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If there’s a war between US And Iran… an Arab uprising… Israel (and Jews globally) will be prepared to protect themselves.

A Golden Age for the Mossad: More Targets, More Ops, More Money
Israel’s Mossad, the second largest spy organization in the West, has grown richer and more sophisticated under Yossi Cohen.
A Golden Age for the Mossad: More Targets, More Ops, More Money
Israel’s Mossad, the second largest spy organization in the West, has grown richer and more sophisticated under Yossi Cohen.

Israel has stated it will NOT use military action, unless attacked first by Iran.
This also includes Iran’s proxy forces potentially unleashed on Israel’s borders (Hezbollah and Hamas… but also in Iraq)

The other worry is an assassination campaign on not just Israeli, but Jewish targets around the world.

This could come in any form, anywhere, at anytime (Latin America, Central Asia, Europe)… and could potentially be covertly supported by a number of regimes (Cuba? Venezuela? Turkey?)… it is a worry.
Israeli embassies, Israeli officials and high level Jewish targets,
“It would also mean assassination and bombing campaigns against Israeli government officers and civilians around the world.”

Same scenario from Arabs fighting for the Palestinian cause (‘deal of the century’)… hijackings, bombings, assassinations… like the 1970’s again.
Hezbollah hints at attacks on Israeli passenger aircraft

Russia and Israel?… … too many powerful Russian Israeli Jews that would bring the Putin Government down! 😀

Report: Israel won’t join US-Iran war unless attacked

New report says Israeli, US, officials held meeting to discuss tensions with Iran.
Arutz Sheva Staff, 20/05/19 09:18

Iran Israel confrontation

Iran Israel confrontationiStock

Israel will not join a war against Iran unless attacked by Iran or its regional proxies, Israel Hayom reported.

The site quoted an Independent Arabia report noting that Israeli security officials met with their US counterparts to discuss the recent tensions between the US and Iran and to share sensitive intelligence, including on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

At the meeting, the Israelis emphasized that their country would only join an Iran-US war if they were attacked by either Iran or its proxies.

Both the US and Iran have claimed that they are not interested in war, but tensions still run high.

On Sunday, US President Donald Trump said, “I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons — you just can’t let that happen.”

Why Israel doesn’t want an American war with Iran

by Tom Rogan | May 17, 2019 04:14 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want an American war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Yes, Netanyahu’s government would welcome the Iranian regime’s sudden implosion, but not at the price of war. To suggest otherwise is to fundamentally misunderstand Israeli security strategy.

Still, as Noah Pollak observes, America’s greatest strategic mastermind, Ben Rhodes, has joined Iranian foreign minister/troll Javad Zarif to warn that Netanyahu is desperate for a U.S.-Iran war. Predictably, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, shares this sentiment. Subscribe to our expanded print magazine for more politics, deeper culture, better access Watch Full Screen to Skip Ads

But the war worriers are only right about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The de facto Saudi ruler would be very happy to see American service personnel fighting to rid Riyadh of its ideological nemesis.

Netanyahu? Forget about it.

First off, Israeli security strategy toward Iran rests not on the pursuit of regime change, but on Iran’s constant understanding of Israeli deterrent overmatch. Israel ensures that Iran knows any critical threat it poses to Israel will lead to far greater Israeli threat to Iran. While Israel’s intelligence services act relentlessly to detect Iranian actions against Israeli interests, it’s a misnomer that those services are primarily defined by force. In fact, the Israelis tend only to employ force where they believe doing so is the only option to save lives. The vast majority of Israeli intelligence activity is focused on gaining understanding of Iranian/proxy plans, interests, and activities.

The Israelis have good reason for this balanced approach. Ultimately, the Israeli security establishment recognizes that a violent escalatory struggle with Iran carries outsize risks. Don’t believe me? Then let’s apply the notion to a U.S.-Iran war.

In such a scenario, the Israelis would face a barrage of Iranian ballistic missile strikes — possibly (although unlikely) armed with chemical agent-enabled warheads. Israeli air defenses would destroy some, but not all, of these missiles. But that’s just the start.

