Robert D. Kaplan has an interesting analysis of that possible attack many are speculating to occur between the election and the inauguration of the next president:
There is a problem, though. Violating, say, Jordanian or Turkish airspace is not really the issue. The issue is that largely because of the on-going Iraq war, the U. S. controls the airspace over the entry points to Iran: in Iraq and in the Persian Gulf. Thus, an Israeli attack on Iran could probably only happen with U. S. connivance. And even if Israel could evade American sensors, few would believe that it honestly did so. As a sort of a last hurrah, one might speculate that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney would let Israel bomb Iran with a wink and a nod. But I do not believe that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would do so. And because Gates has emerged as such a critical cabinet member, beloved by both the Pentagon staff and by the media, his word would be crucial.
Gates has shepherded Iraq from nearly a lost cause to a cause that might yet be salvaged. And an Israeli attack on Iran, precisely because it could not occur without both the fact and the appearance of U. S. support, could unleash a fury of Iran-supported bombings inside Iraq. No, Gates would not be on board for an Israeli strike.
I have no knowledge of the extent of Kaplan’s knowledge, but some have already floated the idea of Gates staying on for an Obama administration.