Israel versus Iran

Persian and Jewish people have had friendly relations since biblical times.  Emperor Cyrus liberated Jewish exiles in Babylon and helped rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.  More recently, the Shah of Iran and Israel planned a pipeline from Eilat on the Red Sea to Ashdod on the Mediterranean to supply Iranian oil to Israel and bypass the Suez Canal.

Things have changed, and in dealing with the hostile regime in Tehran, Israel's aim has been twofold: to interdict weapons transfers to Hezb'allah and to keep Iranian ground forces away from its northern border.

Several weeks ago, DEBKA, a military intelligence website based in Jerusalem, reported on an aircraft strike on 50 Iranian military installations in Syria.  All this was accomplished in less than two hours.  If true, this represents an important achievement in military intelligence and in operational planning and coordination.

We do not know how many planes took part in the operation, but presume they all returned safely.  Somehow, they evaded the vaunted Russian S-300 anti-aircraft (AA) system.  Not many Western news services took note of this event, which occurred in the early morning hours of May 11.  According to a report in Al Hayat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, Russia was not altogether unhappy about the operation.

On May 1, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrated another intelligence coup, exposing a truckload of material, consisting of reports, pictures, etc. revealing the continued nuclear activities of Iran.  We do not know how Mossad stole all this well guarded material, nor how the operatives managed to transfer it to Israel, but they did. 

A few days later, on May 8, President Donald J. Trump declared that he was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.  Secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced that severe sanctions will be applied to Iran; the aim clearly was to effect regime change, removing the present theocracy.

In a recent American Thinker article, Boris Gulko expressed his belief that the Iranian rulers will not last long.  He speculates that the mullahs may not be around to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their revolution next year. 

Trump also hinted at military action if Iran continued its ballistic missile program and development of atomic weapons.  The United States has the military muscle – bunker-buster bombs that can reach well protected underground installations of uranium isotope enrichment centrifuges in Iran.

The Israeli Air Defense Force (IADF) can also attack these sites with great precision.  In addition, their aircraft can destroy the plutonium facility at Arak, Iran.  The job will be easier if Saudi Arabia permits overflights.  Israel's IADF can also terminate Bashar Assad.

With U.S. backing, Israel can do many things that are useful to advance the cause of security in the Middle East.  On the other hand, Russia will probably stay out of all this.  At least that is the opinion of Moshe Arens, Israel's former defense minister.

Arens is a professor of aerospace at the Technion, Israel's MIT, located in Haifa, and designer of the Israeli Lavie aircraft.  Although never built, many of its design features were incorporated into advanced U.S. fighters.

Writing in Ha'aretz, Israel's N.Y. Times, Arens posits a dilemma for Putin: if Israel demonstrates its technological superiority in the air, Russia may lose its commercial business selling the AA S-300 system and lose much needed income for the Russian economy.

Why would Pakistan buy Russia's AA system and spend billions of dollars if Indian pilots can easily learn the necessary tricks to circumvent it?

Even more important, Putin will realize that his investment in Syria is at risk.  The naval base at Latakia is within easy reach of Israel aircraft, and so is its military air base.  The Russians might lose their investment in the Mediterranean and forfeit their foothold in the Middle East.

Arens believes that Putin will think twice before committing the advanced AA rockets that complement the S-300 system.

Professor Emeritus (University of Virginia) S. Fred Singer was among the first prominent scientists speaking out against global warming alarmism.  An atmospheric and space physicist, he headed the U.S. Weather Satellite Service (now part of NOAA).  He founded the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).