If Iran went to war with America, Iran’s proxies in Lebanon and elsewhere would do the same against Israel. That would mean a full-scale rocket onslaught from Lebanese Hezbollah against Israel. It would also mean assassination and bombing campaigns against Israeli government officers and civilians around the world.

It would mean bloody chaos.

Israeli governments are obligated by democratic mandate to the protection of the Israeli people and their prosperity. That makes the threat of a war with Iran so much better constrained than entertained. And this is an especially important concern in Israel, where governments rest on coalitions. While the Israeli polity would unify against Iran in a war, any unjustified effort by an Israeli prime minister to risk war with Iran would risk their government. Coalition building is rarely an easy task in Israel: Netanyahu has still not built his government following the April election.

In short, it remains a very good standing rule to believe the opposite of whatever Ben Rhodes says.

Israel vs. Russia: The Middle East War That Could Become a Nuclear Train Wreck

Yes, this could happen. by Michael Peck

As always with the Arab-Israeli (or Iranian-Israeli) conflict, the real danger isn’t the regional conflict, but how it might escalate. In the 1973 war, the Soviets threatened to send troops to Egypt unless Israel agreed to a cease-fire. The United States responded by going on nuclear alert.

Could Israeli air strikes in Syria trigger war between Israel and Russia?

(This first appeared several weeks ago.)

Israel remains determined to continue pounding Iranian forces in Syria in a bid to keep Tehran’s forces away from Israel’s northern border. At the same time, Russia has thousands of troops in Syria that could be caught in the crossfire—or even become belligerents if Moscow tires of its Syrian ally being pummeled.

And if Israel and Russia come to blows, would Israel’s big brother—the United States—feel compelled to intervene?Report Advertisement

Not that Jerusalem or Moscow are eager for such a fight. “Neither of us desire a military confrontation,” a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) official told me during a recent interview in Jerusalem. “It would be detrimental to both sides.”

Yet Israel’s policy boils down to this: it will do whatever it sees as necessary to eject Iranian forces from Syria. And if Russia doesn’t like it, then that’s just the price of ensuring that Syria doesn’t become another Iranian rocket base on Israel’s border.Report Advertisement

Relations between Jerusalem and Moscow are far warmer than during the Cold War. The result is a strange embrace reminiscent of the U.S.-Soviet detente of the 1970s. On the surface, a certain friendliness and desire for cooperation.  Yet beneath the smiles is wariness, suspicion and a clash of fundamental interests.

“No one in Israel is confused about who the Russians are and who they are aligned with,” said the IDF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The Russians are not our allies, to put it mildly. We have one ally, and that is the United States. The Russians are here for totally different objectives. They are supporting a regime [Syria] that has an outspoken goal of annihilating Israel if it only could. They are also part of a coalition that supports Iran.”

Just how easily Israeli military operations can trigger an incident became evident during a September 2018 strike on ammunition depots in western Syria. Anti-aircraft missiles launched by Syrian gunners accidentally shot down a Russian Il-20 surveillance aircraft, killing fifteen people. Israel denies Russian accusations that it deliberately used the Russian plane as cover, or failed to give Moscow sufficient warning of the raid. Yet Russia still blamed Israel for the mishap and retaliated by supplying advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

Nonetheless, Israel sees value in Russia as a potential restraint on Iran, and a possible lever to get Iranian forces out of Syria. After a February meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin to mend fences after the Il-20 incident, Israeli officials claimed Putin had agreed that foreign forces should withdraw from Syria. For Moscow, friendly relations with Israel offer more influence in the Middle East even as America may be scaling down its presence in the region.

Still, the Kremlin has denounced Israeli strikes in Syria as “illegitimate.” Syria has been a Russian ally for more than fifty years, and it was Russian air strikes—along with Iranian and Hezbollah troops—that saved Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s faltering regime from ISIS and other rebel groups. At least 63,000 Russian troops have served in Syria since 2015. Though Putin has promised since 2016 that Russian forces would withdraw, Russia currently retains more than 5,000 troops and private military contractors in Syria, backed by several dozen aircraft and helicopters.

