and that Iraq's ability to attack Israel would also be low during the war.
According to Ze'evi, Iraq has not deployed missiles in western Iraq, where most analysts believe Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's army would direct missile launchers toward Israel.
Ze'evi also estimated that the radical Lebanese Islamic group Hezbollah, or Party of God, and radical Palestinian groups would refrain from intensifying attacks against Israel in the Iraqi war out of fear of a US response.
Last Saturday, the Turkish parliament voted on the government's controversial decision to allow the deployment of 62,000 US troops on the Turkish soil to launch a possible military strike against neighboring Iraq.
Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc announced after the voting that the motion was rejected as absolute majority was not reached.