By Oded Tira
If they don’t opt to attack the Iranian nuke now, then the weapons transfer to Hezbollah – both to Lebanon and in Syria – should be attacked in a determined and absolute manner. And if Syria retaliates by firing at Israeli cities, the strategic missile stockpile in the scene should be destroyed, and Assad – brought down.
Translated by Viktoria Lymar
Edited by Steven Stenzler
5 June 2013
Tehran leaders are exploiting the Syrian arena to strengthen their standing against Israel. Upon evaluating the situation, I would recommend to strike the Iranian nuke.
[Prime Minister] Netanyahu and [Defense Minister] Ya'alon are running an ever more multipolar and complex evaluation of the situation. I’ll try to analyze the system and reach operational conclusions. The analysis will be in three planes: the leading level will be the Israeli-Syrian one, which will be added by Hezbollah and the Iranian issue. The Israeli-Syrian section consists of two basic questions: Do the Syrians estimate that Israel wants the Assad regime to fall?
If Assad assesses that Israel wants and can cause his downfall – he will refrain, solely in accordance with his position, from responding to the Israeli attack on the transfer of weapons and missiles to Hezbollah; if Assad appraises that Jerusalem does not want the fall of his regime – then he’ll rate that he has a broader freedom of action to hit the heartland of the State of Israel.
The second slice is Israel-Hezbollah. Israel is obligated to act against transferring arms to Hezbollah – both to Lebanon and inside Syria. Hezbollah leaders want to take advantage of the war in Syria to acquire ‘‘game-changer” weapons. They must have it [in anticipation] for two possible states of affairs: one – that Assad would continue to rule under this or that influence, and the second – that Assad would fall, and his absence on the stage is to weaken them greatly.
Their preference is of course that Assad stay. If Israel strikes the weapons handover to Hezbollah, the Shiite organization will tend not to cause the overthrow of Assad by a response like massive shelling towards Israel. However, Hezbollah understands that were Assad to fall, its dependence on Iran will increase. Therefore, it is to be assumed that the degree of reaction to the Israeli fire against arms transfers will depend largely on the orders Hezbollah is going to receive from Iran.
All the Scenarios
And here we’re getting to the Israel-Iran cross-section. Both countries are considering their moves in view of the campaign in Syria, yet also and especially to the extent of its impact on the primary campaign – the Iranian nuclear project. Israel must show consistency and resolve, and it should as well respect its [own] warnings against Syria and Iran. It should avoid exposing its weapons systems that are designed for war with Iran.
The Iranians see Syria as an ally to be sustained no matter what. However, if Iran assesses that Assad is about to fall, it will make use of the Syrian arena in order to strengthen its standing in the struggle against Israel on the nuclear program; for example, by dragging Israel into a total war based on an estimation that Israel won’t be able to enter into two successive wars – against Syria and then against Iran – within a relatively short time window.
In this case, Iran is likely to instruct its allies in Syria to respond harshly to another Israeli raid and deteriorate the region to war. This is even contrary to Assad's stance, who would fear for his fate in his appraisal that Israel may knock him down at the beginning of the war. Another possibility is that the Iranians will convince the Syrians to go for an all-out war against Israel, which might help the temporary Islamic axis rally against the common Zionist enemy.
Although we’re talking only of a few of the considerations, the key to what is going to happen after more Israeli strikes on targets in Syria depends mainly on the Iranian assessment of the likelihood of the tyrant to survive and Assad’s assessment of Israel’s ability to topple his rule. My estimate is that Assad believes we can take him down, and the Iranians still think he will survive. Thus, there exists a high probability that the Syrians won’t react to Israeli assaults in a way that will lead to a war – nonetheless, this is not certain and the risk is great.
If I was asked, my recommendation to Netanyahu and Ya'alon would be to attack the Iranian nuke today. If they don’t opt to do so, then the weapons transfer to Hezbollah – both to Lebanon and in Syria – should be attacked in a determined and absolute manner. And if Syria retaliates by firing at Israeli cities, the strategic missile stockpile in the scene should be destroyed, and Assad – brought down. By so doing, we’ll create a deterrent against Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, and will have to later on ‘‘manage” Arab terrorism from Syria, and to some extent also from Lebanon, when it is devoid of strategic missiles. After such moves, our deterrence status against Iran will be enhanced.
The author is Brigadier General (Res.)
Original Hebrew article:
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