Home Front Command drill 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
There are too many signals to ignore the possibility that war might be looming
on the horizon.
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On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared
that leaders are tested by their ability to make decisions that might be
unpopular among their own people and around the world.
While a possible
Israeli strike against Iran was not specifically mentioned, Netanyahu’s speech
over the grave of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion came just two days
after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke out against Israeli unilateral
As Netanyahu spoke, Syria launched a Scud B missile.
not the most sophisticated missile in its arsenal, the Scud was detected by
Israeli radars, which tracked its trajectory and flight path. It was also
noticed by the Israeli intelligence community, which understood President Bashar
Assad’s message that he still controls his missiles and could use them against
Israel or other Western targets if they try to topple his regime.
came Netanyahu’s decision to hold Likud primaries by the end of January. The
move, which came as a surprise, is Netanyahu’s way of reaffirming his leadership
and support among his constituents.
This way, if he were to decide at a
later date to attack Iran, he would be able to say that he did so as the
uncontested leader of the country, or at least of Likud.
there is the Home Front Command exercise being held on Tuesday in the North and
will simulate a chemical missile attack. The drill is part of the command’s
annual training regimen but is also part of a series of exercises, like the one
held last week to simulate a biological attack and the one that will be held
next month to simulate a radioactive dirty bomb attack.
When will this
war take place? No one knows yet.
While the press has been full of
headlines in recent weeks about a possible Israeli strike against Iran, the
cabinet has yet to make such a decision.
Contrary to what has been
reported, the differences between the ministers is not over the extent or
gravity of the threat – all agree Iran needs to be stopped – but rather when the
right time would be for Israeli action.
Some, like Netanyahu and Defense
Minister Ehud Barak, appear to be arguing that time is against us due to Iranian
efforts to harden and disperse their facilities. Others, like Vice Prime
Minister Moshe Ya’alon and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, believe there is time
at least until we know for certain that Iran is building the bomb.
possibility of an Israeli strike against Iran has always been on the table and
while it was occasionally discussed over the years, in today’s global political
climate, every comment, every exercise and every political move can be
interpreted as being part of the a larger Iranian-connected plot.
mysterious explosions that rocked the Iranian missile base
near Tehran last
month and the Isfahan nuclear facility
are part of the covert war the West is
waging against Iran. Even if the explosions were not caused by sabotage, the
general atmosphere in Iran is one of suspicion and fear, particularly among
scientists who are involved in the country’s missile and nuclear
That is why even if Israel was not behind the bombings, it has
no interest in making this publicly known since it is in its interest for the
Iranians to think their program is vulnerable and can be infiltrated.
combination of these bombings, together with the beating of war drums by
Netanyahu and the new round of sanctions being imposed by the West are all part
of the general effort to get the Iranians to rethink their current course of
The problem is that all assessments in Israel are that without
sanctions on the Iranian energy sector it is skeptical that the Islamic regime
will stop its program no matter how hard the sanctions are and how isolated
Tehran becomes around the world.
In the meantime though, Iran and its
ally, Syria, are showing the world there is a price for trying to interfere in
their affairs. The launching of the Scud combined with the takeover of the
British Embassy in Tehran last week is their way of explaining to the world that
the covert war against them will not go unanswered.