ISRAELI MILITARY AVIATION NEWS ROUNDUP!

ISRAEL’S ABILITY TO STRIKE IRAN

Linked below is a good writeup about how Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear sites. It gives specific detail as to the aircraft and weaponeering that would be involved to accomplish the task. What is clear is that Israel cannot completely vanquish Iran’s nuclear development capabilities but they can significantly forestall them. As discussed here before, the nuclear enrichment site at Fordow, buried deep inside a mountain, would take almost every GPS guided “bunker buster” bomb in Israel’s inventory to destroy the complex, and even then it would be unlikely that such a strike would be successful. Alternatively, Israel may be able to destroy the entrances to the complex, but the actual facility itself would most likely remain intact. Even America’s Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP) in it’s current configuration is said to lack the ability to destroy the Fordow facility. Money has been granted under an emergency request to increase the MOP’s penetrating capabilities, but the chances of Israel being assisted in such and assault by US MOP wielding B-2s is almost nil. The use of Israeli special operations commandos to take down and demolish the Fordow facility is a real possibility, but such a choice would drastically increase Israel’s stakes during such a raid, although this may be the best option if taking the site completely offline is seen as an absolute necessity.

Regardless of how or when Israel decides to strike, it would most likely cause a retaliation of large proportions “against the free world” that “allowed” such an attack to take place. Iran’s proxies in and surrounding Israel, most notably Hamas and Hezbollah, would most likely mount a massive offensive against soft targets in Israel via direct attacks and rocket barrages. Iran would most likely directly respond via an attempt to close the Straits of Hormuz and/or a ballistic and cruise missile attack on key western targets throughout the region. If Saudi Arabia allows refueling and rearming of Israeli jets in their territories, or even overflight rights of their country for such a raid, Iran would probably retaliate directly against Saudi oil facilities in the Gulf. To put it mildly, the aftermath of an Israeli unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities will be a total mess that would probably lead to massive oil shortages and possibly a much wider conflict.

Sadly it seems without a direct diplomatic solution, which is highly unlikely, some sort of conflict is almost certain regarding Iran’s nuclear program. That or a nuclear arms race across the Arabian Peninsula will become a reality…

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=258664

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THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE WANTS MORE F-35’s BEFORE THE FIRST ONE EVEN ARRIVES

It looks like the IAF want’s 40 active F-35’s by the end of the decade. This would give the Israel’s air arm a massive increase in capability compared to it neighbors. I do find it odd that the F-35 partners still believe in production and testing timelines that have been proven optimistic time and time again.  I would also think that given Israel’s limited aerial tanking capabilities and their country’s small geographical size that purchasing a batch of F-35Bs would be in their best interest. Being able to land and refuel at a forward operating base before or after a long range mission, or operate from austere locations after your runways have been cratered, would give the IAF a massive capability and survivability boost.

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=258666

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M-346 Master Is Selected By Israel For Future Advanced Trainer

Israel ended up going with the Italian M-346 Master advanced jet trainer, instead of the Korean T-50 “Golden Eagle,” after a bitterly fought bidding process that was loaded down with industry offsets and other incentives. Both are capable trainers, the T-50 being more of an “F-16 Light” and the M-346 being more of a trainer that could be turned into a light fighter, and after loads of industry incentives for both buyer and seller it was almost impossible to truly gauge what deal was best. I am not certain, but I would venture to guess that the M-346 was the cheapest option for the basic requirement. We have seen more of this lately where the lowest bidder seems to come out victorious, as in India’s much sought after MRCAA contract and with Switzerland with it’s F-5 replacement tender. Are we entering an age where excess capability delivered at greater cost is a thing of the past? It would appear so…

http://stardefense.blogspot.com/2012/02/m-346-was-selected-by-israel.html

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120216/DEFREG01/302160003/Italy-8217-s-Alenia-Sell-Israel-30-M-346-Training-Jets

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14 Responses to ISRAELI MILITARY AVIATION NEWS ROUNDUP!

  1. dan says:

    The Israelis have been threatening to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities for nearly twenty years now – the JPost article is just another iteration in the routine, every-six-months or so cycle of publication. The Israeli policy since the mid-1990’s has been to “persuade” the US to do a repeat version of Desert Storm on Iran – this has not changed in any substantive form.