And Russia is in Syria to stay. The Syrian port of Tartus is Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean: in 2016, Moscow and Damascus signed a forty-nine-year agreement that allows nuclear-powered Russian warships to operate from there. In addition, Russian aircraft and surface-to-air missiles, including the long-range S-400 air defense system, operate from at least two air bases in western Syria.Report Advertisement

Israel can live with the Russians next door—but not the Iranians. Israeli officials warn of Tehran’s plan to station 100,000 Iranian and allied troops in Syria. Hezbollah, with its estimated arsenal of 130,000-plus rockets, already menaces Israel’s Lebanon frontier. Syria joining Lebanon as a second Iranian rocket base is the stuff of Israeli nightmares.

“We can – and we intend to – make it as difficult as possible and inflict a price tag that the Iranians aren’t willing to pay,” the IDF official said. And the Israeli Air Force has been just doing that, attacking “Iranian and Hezbollah targets hundreds of times,” Netanyahu announced after a devastating attack on Iranian arms depots near Damascus International Airport in January.Report Advertisement

“We continue to implement our plans,” the IDF official replied when asked if Russia would deter Israeli raids into Syria. “Our activities suggest that, despite everything, we enjoy significant freedom of action.”

But more telling was his one-word response when asked how willing is Israel to fight for that freedom of action.

Willing.”

Which leaves the question: Can Israel target Iran in Syria without triggering a clash with Russia?

There are deconfliction mechanisms in place, including a hotline between the Israeli and Russian militaries. “We are very strict about informing the Russians about our activities and that their operational picture is up to date,” said the IDF official. Yet those procedures were not sufficient to avoid a downing of a Russian plane.

Perhaps that ill-fated Il-20 was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, it is not hard to imagine a multiplicity of equally fatal scenarios. Russian advisers or technicians caught in an Israeli raid on an Iranian or Syrian installation. An errant Israeli smart bomb that hits a Russian base, or a Russian pilot or anti-aircraft battery spooked by a nearby Israeli raid into opening fire. Or, perhaps Russia will just feel obligated to support the prestige of its Syrian ally and its shaky government. Just how incendiary Syrian skies are for everyone became evident in December 2017, when U.S. F-22 fighters fired flares to warn off two Russian Su-25 attack jets that breached a no-go zone in eastern Syria.

To be clear, the IDF is neither boastful nor belligerent about its capabilities versus Russia, a former superpower with the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet. The IDF official likened Israel to “The Mouse that Roared,” the classic novel of a tiny nation that challenges the United States.

But if Israel resembles any mouse, it’s Mighty Mouse: small, powerful and not afraid to use its fists. In fact, what makes a potential Israel-Russia battle so dangerous is that it is not hypothetical. After the 1967 Six-Day War, Soviet fighters were sent to Egypt. This led to a notorious July 1970 incident when in a well-planned aerial ambush over the Suez Canal, Israeli fighters shot down five Soviet-piloted MiG-21 jets in three minutes.

On the other hand, Russia doesn’t need to fight Israel to hurt Israel. Indeed, the IDF official seemed less concerned about a physical clash between Israeli and Russian forces, and more concerned that Russia could choose to supply advanced weapons—such as anti-aircraft missiles—to Israeli enemies such as Syria and Iran. In the early 1970s, the Soviet Union supplied numerous air defense missiles and guns to Egypt and Syria, which inflicted heavy losses on Israeli planes in the 1973 October War. If it wants to, Russia can make Israeli air operations very expensive.

As always with the Arab-Israeli (or Iranian-Israeli) conflict, the real danger isn’t the regional conflict, but how it might escalate. In the 1973 war, the Soviets threatened to send troops to Egypt unless Israel agreed to a cease-fire. The United States responded by going on nuclear alert.

