Want a Sign Israel has Shelved Plans to Bomb Iran? Distribution of Gas Masks in Israel is Halted

The Israeli government has decided to stop distributing gas masks to each and every resident of the country.

That’s been noticed — and as reported in major newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The Jerusalem Post officials are pointing to Syria as a reason.

This is a clear sign that Israel achieved a huge strategic gain in 2013, without lifting a finger. Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad stupidly used chemical weapons against civilians, killing far more than a thousand people in a display of brutality confirmed by international inspectors. President Barack Obama threatened that U.S. warplanes would attack Syria’s military; instead, Russia brokered a deal under which Assad is giving up all his chemical weapons.

Israel's Not Giving Them Out -- Not Right Now

Israel’s Not Giving Them Out — Not Right Now

That’s a huge net gain for Israel.  It’s part of the story of why the cabinet in Jerusalem decided, Sunday, to halt distribution of gas masks. The risk of chemical warheads raining down on Israel is reduced markedly.

The factor that Israeli officials are reluctant to discuss is Iran: the fact that plans for Israeli air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities have been shelved.

Israeli strategists explain that they never wanted to start a war with Iran, but if Iran were on the verge of assembling its first nuclear weapon, Israeli leaders might choose to attack Iran.

That is still true. They might. But in the present situation, with the start (today, January 20) of implementation of a six-month deal to slow uranium enrichment — and to open facilities to inspectors that had never been inspected — the likelihood that Israel’s military will bomb Iran is near zero.

Therefore, the assessment suggests, the possibility of a massive Iranian retaliation involving missiles (from Iran, Syria, or Lebanon) that could have chemical or biological warheads is so low — that Israeli citizens don’t need gas masks right now.

This, in the Middle East, adds up to relative relaxation.

January 24, 2014

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