Leon Panetta, amazingly, has just said he expects an Israeli attack on Iran in April, May, or June.
This is remarkable, because if he knows something, this is sensitive information. If Iran can expect an attack at that time, they can watch and try to prepare for it. The huge tactical advantage of surprise is largely lost.
So why would Panetta do this? The only motive I can see is to make it clear it is not the US who is attacking, hence perhaps avoiding Iranian and Muslim backlash against America and American interests.
This fits with a few other recent bits of news. First, just a week or two ago, the US leaked the claim that they had no bombs that could definitely crack the Iranian bunkers, and so they were ordering an upgrade. Again, on the face of it a damaging leak that threatened US interests. But if believed, it tells Iran that the US is not planning and is not responsible for any attack in the very near future on Iranian installations.
And the third, even more disturbing, piece of evidence is the American withdrawal of all forces from Iraq just a month or so ago. Officially, this was because the US and Iran could not agree on a SOFA. But several sources have claimed the US did not try very hard. This withdrawal was against the advice of the top military brass. Again, it seems against US interests, or at least risks losing US prestige.
But it too makes sense on the premise that there is going to be a big attack on Iran soon. A small American deployment in Iraq might simply have been sitting ducks for Iranian retaliation. A large American deployment in Iraq might have trapped American into a large-scale land war with Iran.
My take is this: there will probably be a massive air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. It will be done by Israel, though America or others may help behind the scenes. America believes Iran is capable of doing a lot of damage in any counter-attack. Hence it is wisest to limit possible retaliatory targets to Israel alone.
And it will probably happen before April.
Let's watch and see.