Introduction — August 6, 2013
While the U.S. may be reluctant to use military force against Iran, particularly after its unconvincing military performance against less formidable opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan; the fact remains that although Israel may be able to initiate a unilateral strike against Iran it’s unlikely to be able to follow through without US help.
After arms embargoes were imposed during the Iran-Iraq War Tehran made a point of developing its own defence industry, with some success.
In recent years it has developed and fielded a wide range weapons and military equipment that in some cases is on par with some of the most sophisticated Western military hardware. Although the Western media has tried to play down the extent of Iran’s development, its seizing control of one of America’s most advanced drone’s from its US operators is clear evidence of the level Iran’s of technical accomplishment.
In terms of military technology, it has far more sophisticated hardware at its disposal than either Iraq or Afghanistan. Both of these conflicts proved difficult enough for the U.S., yet Iran would present a far more formidable challenge and the White House knows it.
Hence Obama’s apparent hesitation in confronting Iran with anything more forceful than drones, embargoes and sanctions.
Apart from its home built jet fighters, radar systems, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, submarines and naval frigates, Iran also has a wide range of medium range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles which would wreak havoc on Israel should it decide to attack.
Meaning that if Israel starts a conflict with Iran it may not be able to finish it, at least not without U.S. help.
Hence the comments reported below may be aimed at nudging the U.S. into a more aggressive posture. Failing that, Israel maybe contemplating such a strike but using the statements below to gauge the likely speed and forcefulness of the U.S. response.
For the U.S. is legally bound to come to Israel’s defence if it is attacked, as it would be if it launched a unilateral strike on Iran. However, how much damage Israel would sustain from Iran’s counter-strikes would depend on how quickly the U.S. responded and how extensively.
Would the U.S launch massive air strikes to take out all Iran’s surface-to-surface missiles for example? If it chose that option it might take days or even weeks to destroy all Iran’s surface-to-surface missiles. Leaving Israel potentially vulnerable to many more Iranian missile strikes before U.S. bombers completed the task.
Or would Washington decide to launch limited nuclear strikes on Iran? This isn’t as outlandish as it might sound, particularly if Israel could somehow convince the U.S. that Iran was preparing to use a nuclear weapon.
If that were to happen Russia and China would likely step in alongside Iran and we would be confronted with a world war.
I know I’ve covered this topic before and it’s one I will almost certainly return to. Not only because of the more obvious mundane indications but because as a trusted ‘sensitive’ friend keeps repeating: it’s not a question of if but when war erupts with Iran and when it does Russia will step in with devastating consequences for the U.S. and Israel.
Official: Israel capable of unilateral strike on Iran, if US not committed
JPost.com — August 6, 2013
Israel is capable of carrying out a unilateral military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities without operational support from the United States, a senior Israeli official said to Israel Radio on Tuesday morning.
Although, such a strike would render less effective than one conducted by America, the unidentified official said.
The diplomatic official doubted US intentions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons at all costs.
American conduct regarding Syria, contrary to declarations by President Barack Obama, shows Israel that it cannot rely on US assurances, the Israeli source said.
Israel fears the development of direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran would ease sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for concessions, and would not satisfy the requirements imposed by Israel, the unnamed official added.
Jerusalem and Washington differed on Sunday over the significance of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration, with Washington ready to work with Iran and Jerusalem warning that the new regime – like the old – is a threat to world peace.
The US hoped the new Iranian government would “heed the will of the voters by making choices that will lead to a better life for the Iranian people,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement shortly after Rouhani was sworn in.
This conciliatory tone was at odds with the tone coming from Jerusalem, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu again urged the world not to be “taken in” by Rouhani’s perceived moderation.
“On Friday, the Iranian president said that Israel ‘has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world,’” Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting.
“The president of Iran has been replaced, but the goal of the regime has not been replaced, it remains as it was,” he continued. “Iran’s intention is to develop a nuclear capability and nuclear weapons in order to destroy the State of Israel, and this constitutes a danger not only to us and the Middle East, but the entire world, and we are all committed to prevent this.”
Michael Wilner and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.