Israel Will Keep Protesting, But Already Prepares for “The Day After” the Iran Nuclear Deal — Including Covert Action
[The “framework” reached with Iran by the U.S. and its partners is “a good deal” — according to President Barack Obama — which, if implemented and obeyed, will make the world (including Israel) safer. Many Israelis — certainly the reelected leaders — strongly disagree with that. Perhaps continued pressure by Israel can make the final details — in the deal to be negotiated by June 30 — a bit more acceptable. In this analysis for The Jerusalem Post, Yossi Melman — co-author of Spies Against Armageddon — considers how Israel may have to prepare for “the day after” the nuclear deal with Iran.]
Israel continues to ready itself for the stark reality at the end of the Iran nuclear talks.
Officially, Israel continues to criticize the talks and the pending nuclear agreement between the world powers and Iran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, each in his own way, keep bashing the negotiations.
It will take nearly three more months to flesh out the full details of a final and comprehensive agreement. President Obama says Iran’s nuclear program will be reduced and rolled back so that it would take one year to “break out” to assemble a bomb. In return the West and the UN’s sanctions will be gradually lifted.
Most Israeli experts, and certainly its leaders, have argued without hesitation that the current deal is dangerous to Israel’s interests.
But is it really? The blatant reality is that even before the deal Iran was already a nuclear threshold state. And if it really wants to, it can run off and produce nuclear weapons.
On the other hand, Israel is the strongest nation in the region. According to foreign reports, the only democracy in the Middle East boasts both a significant nuclear arsenal and submarines that are capable of executing second strikes — the capability to respond to a nuclear attack with powerful nuclear retaliation.
Four Arab states – Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen – are disintegrating. As a result, Israel’s strategic posture has improved, as many of the serious military threats facing Israel have dissipated.
Israel would have preferred that there be no negotiations on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and that sanctions would be in place forever. But that won’t happen.
Without admitting it, Israel is preparing itself for the “day after,” adjusting its position to the reality at the end of the negotiations.
The world will never hear an official admission, but deep in their heart Israeli leaders surely understand they failed to orchestrate an international campaign against the talks and the deal that has emerged.
It was an unnecessary campaign. Israel paid a heavy price in its confrontation with the US administration, and it caused great animosity between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. Frankly, Israel had very little influence, if at all, on the talks.
The only tangible result was that Netanyahu won reelection last month, after convincing the public that only he knows how to deal with the threat of Iran becoming a nuclear state.
But now, with election season over and the deal with Iran being shaped, Israel has started clandestine diplomatic and intelligence initiatives to reach understandings and define red lines on how to deal with the upcoming reality.
Israeli bodies – the Defense Ministry, the air force, Military Intelligence and the Mossad – are already involved in discreet contacts with their American counterparts, as well as with EU countries, on how to prepare various responses in case Iran violates the deal.
-Iran is Likely to Cheat-
The best-case scenario is that Iran will adhere to the agreement. But anyone who follows Iran’s nuclear history and its relations with international bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency knows that it is unlikely to happen.
Most probably Iran will try to dishonor its obligations through deceptions and lies.
Israel, with its counterparts, is trying to define the possible responses needed if and when Iran’s deceptions are exposed. In the past, international media reported that Mossad chiefs met with their Saudi counterparts to coordinate joint efforts to stop Iran from building nuclear bombs. In these reports it said Saudi Arabia agreed that the Israel Air Force would use Saudi airspace for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.
This doesn’t mean that Israel is already coordinating a detailed military option with all those who are against the deal. These exchanges are more about reaching a basic understanding, should Iran seriously violate the deal.
Indeed, one should not hastily reach the conclusion that Israel is expediting its preparations to strike Iran. For now, Israel is still relying on the Americans. Ya’alon made it clear this week that Obama had promised that he would not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.
But it is also clear that Israel will not tolerate a situation where Iran is on the verge of producing nuclear bombs. In such a worst-case scenario, it is most probable that any Israeli prime minister will make the same decision as previous leaders – Menachem Begin in 1981 and Ehud Olmert in 2007, who ordered to destroy Iraqi and Syrian nuclear reactors, respectively. Even though it’s reported that Israel does have nuclear weapons it can’t allow Iran, which advocates the destruction of the Jewish state, to have nuclear bombs.