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Israel to Hold Military Exercise Simulating Large-Scale Attack on Iran

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Israel to Hold Military Exercise Simulating Large-Scale Attack on Iran​



The Israeli Air Force plans to conduct a military exercise later this month simulating a large-scale strike on Iran, according to The Times of Israel.
The drill, dubbed Chariots of Fire, comes amid uncertainty about Iran’s return to the 2015 nuclear deal, which involves the US, China, Russia, France, Germany, and the UK.
According to the report, the simulation would focus on Iranian nuclear targets and take place over the Mediterranean Sea beginning on May 29.
Nearly all Israel Defense Force (IDF) units are expected to participate.
Apart from simulated strikes, Israel will focus on responding to potential retaliation by Iran and its allies.

Careful Planning​

Last year, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said that the military had been instructed to create fresh attack plans against Iran and its nuclear assets.
He further revealed that the Israeli armed forces had “greatly accelerated” preparations against Iran’s nuclear program.
Despite earlier claiming to have formulated a plan against Tehran’s nuclear facilities, several defense analysts said that aspects of the strike plan could take a year to become fully actionable.
One example is finding effective ways to strike Iranian facilities buried deep underground, as this requires specialized munitions and carefully-crafted tactics.
Additionally, the Israeli Air Force must find ways to neutralize increasingly sophisticated Iranian air defenses to carry out a successful offensive.

Purported US Involvement​

In a separate report, The Times of Israel said that the US would participate in the large-scale exercise.
Citing Israeli TV channel Channel 13, the news outlet claimed that the US Air Force would only serve as a “complementary force” tasked with refueling Israeli planes as they simulate entering Iranian territory.
The alleged Israel-US aerial collaboration is seen as a “potential message” to Iran amid negotiations on the potential return of the 2015 nuclear deal.
However, a spokesman for the US Central Command has announced that the US Air Force refueling off the coast of Israel had no connection with the exercise.
“The tanker refuel (it was actually a dry refueling mission – no actual fuel was delivered) was not tied to the Israeli exercise,” Army Col. Joe Buccino told The War Zone.

 

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I once headed the Iran branch of Israel’s military intelligence research. Here’s why Israel can’t take out Iran’s nuclear program.​

Danny Citrinowicz


In recent weeks, statements by current and former Israeli officials on the need to prepare for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities have intensified. The need is clear for Israel to deter Iran, force it to stop its nuclear advancement, and signal to the Joe Biden administration the importance of taking practical steps to halt Iran’s nuclear progress.


However, besides the operational challenges in executing such a military attack, especially given Iranian forces’ buildup of surface-to-air units—based mainly on the Russian S-300 and indigenous made systems like the BAVAR 373 and the 3rd of Khordad—there are other more strategic challenges facing Israel.


Unlike Iraq and Syria, which had nuclear programs that relied on single nuclear reactors that Israel destroyed in 1981 and 2007, respectively, the Iranian program is based on two highly-protected and decentralized enrichment facilities. Moreover, while the nuclear infrastructure of Iraq was built by France and Syria’s was built by North Korea, Iran has been able over the years—after initial help from Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan— to build a program based on the knowledge of Iranian nuclear scientists. In other words, even if Iran’s nuclear sites are destroyed, indigenous nuclear know-how will enable Iranian scientists to rebuild the nuclear program quickly.


Additionally, contrary to the Israeli attacks on the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear programs, which prompted no response, Iran and its regional proxies would respond to an attack on Iran. In other words, the $1.5 billion given to the Israeli Defense Forces in preparation for a possible military strike on Iran are only the beginning of Israel’s costs, as a response by the “axis of resistance” would have astronomical consequences for the state of Israel.


The conclusion is that, unlike previous Israeli attacks on nuclear facilities, an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities isn’t only about the ability to hit the heavily-fortified sites and absorb a one-time Iranian response. It is also about waging a difficult—perhaps unbearable—campaign against other components of the axis of resistance, such as Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which have significantly improved their capabilities in recent years.


It’s wrong to assume that Iran would claim plausible deniability if an airstrike took place and that it wouldn’t cast blame on Israel for such an attack, especially in the current hardline-dominated atmosphere following the election of Ebrahim Raisi in June, who already expresses a desire to respond to Israeli actions, such as sabotaging nuclear facilities and assassinating Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.


In other words, Israeli politicians are gambling on a military strike that, at most, would delay Iran’s nuclear program—rather than accelerating a further buildup of Iran’s nuclear power without international supervision and limitations—and also put Israel in a very difficult war on its northern front. Given the current tensions between Israel and Iran, statements that have no effect on Iran’s strategy are only pushing the sides into an undesirable conflict.


