“Israel’s proven capacity to simultaneously perform multiple missions is about to be challenged as never before,’ said Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday, Sept. 26, during a New Year’s toast at the IDF General Staff forumThe prime minister and defense minister went on to say:
“Hitherto we have navigated affairs boldly and responsibly in several arenas, at times simultaneously, but not so far in a comprehensive confrontation.”
Netanyahu has never referred to all-out war as a distinct possibility, only as an outcome to be averted by “bold and responsible” navigation on several fronts.
DEBKAfile accounts for this change of tone by the events building up in the last two weeks. The effort to arrange a summit between the American and Iranian presidents at the UN fell flat, and Iran knows that even harsher US sanctions are therefore in store, including a ban on the Chinese vessels that are breaking the embargo on its oil sales. Tehran has furthermore counted its Sept. 14 cruise missile-drone attack on Saudi oil infrastructure a major success; it does not hide its intention to follow up with more devastating strikes against America’s regional allies.
The Trump administration’s decision not to go to war with Iran leaves the ayatollahs’ regime a free hand to try and smash the military-intelligence alliance binding Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel. The dominant view in the IDF General Staff forum is that the Iranians will not pass up this opportunity. What Israel’s strategists are trying to decide at this moment therefore is whether the IDF should wait for the blows to fall on the Gulf emirate and Israel – in whatever order – or pursue pre-emptive action. In either case, total war appears to be unavoidable.