Why Israel Acts to Contain Iran in Syria and Lebanon

(Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies) Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaacov Amidror - The leadership of Iran is fully and genuinely committed to the perspective reflected in its public statements regarding a "holy obligation" to destroy the State of Israel. History has taught the realists among Israel's decision-makers to believe leaders who speak their minds about plans to annihilate the Jewish state. Iran is doing all it can to improve Hizbullah's capabilities to unprecedented levels. Nearly every advanced weapons system the Syrians acquired from Russia has been transferred to Hizbullah, including anti-aircraft, anti-tank, and anti-ship missiles. All of Israel's population centers are currently vulnerable to Hizbullah's arsenal of 120,000 rockets and missiles. Iran is now seeking to significantly improve the accuracy of many of these missiles, especially the heavier and longer-range ones. The destructive power to be gained by Hizbullah would constitute a threat to Israel of an entirely new magnitude. Israel, whose population is concentrated along a strip of Mediterranean shoreline less than 80 km. long, is extremely exposed to this threat. This is the reason that, if war breaks out, Israel will be compelled to act with great force, using all the means at its disposal, to swiftly neutralize Hizbullah's missile capabilities as much as possible. Many restrictions on IDF firepower would be lifted. Many thousands of Lebanese casualties will result, some of them innocent civilians, and there will be extensive devastation across Lebanon. The deal restricting Iranian nuclear activity for a decade will come to an end in about seven years, Iran will have longer-range and more precise missiles, and new centrifuges that will be 10 or 20 times more efficient than its previous ones. The Iranians seeks to create a stronger military capability under their control around Israel so that when they resume their nuclear activities, Israel will be deterred from stopping them by force. Iran aims to have Hizbullah and the forces it is building up in Syria acquire the capability of striking Israel so severely that no responsible Israeli leader would dare attack the nuclear weapons infrastructures being constructed in Iran. The writer is a former Israeli national security advisor and former director of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence.

2018-09-17 00:00:00

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