Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Iran Deal Could Signify Renewed Military Option For Israel

For Israel, Iran deal could signify a renewed military option | The Times of Israel

The deal reached in Vienna on Tuesday positions Iran, while under supervision, near the edge of becoming a nuclear military power. This has several far-reaching implications for Israel’s defense establishment.

In the long term, the Israeli intelligence community will be saddled with arguably the greatest challenge in its history — to track the moves of a highly sophisticated regime, religiously devoted to playing the long game, in a country more than four times the size of Germany.

In the short term, the army believes, the threat of a sprint to the bomb is decreased, but the likelihood of an emboldened Iran bringing the ethnic and religious strife in the region to a boil – including the possibility of a Sunni bomb – is increased.
But the cash flow of hundreds of billions of dollars and the embrace of the international community, granting Iran what Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Tuesday called an “unfathomable” legitimacy, will both increase Tehran’s regional standing and enable it to more readily and lavishly fund terror organizations like Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and others.
This will aid Iran’s efforts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and will help it spread terror internationally, increasing Israel’s efforts at prevention and perhaps destabilizing some of its allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, which may pursue a bomb of its own.
The army and the other agencies will have to be braced to feel the first ripples of Iran’s triumph in the near future

Also in the long term, Israel’s intelligence agencies will be asked to fulfill a historically pivotal role. To be sure, the effort has been ongoing since the mid-1990s, when Israel first declared, to widespread international incredulity, that Iran was in pursuit of a nuclear weapon. But the clandestine game, often deadly, enters a new and more crucial phase with the signing of the deal in Vienna.

All of which boils down to the option Israel was reportedly forced to exercise in Syria in 2007, when Bashar Assad pursued a nuclear weapon – the military option.

Over the years, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has adopted a standard refrain – a mishmash of Talmudic maxims – when asked about how best to defang Iran’s nuclear threat. “The work of the righteous is done by others,” he has said repeatedly, “but if I am not for myself then who is for me?”

Internationally, there seems to be a sense of near unanimity regarding Israel’s inability to carry out a debilitating strike in Iran. Former CIA director and commander of US forces in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus practically ridiculed the notion in a recent conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg in Aspen. Patiently, as though to a group of school children, he noted that Israel lacks the 30,000-pound bomb that the US has and possesses no plane capable of carrying it. Therefore, he left unsaid, Israel has no way to thwart militarily Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
But neither did Israel have any business winning the War of Independence or the Six Day War or the battle on the tarmac in Entebbe. Furthermore, the eight F-16s that buried Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor were said to be unable to reach Iraq, over a string of enemy countries, without being noticed, and were too heavily weighted to carry enough gas to return.
The army and Mossad spy agency are far from perfect. They have known the taste of failure. But like the negotiations, which were deemed too big to fail, the implications of an Iranian bomb are too severely large to accept or contain. 

Israel’s military option may not be ideal, and it may only be worthy of execution when the knife is already cutting the flesh, as former Mossad head Meir Dagan once said, but when Ya’alon said Tuesday that, if necessary, “we will know how to protect ourselves with our own power,” one got the impression that it was not a hollow statement.

Israel probably has until around mid-December to preemptively strike Iran’s nuclear program before it gets even harder to justify legally than Tuesday’s deal has already made it.

Of course, right now diplomatically, a strike seems unthinkable with the deal representing years of work by the US, EU, China, Russia and Iran and enjoying powerful global support aside from Israel and Sunni Arab nations competing with Iran in the Middle East.

But until mid-December when the IAEA renders its “final assessment” of “all past and present outstanding issues,” as referred to in the around 150 page agreement, the UN will likely not have actually removed most sanctions.

As long as UN sanctions are in place, the legal record of Iran’s history at violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of UN resolutions and actions framing Iran as a violator and of the failure of those actions to stop Iran’s push for the bomb are still the narrative.

Why does this matter? Some say that preemptive strikes are barred by international law from the outset, as only a real-time armed attack activates the right of self-defense to attack an aggressor.Those countries, like the US and Israel, who have carried out preemptive strikes in the past largely base their actions on the concept that international law permits preemptive strike to prevent an imminent attack, even if that attack is not yet in progress.

Once preemptive strikes can be undertaken to block an imminent attack, broadening the definition of what is “imminent” to permit a strike even more in advance of a potential threat is less of a jump.

There is one other surprising provision in the deal which Israel could try to use to legally justify a preemptive strike if its intelligence services caught Iran cheating in a serious way.

Under the agreement, Iran is bound never to move down a nuclear weapons path, even beyond the life of the deal, let alone during the 10-25 years of the deal.

If Israel felt its intelligence evidence of Iranian cheating was serious enough in violating that commitment, it could try to use that to boost the legal legitimacy of a strike.

At the end of the day, some of this is very theoretical as Israel is not even a party to the deal and when it struck Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981, Israel showed a willingness to stand alone even against an angry US President Ronald Reagan.

But in an age when many see the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as a serious challenge to Israel’s legitimacy and continuity, any preemptive strike would likely take into account the best timing and circumstances to boost legality and legitimacy. 



kamum said...

It appears like some very interesting things are happening in 2015? mmm. This is a year to watch closely. Little bits and pieces in Bible prophecy are surely coming together. Let those with eyes see.

Unknown said...

That's rt kamum different eyes will see different things