Were the Israelis and Russians to come to blows, or if Moscow were to seriously threaten military force against Israel, could the United States risk a grave loss of prestige by not intervening to back its longtime ally? Could Russia—whose Syrian intervention is a proud symbol of its reborn military muscle and great power status—not retaliate for another downed Russian plane or a dead Russian soldier?

Which leads to the ultimate question: could tensions between Israel and Russia lead to a clash between American and Russian troops?

In the end, somebody will have to back down. But Iran isn’t about to give up its outpost on Israel’s border, and Russia probably can’t force them to. Then there is Israel, which is grimly determined to stop Iran.

As the IDF official said, “We have proven over more than 70 years as a sovereign state that you don’t push us around.”

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Israel Presses the Case Against Iran, but Not for War

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that Iran was expanding its nuclear capability in violation of its agreement.CreditJim Hollander/EPA, via Shutterstock

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that Iran was expanding its nuclear capability in violation of its agreement.CreditCreditJim Hollander/EPA, via Shutterstock

By David M. Halbfinger

  • May 16, 2019

JERUSALEM — Israel has been providing Washington with intelligence about potential Iranian attacks. Its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has made Iran’s strategic ambitions an obsession. And as recently as February he floated the idea of war with Iran.

But analysts and former Israeli military and intelligence officials say the Israeli government is not angling for a full-blown war between the United States and Iran. Such a war, Israeli officials fear, could plunge Israel into a mutually destructive conflagration with Iran’s ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

The insistent pressure on Iran, analysts said, is instead aimed at either forcing Iran to agree to a nuclear deal far stricter than the existing one, or creating conditions dire enough for fed-up Iranians to overthrow their government.

[In the Middle East, fears that the Trump administration is building a flawed case for conflict.]

“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 Amos Yadlin, a retired head of Israeli military intelligence who runs the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “Another very positive result is a better agreement.”

Israel has quietly played an instrumental role in the recently escalating tensions in the Middle East.

In meetings in Washington and Tel Aviv in the past few weeks, Israeli intelligence warned the United States 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 Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, American allies that are enemies of Iran.

The Trump administration responded to the perceived threats, bolstered by its own intelligence, by moving an American carrier strike group, B-52 bombers and a Patriot missile-defense battery to the Persian Gulf and updating the Pentagon’s war plans against Iran.The United Arab Emirates Navy escorted a Saudi oil tanker near Fujairah on Monday. Israeli experts assert that Iran was behind attacks on tankers in the area last weekend.CreditSatish Kumar/Reuters

The United Arab Emirates Navy escorted a Saudi oil tanker near Fujairah on Monday. Israeli experts assert that Iran was behind attacks on tankers in the area last weekend.CreditSatish Kumar/Reuters

The gathering clouds seemed of a piece with Mr. Netanyahu’s agenda.

He nearly took Israel to war with Iran in 2010, when he considered launching airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. He has been pushing for harsher pressure tactics against Tehran since long before the Iran nuclear deal, which he denounced as too lax, was signed in 2015.

He has worked hand in glove with the Trump administration on its strategy of applying stiff economic sanctions to force Iran back to the bargaining table.

In February, Mr. Netanyahu even said publicly that a Warsaw meeting he had attended with some Sunni Arab diplomats had been about advancing “the common interest of war with Iran.”

But if the American-Iranian confrontation did set off a full-blown conflict, or even several scenarios well short of that, Israel sits directly in the line of fire.

If the Iranian regime believes its survival is threatened, or even if it wants to escalate without directly attacking the United States, it is seen as likely to try to draw Israel into the fighting.

Some Israeli officials have even argued that the weekend-long bout of combat with militants in Gaza this month was set off by Iran’s chess game with the United States. Iran, they noted, wields great influence over Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the militant group whose snipers wounded two Israeli soldiers, which Israel blamed for inciting the violence.

