image Photo: Flash90

Israel prepares for conflict with Iran

The defense establishment in Jerusalem identifies negative trends in Iran which could force a preemptive military response.

By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confidently asserted that the Israeli Defense Forces have made qualitative strides far beyond those of the nation’s adversaries despite any military advancements of their own.

“Israel has opened a gap against all of our enemies, and it has done so with a combination of human intelligence and artificial intelligence,” stated the Premier following a visit to an undisclosed IDF base.

“I leave very encouraged.. What I saw here is that the future is already here today – so let all of our enemies know – we are far ahead of you,” he proclaimed.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made a separate visit to one of the Israel Air Force (IAF) bases in the south, where he received a comprehensive update about the remarkable achievements during the recent Operation Shield and Arrow with Gaza.

“I can tell the Air Force Servicemembers, IDF troops and the people of Israel that we have in whom to trust. This Military Brach is genuinely qualitative, both its servicemembers and technologically speaking, and this combination, together with our excellent intelligence branch which brought about the wanted results during Operation Shield and Arrow,” he said.

Even though the IAF operational activity was impressive to behold, Jerusalem’s top defense official emphasized that the servicemen and women must be ready to contend with the Islamic Republic of Iran during a potential full-scale multi-front conflict with Iran at any given moment.

“While you successfully executed your missions in a qualitative fashion in Operation Shield and Arrow, our main goal is to prepare for a more complicated, harder and more significant mission, for which you must be prepared at any given moment,” he stressed.

While there appears to be a clear rise in Israeli rhetoric regarding prospects of wider escalation, IDF Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi highlighted the Israeli military’s readiness to preemptively strike Iran.

“Israel will not conduct itself in a multi-front war in the same manner in which it managed conflict against one sector,” he said, adding, “We have very powerful capabilities that include many powerful tools, and when a multi-sector war versus three or five actors emerges, our use of force will be substantially higher and very sharp, because such a scenario will be more complicated, and this matter will be a fundamental change in preparations for such a conflict.”

Among the various scenarios cited by Israel’s top military commander involves the strongest of Iranian-proxies, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah. He did, however, emphasize that the terror group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has clearly been avoiding any open conflict over fear it would be overwhelmed by the IDF.

Hezbollah is very deterred from an all-out war against Israel. Nasrallah thinks that he understands the way we think, which causes him to dare to challenge us in areas where he is convinced that it won’t lead to war,” he said, explaining that such a presumption can lead to “surprises when the time deems necessary.”

Even though Israel’s defense of the northern front further improves on a daily basis, the IDF Chief noted that the Home From command would be able to contend with difficulties incurred by a military campaign in the area. By comparison, “in Lebanon it will be difficult seven-fold, and for Hezbollah it will be even worse,” he warned, adding that that the current economic situation in the Arab Republic would make it very hard o rehabilitate itself after such a war with Israel.

Another actor that is likely to inevitably be drawn into a potential multi sector war is Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad has long permitted Iranian forces to exploit the territory as a launching site to wage attacks against Israel.

“In recent months there has been a phenomenon in the region in which countries are getting closer to Iran. I don’t think that this emanates from these countries trusting Iran or truly aspiring for a peace treaty, nor do they believe that this is viable. I think that this is rooted in efforts to alleviate tensions in the region and to try avoiding greater conflicts – a choice of countries,” said the Israeli General, while pointing out that every country that allied itself with Iran has ultimately turned into a failed state without a future.

General Halevi went on to note a clear regional trend in which the pragmatic Arab camp is getting closer to Iran. Nevertheless, he stressed that this trend of rapprochement is artificial.

The Ayatollah regime is fundamentally hostile against the West as a whole and the presence of its values and norms in this region that appears to be rising within context of a rapid intensification of global competitions – including between the United States and China, said the IDF Chief of General Staff.

“When we observe the global powers, we can see an intensifying competition especially between the United States and China. We can observe China keenly enhancing its footprint in our region, in a more substantive manner. When we look at our neighborhood, we observe Iran – which isn’t a power, but rather a large country” that is “engaged in a competition of civilizations,” he asserted.

Affirming the US as Israel’s most important strategic ally, Gen. Halevi nevertheless vowed that the Jewish State “must build and know how to take matters into its own hands, while we also want partners which are stronger than us – including the United States in particular.”

While Israel continues to prepare for what senior American officials have described to TV7 as “an inevitable clash with Iran,” the Islamic Republic is seemingly making every effort to bolster its failing economy by seeking additional avenues of income. The latest country to secure a bilateral economic cooperation, known as a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), with the Ayatollah regime is Indonesia.

During festive ceremony in the city of Bogor hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi defiantly declared that “enemy threats and sanctions” would not prevent Iranian development in the economic, science and technology sectors, or the prioritizing of strengthened ties with neighboring countries and Islamic states who share the “same views.”