Israel Presses the Case Against Iran, But Not for War

(New York Times) David M. Halbfinger - Israel has been providing Washington with intelligence about potential Iranian attacks. But analysts and former Israeli military and intelligence officials say the Israeli government is not angling for a full-blown war between the U.S. and Iran. "Nobody thinks about regime change militarily, but to weaken the regime, to weaken the Iranian economy, and to make the people of Iran change the regime - this is, I think, the ultimate goal," said Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence who runs the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. "Another very positive result is a better agreement." In meetings in Washington and Tel Aviv in the past few weeks, Israeli intelligence warned the U.S. that Iran or its proxies were planning to strike American targets in Iraq, a senior Middle Eastern intelligence official said. Israel also warned of Iranian attacks against American allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Israeli experts say Iran was behind the sabotage of four oil tankers off the port of Jubairah in the UAE and drone strikes on a Saudi oil pipeline. "The Iranians' motto is, if you're going to prohibit exporting our oil, and get our production and exports down to half a million barrels a day or less, which is an economic catastrophe for Iran, then we will interfere with the oil exports of other people," said Ehud Yaari, an Israel-based fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Former Israeli national security adviser Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said of the two episodes, "They are testing the Americans, no question." "If the Americans now act like nothing happened - 'Iran didn't spit on us, it's only rain' - it's catastrophic, because it's saying to the Iranians, 'We won't interfere.'"

2019-05-17 00:00:00

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