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By Micah Halpern

Wednesday August 13, 2008


The biggest military threat Israel faces is not Iran, the biggest threat is a combined attack against Israel involving Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. What we call in sports a pile on. I have been analyzing this potential threat for many months now. That specific attack is a worst case scenario - a coordinated effort during which Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah missiles and rockets come pummeling into Israel all at the same time. The result would be more devastating than any war Israel has been involved in since the creation of the state.

On Tuesday August 5, 2008 the Strategic Air Command in Israel conducted an exercise that precisely simulated my worst predictions and fears. The exercise was not intended to be kept a secret. It was made public and was filmed by Israel's Channel 10 News and reported on by the popular Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
It was intended as a warning.

The exercise was an overwhelming success. Of course, certain elements will require tweaking but should Israel become the target of a three pronged attack by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, Israel will mount a successful defense. Yes, the Israeli military will be able to defend the citizens of Israel in a worst case scenario attack.

The further Israel gets from the worst case scenario, the fewer enemy players involved in the attack, the better the odds are for Israel. Fewer enemy nations translates into higher odds. How does Israel stay out of the worst case scenario? By managing their own three pronged, non-military, attack - threats, disincentives and classic cold war tactics.

The ultimate objective is to frighten Israel's enemies and aggressors. Those countries intent on destroying Israel must know that if they were ever to attack Israel or join forces with Iran, Syria or Hezbollah in order to destroy Israel, their own potential for loss would be significantly greater than the internal, Muslim and Arab world glory they would gain for attacking the Zionist infidel state.

The Arab world is struggling under the weight of a double message about Israel. Message one perpetuates the conspiracy theory of the greatness of Israel and Israel's military might. Message two speaks to a growing sense that Israel's army has faltered and its former glory is fast fading. Israel's military prowess and capability as proved by this latest exercise, combined with Israel's non-military actions, should set the record straight.

Over the past year defense and strategy groups in Israel, Washington and London have spent a great deal of time debating Iran's potential for attacks and the West's ability to counter attacks. Some DC policy planners are of the opinion that Iran's capability is really irrelevant, that Iran will not take the initiative and initiate an attack. The thinking is that Iran has a thousand year history of non-aggression and that history is not about to be altered now. These same people assert that while the real fear is not an Iranian initiated attack, the real fear is an Iranian counter-attack. They are of the belief that if Iran is pushed, if Iran interprets Western actions as insults, that may well trigger what the Iranians will view as a counter attack. Is it a game of semantics? It is. Is it a game of perceptions? It is. Either way, it is a dangerous situation.

Israel does not have the luxury of banking on a historical precedent. Semantics and perceptions are no longer relevant when an attack is launched. Israel must prepare for the worst possible scenario if only to repel the bluster that Iran is perpetually spouting. Iran is trying desperately to become the epicenter of the world. Iran wants all eyes on Iran. And that explains why, for example, in response to an ultimatum and deadline calling for Iran to cease and desist in the development of uranium the Iranians arrogantly, conceitedly and openly proclaimed that they had no plans of the sort.

The Iranians were playing to the Muslim world. They were hoping to galvanize the Muslim world against the West under the leadership of Teheran. The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Mohammad Ali Jafari, held a press conference and announced that Iran had just tested a new anti-ship missile that could sink "enemy ships" at a range of more than 200 miles.
He asserted that Iran could shut down the Strait of Hormuz with ease, he said: "Enemies know that we are easily able to block the Strait of Hormuz for an unlimited period."
Everyday about 35% of the world's oil travels through the Straits of Hormuz on its way to Africa and Asia. It does not matter whether Iran is capable of closing the Straits either for the long or short term. The threat alone will have a cataclysmic effect on markets and world economies.
Iran's threats need to be taken seriously by the West because they are being taken seriously by the Muslim world. And one day another Muslim country just might decide to take up the cause and join Iran in an attack against the West. And if that happens a very bad scenario becomes worse.

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4 June 2017 12:14 PM in Columns

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