Israel, of course, has a right to be concerned about a nuclear program in the hands of a country that openly calls for its destruction, but it has to be realistic as well. The military option should remain for a situation in which Iran decides to officially develop a nuclear bomb. According to Israeli intelligence and even CIA Director William Burns, such a scenario isn’t on the table today for the Islamic Republic’s leadership.


So, what is the right thing to do? Israel must lead the fight against Iran from behind; that is, let the international community lead the campaign to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb and focus on working with the Biden administration and other world powers to build a comprehensive strategy—for instance, a continuous tightening of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections regime—that will ensure Iran’s nuclear program remains civilian in nature. This is especially important given that, according to Israel’s former military intelligence chief, Tamir Hayman, Iran is at least two years away from a bomb.


The bottom line is that even a successful attack on Iranian nuclear sites wouldn’t solve the problem. A strike would, at best, delay or push Iran to rebuild the program with international legitimacy. At worst, it could lead to a severe escalation whose price, in the view of Iranian proxies’ military capabilities, might be intolerable.


Finally, it is wrong for Israel to think it would have international support for such an action. The world, including the US, recognize—via the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231—that Iran can enrich uranium on its soil as long as it is monitored by the IAEA and is for peaceful purposes. Thus, the Israeli approach of “zero enrichment” is no longer realistic. As long as Iran doesn’t build a nuclear bomb and as long as these sites remain monitored, no country would support an Israeli attack—not even the United States.


Moreover, Israeli officials need to bear in mind that the mere threat of a military strike might also push the Biden administration back into the JCPOA—against US interests—since the United States likely fears that an Israeli attack on Iran and its outcome would force the United States to reset its plans to reduce its military presence in the Middle East. It is necessary to recognize the reality that there is no magic solution to Iran’s nuclear program, especially not through an attack, which might have been relevant a decade ago, when the program was less advanced.


For Israel, there are no good options, only bad ones. This resulted from adopting a failed Iran policy pushed by the Benjamin Netanyahu government and Donald Trump administration under false pretenses. Subsequently, Israel carried out the policy and other actions—e.g. sabotaging nuclear facilities and assassinating scientists—that only pushed Iran to move forward with its plans at a more rapid rate instead of delaying the country’s nuclear program.


Danny Citrinowicz served for twenty-five years in a variety of command positions units in Israel Defense Intelligence (IDI) including as the head of the Iran branch in the Research and Analysis Division (RAD) in the Israeli defense intelligence and as the division’s representative in the United States. Follow him on Twitter: @citrinowicz.

 

BHAN85

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If Iran falls. World will follow.

I remember two USA aircraft carriers in Hormuz Strait, and a lot of West European warships, January 2012. It was too much silent noise for just Iran.

Iran is just a excuse for something bigger.

USA is not afraid of WWIII, we can see that in Ukraine right now.

 

EAGLE777

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Israel does not have enough power to do this on his own. They will fail without US involvement.
 

EAGLE777

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Israel does if it choses to use nuclear weapons on those sites.
The subject is about airstrikes. Iran is a very large country and they have some airdefences also retaliation will involve bm launches from iran, iraq, lebanon etc Israel cant do this alone. There will be too much heat to handle on a small country. However with NATO/US involvement is a different story. But i for one know this is all a distraction game which goes on for decades meanwhile other countries which were not even mentioned or were not on the agenda were attacked and destroyed. Such as Libya, Iraq etc.
 

Beny Karachun

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The subject is about airstrikes. Iran is a very large country and they have some airdefences also retaliation will involve bm launches from iran, iraq, lebanon etc Israel cant do this alone. There will be too much heat to handle on a small country. However with NATO/US involvement is a different story. But i for one know this is all a distraction game which goes on for decades meanwhile other countries which were not even mentioned or were not on the agenda were attacked and destroyed. Such as Libya, Iraq etc.
Who said it's going to be solely airstrikes? I doubt Israel is going to do something it doesn't think it's capable of doing. And Israel knows what it's capable of doing.

You overestimate the amount of weaponry Iran has that's capable of hitting Israel from far away. Hopefully that by the time all of this comes, Israel already has its laser systems deployed.
 

IbnAbdullah

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Israel does if it choses to use nuclear weapons on those sites.


Do you really think Israel would be able to bare the cost of using nuclear weapons on another country that too without actively being at war? Preemptive nuclear strikes on a country you don't share a border with?

The US isn't the sole superpower it used to be. The world is changing and sooner or later the US will not be able to cover up for Israel in the way it has done for so long.

The inherent difference between Israel and its enemies will eventually catch up once the US protection is not there.