    Broadly speaking, few of these articles have any credibility as they fail to disucss in any realistic fashion the numerous potential modes of failure that exist in an Israeli operation, and are predicated on the default assumption of an automatic Israeli “success” ( yes, the IAF is the earthly equivalent of “Q”! ). It’s a near dead-on-balls certainty that the IAF simulations of such operations result in catastrophic failure rates for their force, mostly due to fuel starvation issues, the loss of numerous planes, captured pilots and spiralling problems due to the invasion of third-party airspace ( an act of war in and of itself ). Try to consider the consequences of an Israeli failure, in which its aircraft are interdicted, some of its tankers are shot down, pilots are captured in Iran/Iraq and elsewhere, and airframes are scattered across the ME region in states that have no formal relations with it: it’s the biggest clusterfuck imaginable – the default minimum reparation is the release of EVERY single Palestinian currently held in Israeli prisons. Six months ago, the idea that Iran could poach a stealth drone from the US would have been dismissed as fantasy – now we must acknowledge that there are massive unknowns when addressing the question of how capable Iran is at controlling and defending its airspace, and that these unknowns extend into the highest echelons of the classified world.

    Any Israeli attack scenario that relies on a “tin-openers” from third parties – such as Saudi Arabia or Turkey – should automatically be discounted as an exercise in wishful thinking. Israel bombing Iran is an act of war, any other party that directly facilitates it is a belligerent co-party that has accepted that it will henceforth be in a state of war with Iran.

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Dan, yes I have gone over this and it’s periphery issues many times on this site. It would lead to a wider war almost instantaneously, first strike, counter strike, broader counter-counter strike. I do agree that the IAF is not omnipotent (sweet you are a STTNG fan) but they do have some fantastic capabilities that are non kinetic to get into hostile airspace (see Suter technology). I also think that you are relating the IAF’s risk/reward equation to that of say the US when it comes to risking assets and such. Some in Israel see the Iranian nuclear program as a direct threat to the existence of their nation. Only three nuclear strikes or so would wipe out massive amounts of Israeli society. I think losing aircraft and a pilots is factored in. Further, when it comes to overflight rights, what is not to say that the same non-kinetic technology would be used to make the journey without approval of the governments that be. Finally, the Sunni Arab oil states, such as Saudi Arabia, have a major common interest with Israel when it comes to dismantling Iran’s nuclear program. Don’t be surprised if you not only see them turn a blind eye, but actually tacitly approve overflight for such a mission.

      Yes there have been a ton of these reports over the last half decade or so, but it would appear that things have heated up massively in the region and eventually a decision will be made…

  2. Will says:

    Perhaps it’s time to consider whether supplying arms to Israel is a good idea.

    The US has in place a law that forbids it from selling arms to countries that will use them against the civilian popuation: “Section 4 of the (U.S.) Arms Export Control Act requires that military items transferred to foreign governments by the United States be used solely for internal security and legitimate self-defence.” An attack on Iran would almost certainly include infrastructure such as telecommunications and the electricity grid which are civilian in nature, but would aid the Iranian military response (air defence). Striking some facilities may result in fallout that would affect the civilian population, which ammounts to an indirect assault as well.

    Israel has a nuclear arsenal, even if their policy is not to officially state this fact. They have a very scary nuclear doctrine (Sampson Option) which essentially rationalises a first strike during a conventional war. They have in the past cooperated and aided apartheid South Africa, and evidence exists that the sale of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads was discussed with South African officials at the time (so much for being against proliferation). They threaten their neighbours with war, even during times of relative peace. They violate Lebanese airspace constantly and have waged wars that targetted civilian infrastructure such as a flour mill, power station, UN schools and warehouses in Gaza. They occupy another people, settle land in direct contravention of international law, and are sliding ever closer to being an ethnocratic state that considers non-Jews, and even Sephardic Jews as second class citizens.

    Not only does Israel do these things unbecoming of a democratic nation, things which are essentially the opposite of US values, but it not even a strategic asset for the West. Its policies are destabalising, and it rarely acts with US interests in mind, let alone Europe. It’s not the safe haven for Jews that it was founded for, and the concept of a ‘Jewish Democracy’ is an oxymoron, since a democracy is for all its citizens and seeks to separate religion from state.

    Why then does the US feel the need to back Israel against Iran? The Iranian people were on the verges of revolution before the Arab Spring began, but our policy of sanctions has only strengthened the regime’s support. Iranian rhetoric is not nearly as strong as Fox or Jpost make out, and at worst they have officially denied that the holocaust was on the scale that most academics agree. For this, we are pushing the region towards war, and giving Israel the ability to do this with F-35s is, frankly, stupid.

