Israel Prepares to Fight Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran
Preparations are also underway for possible preemptive strikes against Iran itself in order to end its nuclear weapons program.
Israeli military commanders and intelligence analysts are increasingly convinced that Iran is masterminding a plan for a multifront assault on the Jewish state, which could commence early next year.
A sense of deadly encirclement grows stronger by the day in Israel, following its failure to defeat Hezbollah in the summer war and deepening ties between Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Shiite non-Arab Iran. Formidable military buildups by the Sunni Palestinian movement, which now boasts a 10,000-man army in Gaza, and Shiite Lebanese Hezbollah, which is steadily receiving Iranian arms through Syria, are considered clear indications of a coming conflict. Both groups are expected to hide behind civilian human shields and to use civilian homes and apartment buildings, and mosques, schools, and hospitals as operational bases and to increase the chances of civilian casualties for purposes of stimulating support and sympathy abroad.
Amid attempts to seize control of war-torn Lebanon, Iran’s proxy is likely to trigger hostilities by firing antiaircraft missiles–under United Nations cover–at overflying Israeli military planes. Hostilities could escalate quickly and sharply once the shooting starts.
There is a growing consensus in Israel that the international community is ignoring the seriousness of the Iranian threat–to Israel and the West. The report by the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by a notoriously anti-Israel former United States Secretary of State, James Baker, reinforces the impression. The bipartisan, Congressionally funded panel recommended direct talks with Iran and Syria to defuse the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict and stabilize the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq. This is codespeak, say Israelis, for appeasing Iran and Syria by ramming a comprehensive land-for-peace pact down Israel’s throat. Israelis fear appeasement of Iran will lead not to peace, but, at best, to the piece-by-piece dismantling of their country, and, at worst, to falling victim to a surprise attack resulting in a catastrophic defeat.
We agree with the Israeli assessment. In fact, Western denial of the Iranian threat dates to the months preceding the overthrow of the pro-US Shah, when the Carter administration dumped America’s ally and old friend in a craven attempt to curry favor with his emboldened enemy, an Islamist-Left alliance led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Weeks before the January 1979 revolution, this reporter repeatedly predicted–on the front page of an influential American weekly publication–that the Ayatollah would establish a terribly repressive and fanatically anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel regime resembling a kind of clerical fascism.
Which, unfortunately, is exactly what happened.
But the nuclear issue–Iran’s development of nuclear weapons under the guise of civilian energy research–raises the Islamist threat to a new and terrifying level. Whereas the mullahocracy has from its inception used the Palestinian issue as a rallying flag and tool for spreading Iranian influence in the region, it now regards the liberation of Palestine–meaning, the annihilation of Israel–as a strategic objective. This is why the regime’s embrace of neo-Nazi Holocaust denial is so significant: Iran is preparing the ground, ideologically and philosophically, for Israel’s extinction.
Not to say that Iran necessarily intends to fire nuclear-tipped missiles at Tel Aviv. Tehran’s plot to wipe Israel off the map, in the words of Iranian monster-in-chief Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could involve coordinated Hamas and Hezbollah assaults, augmented by Syrian conventional and chemical attacks and conventional long-range Iranian missile strikes. Use of nuclear weapons could be deemed too risky by Iran, inviting sure-fire retaliatory strikes from the Jewish state, which is assumed to have 200 or more nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them accurately to distant targets.
While direct Iranian nuclear attacks against Israel cannot be ruled out, it is quite possible that Tehran’s present nuclear program is aimed (a) at executing an indirect nuclear attack against the Jewish state, perhaps by using Palestinian terrorists to detonate a small nuclear device or so-called radioactive dirty bomb in the heart of the country’s main population center, and/or (b) at intimidating and neutralizing Europe through the threat of nuclear war. The French understand this threat; hence, the unusually blunt warnings by French leaders that they will not hesitate to use their nuclear weapons if France is hit by a mega-terror strike.
The Iranians may even be instigating a new round of fighting in the Middle East in order to buy time for further nuclear development, as their standoff with the West is approaching the sanctions stage (though China and Russia will almost certainly prevent the imposition of truly tough sanctions involving possible use of force under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter).
Iran wants nuclear weapons for another reason: to deter the US from attacking and to drive the “Great Satan” out of the region for once and all. Iranian foreign policy is imperialist to the core in that it aims to alter the international status quo and permanently change the power relations among nations.
Iran could also be preparing for possible covert nuclear strikes against the US, as we have noted in the past, using cleverly concealed, nuclear-armed missiles atop seemingly civilian, foreign-flagged cargo ships. The US has no practical defense against an attack of this kind, which could be simultaneously launched against its coastal cities.