Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says his nation must prepare for the threat of a chemical attack from Syria, amid concern at enemy efforts to test a post-election coalition Israel, and, as Bloomberg reports, has deployed its new Iron Dome anti-missile system near the border with its northern neighbor. Along with this concern, as many have perhaps suspected, the Israeli Defense Minister confirmed yesterday that the US has prepared plans for a ‘surgical’ military operation to delay Iran’s nuclear program.
As The Jerusalem Post reports, Ehud Barak, speaking in Davos, does not believe any military operation against Iran would devolve into a “full fledged war the size of the Iraqi war” but rather “there should be a readiness and an ability to launch a surgical operation that will delay them by a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because the world is determined to block them.”
Barak added that in the past the US has been heavy-handed but that under Barack Obama, theUnited States has “prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels,” if the worse comes to the worst – even though the Israeli preference would be to end the nuclear threat diplomatically , calling for tougher sanctions (though he expressed doubt that diplomacy would lead to success).
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel must prepare for the threat of a chemical attack from Syria as the army deployed its new Iron Dome anti- missile system near the border with its northern neighbor.
Netanyahu told members of the Cabinet during the weekly meeting in Jerusalem today that Israel faces dangers from throughout the Middle East. Top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss what may happen to Syrian stocks of chemical weapons amid the civil unrest there, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio.
“We must look around us, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies and at what is happening in other areas, with the deadly weapons in Syria, which is increasingly coming apart,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet, according to an e-mailed statement.
Syrian rebels, mostly Sunni Muslims, have been fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011 in a conflict that the United Nations says has left at least 60,000 people dead. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
The Iron Dome system, which was used to shoot down hundreds of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip during Israel’s November conflict with Hamas and other militant groups, is being deployed at an unspecified site in the north, according to an Israeli army spokeswoman. She spoke anonymously in accordance with military regulations and said setting up the anti-missile battery was part of routine operations.
Israeli forces must be particularly alert during the period following last week’s election in which Netanyahu is trying to form a new coalition government and enemies are looking for signs of weakness, the prime minister said. Netanyahu’s Likud- Beitenu alliance lost 11 parliamentary seats in the vote and the prime minister said he needs a broad and stable coalition to deal with security threats from the region.
Via The Jerusalem Post,
Defense minister challenges idea that military operation against Iran would develop into a “full fledged war the size of the Iraqi war”; says surgical strikes will delay Tehran’s nuclear drive “by a significant time frame.”
The United States has prepared plans for a “surgical” military operation to delay Iran’s nuclear program in the event that diplomatic efforts to thwart Tehran’s drive for nuclear weapons capability fail, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with The Daily Beast on Friday.
Speaking from Switzerland, where he is attending the Davos World Economic Forum, Barak challenged the notion that a military operation against Iran would develop into a “full fledged war the size of the Iraqi war or even the war in Afghanistan.”
“What we basically say is that if worse comes to worst, there should be a readiness and an ability to launch a surgical operation that will delay them by a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because the world is determined to block them,” Barak told The Daily Beast.
The defense minister stated that, while the US was once heavy-handed in its attempts to carry out pinpointed military actions, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, the United States has “prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels. So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation.”
Barak said that even a small-scale series of surgical strikes was a last resort, and that Israel’s preference would be to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat diplomatically.
Barak called for harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic, but noted that he did not believe the diplomatic path was likely to succeed in halting Iran’s nuclear drive given Russia and China’s tendency to thwart harsher measures in the United Nations.
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