    Why risk economic catastrohpe due to fuel hikes for a few billion dollars of military exports?

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Will,

      I think any weapon America sells, especially when it comes to aircraft and disposables, clearly will be used against strategic targets of military value even through they may be civilian in nature. If that law was enforced Libya alone would have been considered a spree of war crimes.

      I respect all those opinions, there are a ton of counter points to those points as I am sure you know. Lets not go into the politics of the situation, lets talk about sanctions and such and their effects on the Iranian populace.

      -One view is that they bankrupt the government, and thus the country, making for an upset population who view their leadership as totally incompotent at leading their nation into prosparity and peace.

      -The other view is that these sanction anger the average Iranian, not so much toward their own leadership, but towards those who are pushing the sanctions on them externally. This causes a common enemy and usually results in a invigorated brand of nationalism, one that the Iranian leadership already pushes in spades.

      It would seem that we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The only way to quantify the effects of such crippling sanctions are by having robust intelligence sources on the group that can “feel out” the sentiment among the populous and especially the pro-western factions within that populous. We can only hope this is being actively done and that continued pressure for harsher sanction are a result of positive metrics in this realm. But yes it can work either way. Ron Paul always makes the point that Iran is surrounded by US bases and hardware, this is very true and obviously inflames the situation regardless if those bases are all relevant or not.

  3. Will says:

    The NATO mission in Libya was to stop civilian casualties. I doubt that if NATO forces used cluster munitions or white phosphorous in densely populated areas as Israel did they would have been able to justify their actions. I agree that it is naive to think arms sales laws prevent civilian casualties, but the occupation is into its 5th decade, and it has worsened greatly this century. I think the US public should be made aware that the F-35 deal, and others like it, may directly affect their jobs. My question is very important, as there is no point having a flourishing military export industry if the rest of the US economy collapses. You’re correct that there are counterarguments to my previous points, but they’re easily refuted (I won’t draw this into a debate, but I’m more than willing to elsewhere).

    Anyway, back to Iran… let’s play a little game theory:

    -We probably can’t stop Iran getting the bomb with sanctions, at least not without starving the Iranian people. I’m not going to provide an argument against this because it should be morally repugnant to most people. Even targeted sanctions like those against the Revolutionary Guard affect civilians. The Iranian government passes on the costs through increased taxes or reduced funding to other government and public projects.

    -We can’t stop their nuclear activities with airstrikes alone. Many of the key installations are protected by integrated air defence and placed in hardened bunkers. At best we could damage and delay the program. This is what analysts tell us, and I have no evidence to suggest otherwise.

    -We can’t invade the country. Our economies would not survive such an expensive expedition intact. The massive cost of an invasion, occupation and subsequent nation building and the increase in fuel costs are undeniable. The reaction of China and Russia to an invasion should also be considered.

    -We can’t decapitate the leadership with targeted killings. The regime is too large and well protected short of an invasion or nuclear strike (and aren’t we trying to avoid the use of nukes?)

    -We probably can’t induce widespread discontent and ultimately revolution, especially now that we’ve forced Iran towards a corner. Dissent still exists, but it’s not nearly as widespread and organised as it was during the last Iranian presidential elections.

    -We can partially contain Iranian weapons. A blockade of weapons may be possible, and it would stop them reaching their proxies. We can also use ballistic missile defence systems to protect Iran’s neighbours. Neither are 100% efficient, and weapons would certainly slip through.

    -We can protect Iran’s neighbours under our nuclear umbrella, and they probably already are to varying degrees. MAD is still a viable option, and Dempsey and other US officials have said Iran is a rational actor, despite the badly translated rhetoric which certain news agencies use as evidence that Iran seeks Israel’s destruction.

    -We can bolster the Iranian economy. This sounds counterintuitive, but a comfortable people have more to lose by starting a war that would affect their lives directly. The US and British people could only sustain wars when we were comfortable because they were remote. Hypothetically, if Mexico was the target and had weaponry that could strike US cities, I would bet good money that the US would not risk a war so willingly.

    -We could practice isolationism, where we leave the ME alone and risk losing control for better or worse. This is probably not in Western interests, as there’s plenty of animosity to be going around between nations, ethnic groups and religions to start wars and directly damage our economies.