Israel could face a more potent attack from Syria, where it has roamed the skies attacking Iranian targets for several years, trying to stop Iran from entrenching itself militarily and from shipping precision-guided missiles through Syria to Lebanon. Its mastery of the skies there has not been cost-free: When Israel shot down what it said was an Iranian drone that entered Israeli territory in February 2018, one of its F-16 fighters was downed by a Syrian missile.

A new potential threat identified by Israeli officials is in western Iraq, where Iran is said to have transferred a number of missiles that could reach Israel to Iranian-backed forces in the area of Razazah Lake.The Trump administration responded to reports of Iranian threats by sending the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf last week.CreditAmber Smalley/U.S. Navy, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Trump administration responded to reports of Iranian threats by sending the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf last week.CreditAmber Smalley/U.S. Navy, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An Israeli security cabinet member, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, even broached the possibility in a television interview Sunday that Iran would try to launch missiles at Israel from its own territory. Mr. Netanyahu’s office declined to comment for this article.

A few missiles from Iraq or Iran could be deflected by Israel’s vaunted, multilayered air-defense network, which complements the short-range Iron Dome with the medium-range David’s Sling and long-range Arrow systems.

But no potential Iranian response is more frightening to Israel than if Tehran were to unleash the arsenal of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group that dominates much of Lebanon. Israel says Hezbollah has some 130,000 rockets, far more than necessary to overwhelm Israel’s air defenses. Iran treats those rockets as its greatest strategic deterrent against Israel.

“If they use Hezbollah, it’ll be devastating,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser to Mr. Netanyahu and top military intelligence officer. “I don’t know how many buildings in Tel Aviv will be destroyed.”

Israel has grim experience with blowback from American fighting in the Middle East: In 1991, Iraq fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel after Baghdad came under aerial attack by the United States-led coalition, but Israel was persuaded to stay on the sidelines.

Today, Israel sees itself as more than capable of defending itself.

In a mutually assured destruction balance of power, Israel has threatened to level Beirut and much of Lebanon’s infrastructure in response to a massive Hezbollah missile strike. And Hezbollah is drained, both by cuts in Iran’s financial support and by its involvement in the long Syrian civil war, said Amos Harel, military analyst for Haaretz. “About a third of their operational force are casualties,” he said.

No one seems to want a war. On Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said “we don’t seek a war, and they don’t either.”

On Wednesday, President Trump told acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he did not want to go to war with Iran.Israel’s attacks on Iranian targets in Syria have not been cost free: When Israel shot down what it said was an Iranian drone last year, it lost an F-16 fighter to a Syrian missile.CreditAbir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency

Israel’s attacks on Iranian targets in Syria have not been cost free: When Israel shot down what it said was an Iranian drone last year, it lost an F-16 fighter to a Syrian missile.CreditAbir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency

Despite those expressed intentions, experts say, Iran is unlikely to sit still while American sanctions decimate its economy. Nor is the United States willing to tolerate Iranian provocations.

Israeli experts say, without any clear-cut proof, that Iran was behind a pair of recent purported attacks.

On Sunday, the United Arab Emirates said that four oil tankers had been sabotaged off the port of Fujairah, south of the Strait of Hormuz. And on Tuesday, Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Iran, claimed responsibility for drone strikes on a Saudi oil pipeline to the Red Sea.

If Iran was responsible for the two incidents, Israeli analysts said it was entirely foreseeable: Before Iran would cave in to a new nuclear deal or collapse under an economic chokehold, it was almost certain to try to exact a price.

“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.

Mr. Amidror said the two episodes, for which he blamed Iran, necessitated a strong American response. “They are testing the Americans, no question,” he said.

“If the Americans now act like nothing happened — ‘Iran didn’t spit on us, it’s only rain,’” he added, “it’s catastrophic, because it’s saying to the Iranians, ‘We won’t interfere.’”

What Israel can only wait to see, Mr. Amidror said, is how the United States handles Iranian provocations if they escalate, and what that does to perceptions of American willingness to stand up for its allies and stare down its adversaries.

“What kind of Middle East will we face,” he asked, “when it’ll be clear to other countries that Americans are not ready to fulfill what people expect them to do?”

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