On the day Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched her maiden voyage to Israel in her new pivotal role in American foreign policy, the Middle East Newsline confirmed Israel’s top military brass have begun examining the contingency that Israel could potentially face an Iranian threat without any American help.
The Israeli military’s General Staff has drafted studies to determine the feasibility of an Israeli strike on Iran and Syria. These studies assume that Israel would act alone in a multi-front war directed by Iran.
“An ‘Axis of Evil’ coordinated between Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas will require Israel to wage a campaign against it that will require our best efforts and abilities,” Israel Navy commander Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom said on Feb. 22.
These military plans reflect an assessment by the Israeli intelligence community that the United States would not confront Iran and Syria, regardless of their threat to the region. The contingency assessment envisions that President Barack Obama would suspend sanctions against Iran and Syria as part of a new U.S. reconciliation policy with Damascus and Tehran.
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“Israel will take no option off the table,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Israeli Cabinet on Feb. 22.
At this point, the Israeli General Staff has been divided over the feasibility of any attack on Iran without U.S. assistance. Several Israeli generals, including Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, remain skeptical over Israel’s military capability to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.
The Israeli military has assessed that Iran could direct Hezbollah and its Palestinian allies to escalate attacks against Israel from Lebanon. Declassified Israeli intelligence reports assert that Hezbollah was being equipped and trained for a war with Israel that could include Syria.
In any war with Tehran or its proxies, Israel’s military planners assess that its bases would be leading targets of Iranian and Syrian missile attacks. The Israeli military has established a unit in the General Staff to ensure the protection of these bases.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org