How Israel Deters Iran

(JNS) Evelyn Gordon - Israeli airstrikes in Syria seemed to be aimed solely at preventing Iran from establishing military infrastructure that could threaten Israel. They were also sending an important deterrent message: If Tehran attacks Israel, Jerusalem will have no qualms about striking back. They may actually make war less likely by letting Tehran know that Jerusalem - unlike Saudi Arabia - won't sit with folded hands if it suffers a significant Iranian attack like last month's strike on Saudi oil facilities. Israel is in a very different position from either Saudi Arabia or the Kurds because it has always insisted on defending itself by itself rather than expecting American soldiers to fight on its behalf. Israel has a large army equipped with the best military gear American and Israeli ingenuity can devise, combined with willingness to use it and experience in doing so. Iran isn't a superpower like the Soviet Union, which Israel had to rely on America to contain. It's a mere regional power, just like Israel. Moreover, the fact that the countries share no land border deprives Iran of its greatest advantage: its vastly bigger population, which enables it to field many more troops than Israel can. Thus any fighting between Israel and Iran itself would be limited to air and missile battles, in which the superior equipment and skills of Israel's air force provide a counterweight to Iran's advantage in missiles. Nevertheless, since an Israel-Iran war could wreak devastation on both countries, it's much better to prevent it from occurring. And that's where all those Israeli airstrikes come in. Despite Iran's willingness to engage in military provocations, it has shown no desire to risk serious military consequences on Iranian soil.

2019-10-18 00:00:00

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