Netanyahu is becoming increasingly desperate to start his war against Iran. According to a report in Haaretz citing a report in Britain’s Sunday Times, Saudi Arabia has offered help to Israel in order to facilitate an attack against Iran. According to the report, Saudi Arabia will allow Israeli strike aircraft to transit Saudi airspace in order to reach targets in Iran. Saudi Arabia will also allow refuelling tanker aircraft, drones and rescue helicopters to be in Saudi airspace.
According to another report, Yaakov Amidror, who only recently left his position as Israel’s national security chief, has said that ‘Israel has the ability to strike Iran and is willing to go it alone’. Amidror concedes they don’t have the same wherewithal as the US but believes Israel would be able “to stop the Iranians for a very long time”.
Until recently, for the Israeli air force to get strike aircraft to Iran was a major hurdle against being able to attack. If they were not able to use Saudi airspace, they would have to have used Jordanian and Iraqi airspace, refuelled over the Persian Gulf, then returned to Israel the same way. However, Iraq was never going to give permission for the Israelis to use their airspace and it would be highly unlikely that Jordan would. The alternative would have been a long flight south down the length of the Red Sea, then east north-east across the Arabian Sea skirting Yemen and Oman and then into the Persian Gulf to attack Iran. Refuelling aircraft would need to be stationed at least two points along the way to refuel strike jets both on the way out and on the way back to Israel. This route would have been long and arduous for already stressed aircrew and they would almost certainly lose any element of surprise they may have hoped for.
The decision to strike Iran will very much depend on what course the next round of talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 takes. If an agreement is made whereby Iran is allowed to proceed with limited enrichment in exchange for an easing of sanctions, then there is a very strong chance that Netanyahu, who is insisting on nothing less than a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear facilities, will order a strike.
His hope will be that, once he has launched the initial strike, the US will then launch follow-up attacks against Iran using its Persian Gulf forces and long-range bomber forces to prevent Iran launching retaliation strikes against Israel.
Israel will also likely launch strikes against Hezbollah and Hamas also in order, so they will say, to prevent retaliatory strikes from either or both of these organisations at Israel’s doorstep. Israel may also launch a full-on invasion of the West Bank to thwart any possibility of West Bank Palestinians launching a third Intifada against Israeli occupation.
Clearly, Netanyahu is determined – one way or the other – to have his war against Iran, not because he thinks Iran is an existential threat to Israel, but because it is the only way that Netanyahu will be able to realise his and his fellow right-wing Zionists lifelong dream of creating a Greater Israel and preventing the Palestinian people from ever having a state of their own.