Remember, just as the Israelis hold that this area is their because of religious reasons so too it is for the Muslims.
 

Beny Karachun

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Do you really think Israel would be able to bare the cost of using nuclear weapons on another country that too without actively being at war? Preemptive nuclear strikes on a country you don't share a border with?

The US isn't the sole superpower it used to be. The world is changing and sooner or later the US will not be able to cover up for Israel in the way it has done for so long.

The inherent difference between Israel and its enemies will eventually catch up once the US protection is not there.

Remember, just as the Israelis hold that this area is their because of religious reasons so too it is for the Muslims.
We would much rather deal with the consequences of nuking Iran's nuclear program, than dealing with the consequences of Iran nuking Israel.

The US is still by far the strongest nation on earth. NATO is by far the strongest organization on earth.
 

IbnAbdullah

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We would much rather deal with the consequences of nuking Iran's nuclear program, than dealing with the consequences of Iran nuking Israel.

The US is still by far the strongest nation on earth. NATO is by far the strongest organization on earth.


I would much rather no one nuked, neither Iran nor Israel. I would would much rather Israel actually tries to make real efforts to make peace with the Palestinians. Give terms that are acceptable to the Palestinians and the Muslim world in general.

At the moment, Israel is using its power and prolonging the conflict. Israel would not be safe long term even if it got every Arab neighboring country to recognise it. Turkey recognised Israel way back but a populist can come when the situation isn't as good as it is for Israel atm and disregard that. After all Pakistan and India recognise each other but have gone to war multiple times. Just look at Ukraine and Russia.

Unless Israel makes peace with the Palestinians that is acceptable to all sides - Israel will not be able to secure it's long term future.

Today Israel is powerful and in an honest attempt to negotiate peace they can get a lot more than say a few decades down the road where the US power has declined further and the Muslim world is in a better position. Ultimately, the size/resource advantage between Israel and its enemies is too large. This approach is not sustainable and may ultimately lead to bad results for the Israelis.


Ideal time was Clinton era, you guys could have gotten a good deal. Time is weakening Israeli position and strengthening it's enemies.
 

Beny Karachun

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I would much rather no one nuked, neither Iran nor Israel. I would would much rather Israel actually tries to make real efforts to make peace with the Palestinians. Give terms that are acceptable to the Palestinians and the Muslim world in general.

At the moment, Israel is using its power and prolonging the conflict. Israel would not be safe long term even if it got every Arab neighboring country to recognise it. Turkey recognised Israel way back but a populist can come when the situation isn't as good as it is for Israel atm and disregard that. After all Pakistan and India recognise each other but have gone to war multiple times. Just look at Ukraine and Russia.

Unless Israel makes peace with the Palestinians that is acceptable to all sides - Israel will not be able to secure it's long term future.

Today Israel is powerful and in an honest attempt to negotiate peace they can get a lot more than say a few decades down the road where the US power has declined further and the Muslim world is in a better position. Ultimately, the size/resource advantage between Israel and its enemies is too large. This approach is not sustainable and may ultimately lead to bad results for the Israelis.


Ideal time was Clinton era, you guys could have gotten a good deal. Time is weakening Israeli position and strengthening it's enemies.
It's not up to us, Iran wants to do that, Iran is the warmonger, we would rather nuke the Iranian nuclear sites than get nuked.

Israel is the only side that makes an effort for peace, Israel offered good terms many times, whether its Camp David affairs in the 2000s, or Trump plan in 2021. Palestinians rejected it all, rejected autonomy and many billions of dollars.

Anyways, screw the Palestinians.
 

IbnAbdullah

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It's not up to us, Iran wants to do that, Iran is the warmonger, we would rather nuke the Iranian nuclear sites than get nuked.

Israel is the only side that makes an effort for peace, Israel offered good terms many times, whether its Camp David affairs in the 2000s, or Trump plan in 2021. Palestinians rejected it all, rejected autonomy and many billions of dollars.

Anyways, screw the Palestinians.


It is unfortunate that the ones closest to us in belief have to be our enemies. We all have love for Abraham and Moses and the Prophets may God's peace and blessings be upon them all.

I do wish there was a way. However, I can see you are a person like myself supporting your group. The Muslims will support the Palestinians because of the sacred mosque and the importance of that area. Your people will try as they have. Let's see how long this thing lasts.

Israel is using its a lot of capacity to hold off the people around it. The Muslim world extends far away and many areas are growing without such strains of war.

Your children deserve peace just as the Palestinians do. When you deny the Palestinians the concessions needed for peace, you do not just deny them a chance of peace but also your future generations. Generations whose circumstances may not be like yours.
 

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