Changing Mideast matrix convinces Iran, Israel that war is inevitable

FPI / October 28, 2019

Excerpts from analysis by Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs

Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Oct. 10 at the memorial for the fatalities of the October 1973 War. He strongly hinted of the possibility of both an Israeli preemptive military strike against Iran and the specter of a major protracted regional war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

This was not the first time in recent days that Netanyahu had raised the specter of a war with Iran, including the prospect of Israeli preemption.

The difference in emphasis on Israel’s determination to act alone, audaciously and proactively, stems from two major developments. Official Jerusalem did not conceal its disappointment about the U.S. military abandonment of Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, coming on the heels of the U.S. inaction in the Persian Gulf.

Netanyahu noted: “The current focus of aggression in the Middle East is the Iranian regime in Tehran. Iran is striving to tighten its grip on Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and the Gaza Strip. It is constantly arming its metastases with dangerous weapons and is attacking freedom of navigation in international shipping routes. It downed a big U.S. UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle], it launched a crude and unprecedented attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, it repeatedly exceeds its own arrogance. … Iran threatens to wipe us off the map. It says explicitly: ‘Israel will disappear’. Time and time again, it tries to attack us, so we must stand ready to protect ourselves from the danger.”

Whenever Israel is challenged and its security is threatened, Netanyahu asserted, “we always remember and apply the basic rule that guides us: Israel will defend itself, on its own, in the face of every threat. The IDF [Israel Defense Force] is prepared to preempt any threat, defensively and offensively, with its overwhelming power in weaponry and in spirit.”

Naftali Bennett eloquently summed up the Israeli quandary: “Israel will ALWAYS defend itself by itself. The Jewish State will never put its fate in the hands of others, including our great friend, the U.S.A.”

Israel now has to face the possibility of being left alone to confront a rising and assertive Iran.

Unmentioned by Netanyahu and others in public were the most recent changes in Iranian doctrine and regional strategy which saw unprecedented emphasis being put on the destruction of Israel by both Iran and its myriad of proxies.

On Oct. 1, Teheran articulated authoritatively and in detail its assertive new regional doctrine in a specially-convened High Council of the Commanders of the IRGC. Virtually all the most senior IRGC commanders attended to discuss the next phase of the struggle for the greater Middle East, including the confrontation with the U.S.

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