Is Israel's Gaza Campaign Laying the Groundwork for an Attack on Iran?

(Atlantic) Moran Stern - In October a mysterious blast occurred at the Yarmouk military base on the outskirts of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Yarmouk was a base camp to receive arms shipments from Iran that were smuggled to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Satellite images indicate that the bombing of Yarmouk was executed from the air. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the only one in the region with the capabilities to execute such a strike. The operation in Sudan sent two clear messages to Tehran: First, that Israeli intelligence follows Iran's whereabouts in the region. Second, if the IAF can safely reach and destroy a target some 1,120 miles from Israel, it can make the 1,000-mile journey to Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel's Gaza operation was not aimed at destroying the Hamas regime in Gaza, but rather at paralyzing it militarily. Aside from the immediate respite it would provide Israel from rocket fire, this would also ensure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad stay out of the conflict in case Israel strikes Iran. Furthermore, the heavy exchange of fire with Gaza is an excellent opportunity for the Israeli authorities to examine the preparedness of its home front, emergency infrastructure, and defensive military capabilities. A responsive public, who closely follows the instructions of the home front authorities, is an important element in minimizing the number of potential victims in case of an Iranian strike. While it is difficult to imagine that Israel launched its current offensive primarily to gauge these factors, it certainly provides important ancillary benefits toward that end. Israel's actions also send a strong message: it is ready to act against its enemies and to bear the consequences.

2012-11-23 00:00:00

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