    Given that the Iranian nuclear program is unstoppable short of near-suicidal invasion or nuclear strike scenarios, we should be bring them on side. Their regime is no worse than the Saudi one, yet we export weapons and invest heavily in SA. Supporting Sunni countries does not necessarily preclude keeping relations with Iran friendly. I think people have become so focused with punishing Iran for seeking nuclear weapons that they have failed to analyse their options. This is probably not true with military planners, but the US electorate listen mostly to what their politicians are telling them, and they are being told that Iran must be stopped without even considering whether it’s possible.

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Will I appreciate your detailed analysis. Couple of things:
      -Explain the jobs point, I am lost on that one?
      -Iran can’t just pass off all their lost revenue to their population, what does get passed off, some would say are the goals of such sanctions. Whether this is a good tactic or not is up to debate.
      -Iran’s integrated air defense systems will not deter USAF or IAF attack, this is not an issue
      -If you think just some bad translations are what have caused major concern vis-a-vis SOME folks in power’s verbal intent towards Israel than you are wearing blinders.
      -Trade is always a possibility to decrease tensions and open the door to peace, but would Iran want to trade with the “Satans?” A question that needs to be answered.

      Good points and I appreciate your insight!

      Ty

  4. Amir says:

    First the assumption that an eventually Nuclear Iran is necessary an existential threat for Israel is wrong. The real thing is a nuclear Iran will restrict Israel (and US) in their actions it is the reason that they are afraid of that possibility. Now we have to see is the risk of attacking Iran worth this fear or not? I think Israel is not technically able to cause any serious harm to Iran’n nuclear program, it just victimize Iran and force Iran to withdraw from NPT, and any damage (like captured pilots …) would help Iran a lot (just imagine how Iran can gain in Islamic countries!) Not to mention, the price of oil could break all previous records and make some good money for Iran. Because of this I think an Israeli attack is not going to happen ( I think Iranian leaders really like this to happen because of all benefits that I discussed).

    • aviationintel.com says:

      I think the big issue here is that Iran has proxies that constantly fight a low intensity conflict with Israel, Iran has been the largest state sponsor of terror for decades, and finally their President says some pretty startling things regarding Israel. I understand there are two sides to every coin but these are important points to consider.

  5. nico says:

    I generally agree with Dan although I think Israel would do better than what he says but he is right on to talk about all the difficulties.

    The issue of overflight of SArabia or Turkey is generally swept under the rug by pundits or even ex military (just watch Fox News and one could assume it’s a piece of cake), this is a bigger issue than what most people assume. It would be politically difficult to explain away for those countries and Iran would justifiably retaliate against countries like SArabia, UAE or Turkey that would be seen as helping/looking the other way during Israeli strike. Now US would have all this mess on their hands with multiple countries involved…

    The problem of range or pilots being shot down, well, couple of solutions. All pilots would be volunteers, not that I expect any to turn down this mission, they understand the risks, give them poison pills to use in case of capture. The Israeli could station sub in Gulf at specific coordinates to rescue downed pilots that could attempt to make it to that location. Also land damaged planes in US controlled bases in Qatar or Bahrain…Or I know this sounds crazy and probably outside the capabilities of the Israelis but I wouldn’t put it past them: “acquire” a temporary airfield in Iraq. This also solves the range problem by shortening the trip to and fro Iran. Can Israel capture an airbase and hold it for 48 hours? I don’t know but you have to expect the Israelis to do something unexpected like that. I think this aspect of Israel doing something unexpected has been generally neglected, it’s usually Iran that is expected to do something unconventional. IMHO Israel will also have a few tricks up its sleeve….

    Last but not least, something that really doesn’t get mentioned or glossed over: how does US or Israel attack a foreign nation, bomb it’s installation, target it’s military/economic centers like electric grid, power, TV,etc…and not call/declare WAR!!! How does anyone expect us to get away with this? Do we expect Iran to roll over and not say anything? What about Middle East public reaction? I haven’t seen anyone explain how we can “sell” this without looking like a bunch of hypocrites or just plain liars? How do you bomb a country for something they haven’t done yet (acquire a nuke) or attacked yet (they haven’t fired the first shot towards Israel)? So we are attacking them for an action they haven’t committed yet and we expect people in the Middle East or Iran to go along with this? Really? Maybe US public opinion would go along but most people around the world let alone Middle east will demand explanations…

  6. dan says:

    Nico

    If you’re suggesting that the IAF expects its pilots to commit suicide, then why not just fly the planes into Iran’s nuclear facilities instead – I mean, no one would see that one coming.

