Recent weeks have seen a number of developments that have put Iran back on the front burner. In the latest development, Israeli Air Force commander, Maj-Gen Ido Nehushtan, has told the ‘Jerusalem Post’ that the Russian S-300 surface to air missile defence system must be stopped from reaching countries which Israel may wish to attack. Naturally, he has Iran in mind.
Israel knows that, once this very advanced missile system is in place, it would make it almost impossible for Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. It is clear from Nehushtan’s remarks that Israel has Iran clearly in its sights. In a report written by the preposterously named ‘Bipartisan Policy Center’ titled ‘Meeting the Challenge – Time is Running Out’, the authors asserted that, if Israel was confronted with a “game changing technology – such as Russia’s S-300 anti-aircraft system – Israel, more likely than not, will act on its own”.
On the surface, the way relations between the US and Israel seem to be strained at the moment over the issue of settlements in the West Bank, it may appear to some observers that Israel, indeed, may have to act alone. However, this would be burying ones head in the sand in order to avoid reality. The fact is, despite relations appearing to be strained, the US Congress, firmly in the pay and clutches of the Israel Lobby, will ultimately support the Israelis. However, the Israelis will not at all be able to act without the active connivance of the US. The job that Israel feels it needs to do can not be done without US ordnance and, even if the Israelis were to gain clearance to pass through Saudi Arabian airspace in order to avoid overflying Iraq and the diplomatic problems involved, the massive amounts of military jet fuel required to mount such an operation (an out and back trip of several thousand miles necessitating in-flight refuelling) would also have to be supplied by the US.
It seems the Israelis are very perturbed by the threat of Russia’s S-300 anti-aircraft system being in place in Iran and have, if recent unconfirmed stories about Netanyahu’s secret trip to Russia and the Israeli’s involvement in the high-jacking of a ship at sea are true, gone to great lengths in order to prevent it happening.
Now, it may be that the stories about a visit to Russia to discuss the S-300 sale to Iran and the stories about the ship sailing to Iran laden with missiles are just a part of a deception to provide a casus belli to attack Iran arguing that, by receiving the S-300 anti-aircraft defence system, Iran has crossed a ‘red line’ that Israel cannot let go unanswered.
Whatever happens, one can rest assured that, if push comes to shove, Congress and the administration WILL back Israel.