    There are endless problems with wishful thinking about Israeli subs in the Gulf ( realistically, beyond their operational ranges and capacities to accomplish, and that’s before we talk about depth issues ), and the miraculous use of Bahraini or Qatari airfields as sanctuaries is equally fantastic, assuming the planes could even get there without running out of fuel ( the US operates these on the basis of sovereign agreements that preclude this kind of thing – these fantasies require us to accept that Israel has sovereign dominion over the US….try to think through the ramifications of that ). Remember, no tin openers, just an unassisted gambit that requires flying through the airspace of one or two other countries that cannot be given advance warning for diplomatic/approval/opsec reasons, and that’s just to get to the Iranian border.

    Acquiring a “temporary” airfield in Iraq involves invading Iraq – it’s an act of war in and of itself, it can’t be kept secret, it would require a small army to pull off, and would involve overflying Jordan to get there, which opens up a whole other host of other political problems and messes that need to be addressed. The fantasy of IAF airstrikes requires the unnanounced appearance of planes over targets before anyone notices and reacts – if the Iranians are ready and waiting, then the lifespan of an IAF pilot is liable to be short and nasty – fuel starvation whilst bugging out over Iraq, having had to abort the mission, is no less of a perilous fate than capture in Iran, as there is absolutely NO ONE who will be in a position to help.

    The use of Saudi airspace is not an option – the routes add 1-2 additional refuellings to the route; and the Saudis can’t just say that they were incapable of “preventing” unauthorised third-party use of their territory because, in spite of the untold billions allocated to the military over decades, the money was wasted – it’s politically toxic. And they can’t just say that they aided and abetted, ‘cos it means an automatic state of war. Turkey is a complete non-starter – they’d actually shoot the Israelis down if they dared to try a transit – for the simple reason that Turko-Israeli relations are terrible, Turko-Iranian trade is massive, and that Iranian oil and gas supplies are critical to their economy.

    Aviationintel

    Yes, fantastic non-kinetic capacities – the RQ-170 would have been considered in that category a few months back too; not any more. On the political question of “existential” risks to Israel – that’s a propaganda trope for public consumption and political effect, and this campaign has been ongoing since the immediate aftermath of Desert Storm ( check out the 1997 book “Open Secrets”, by Israel Shahak, if you want a good chuckle on this ).

  7. Will says:

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, aviationintel. I’m certainly not condoning suicide bombings, or firing RPGs at school buses or katyushas randomly into Israeli territory, but legitimate resistance against occupying forces is hardly terrorism. The situation in and around Israel is much more complicated than that. It’s also hugely hypocritical considering US support for the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the recent past, and Israeli support for Kurdish militants and Iranian dissidants at present.

    I strongly suggest you read at least the wiki page on Ahmadinejad and Israel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel). I don’t prescribe to any of his views, but you’d be amazed how far they have been exaggerated. To paraphrase:

    -He said that Palestinians should never have been punished for Europe’s mistakes, and that is interpreted as wanting to destroy Israel.

    -He says that the holocaust has been mythisized to the point that it is used to justify current Israeli policies, and that criminalising questioning the scale of the atrocity is wrong, and that is intrepreted as holocaust denial.

    -He quotes Khomeini as saying the zionist regime occupyuing Jerusalem should vanish from the pages of time, and that’s interpreted as a threat to Israel’s existence.

    Iran rarely makes threats against Israel, but often states that they would retaliate if attacked. There’s a lot of anti-semetic rhetoric coming from Iran these days, but really very little of it is official. I read Jpost, Ynet and Haaretz as well as Al Jazeera, The Daily Star and a few others, and sheer quantity of racism, hate and vitriol coming from Israelis these days is scary. Moreover, Palestinians living in the occupied territories (and arguably even Israeli Arabs) live under worse conditions than Jews do in Iran.

    What worries me is that we place such huge importance on Israeli ‘defence’ without even considering if we’re backing the right side, or if we should be backing any side in a situation that could quickly degenerate into a regional war with massive economic consequences.

  8. Will says:

    -Explain the jobs point, I am lost on that one?

    Sorry, that was an editing fail. I meant that selling f-35s to Israel is good for the US defence industry, but Israel starting a regional war with US weapons is very bad for the US economy. People seem to be very pleased that the US is selling more planes without realising that the consequence may be that they lose their jobs or houses.

    -Iran can’t just pass off all their lost revenue to their population

    Why not? A government is merely an extension of the public, and so government money is actually public money. What the revolutionary guards lose due to sanctions can easily be taken from the Iranian national bank.

    -Iran’s integrated air defense systems will not deter USAF or IAF attack, this is not an issue

    As Dan mentioned not long ago, they downed the sentinal, what makes you think that they can’t bring down a sizeable fraction of the planes Israel sends? However, that wasn’t my point. I was trying to say that given the nature of the targets, hoping to destroy them with air strikes alone is unrealistic.

    -If you think just some bad translations are what have caused major concern vis-a-vis SOME folks in power’s verbal intent towards Israel than you are wearing blinders.

    Read the quotes and then tell me what you think. Remember, this is what we’re being told by the politicians who are trying to justify a war, not by military planners who have to fight it.

    -Trade is always a possibility to decrease tensions and open the door to peace, but would Iran want to trade with the “Satans?” A question that needs to be answered.

    Vietnam is a major trading partner, as is China of course. There are probably many other examples that I’m forgetting. By tying their economies to ours, we prevent them from taking actions that would severly damage their own.

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Not sure where this is in all these posts, but the RQ-170 loss most likely has zero to do with Iranian air defense capabilities.

  9. Will says:

    -If you think just some bad translations are what have caused major concern vis-a-vis SOME folks in power’s verbal intent towards Israel than you are wearing blinders.

    Sory, I’ve just re-read this. I understand that what we’re being told is merely window dressing to justify a war, but then what is the real reason?

    -It’s not to defend Israel against an impending nuclear attack. Iranians are not suicidal. If they wanted to nuke Israel ASAP with no consideration to their own survival, they would pull out of the NPT and kick out the inspectors. Since we can conclude they are rational, they will be bound by the threat of MAD as much as any other nation.

    -It won’t affect Israel’s conventional superiority, or its ability to stop terrorists entering the country. These don’t require airstrikes, and making peace with the Palestinians is very likely to stop the majority of terrorism. Hezbollah are currently avoiding conflict, as are Hamas. There are diplomatic alternatives to all these problems, and I refuse to believe that Israel’s neighbours cannot come to terms with its existence. The Arab peace proposal to normalise relations is proof of this.

    -It will probably cause a nuclear arms race. This is the big worry, but again people tend to forget that there is another option, one that many ME leaders support: a nuclear free ME. Israel refuses to even consider this option, and its diplomats storm out of meetings because of it.

    -It may reduce Israel’s ability to start wars of aggression. Is this a bad thing? I can’t think of many reasons other than perhaps a preemtive strike, peacekeeping and humanitarian situations that would justify such an attack.

    -It draws attention from the failing peace process. This argument is often cited by Palestinian supporters, and I’m not entirely convinced by it personally.

    -Israeli politicians may feel they need to keep Israel relevant to the US in order to maintain its diplomatic immunity and military support. Without a viable threat, there is no need the $3 billion in aid. This is hardly a reason to go to war and risk Western economies though, as such an action would surely make that military aid an issue with the US electorate.

    -It strengthens the ruling coalition in Israel. Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu are held together in the coalition (as well as other smaller parties) by the support of the hard right and the settlers. Recent disagreements have brought the coalition closer to falling apart, and without an external threat they lose a lot of their natural support. Israel is made up of many different groups of people, with very different views on how the country should be run. Only the settlers have a bigger influence on Israeli politics.

    -You could even consider this as a continuation of the cold war, where Iran and its proxies are actually proxies of Russia and China. I doubt that any of the big players would risk their economies for increased control, though dwindling oil resources may be a future consideration. Perhaps this is simply jockying for position.

    -Perhaps this is simply a logical result of the tensions between Iran and the US that have existed since the mid 20th century. Iranians still hate the US and the UK for installing and supporting the Shah, not to mention dictating terms of oil sales that amount to daylight robbery. The revolution was in part a reaction to this. Several minor incidents since, and one major war with US sponsored Iraq, have only made this worse. I hope I’m wrong, but maybe our leaders do not want to show weakness, and Iran is presenting them no way of saving face, inevitably leading us towards a conflict because of egos.

    Have I missed anything?

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