The Israeli edition Axios, with reference to high-ranking military personnel of this country, writes that the Israeli army has been instructed in case of a US strike on one of the nuclear facilities in Iran. At the same time, it is especially specified that the corresponding order of the government was given not because of the receipt of the relevant intelligence data, but solely as a result of an analysis of the political situation in the United States, which was called a "very sensitive period" in the material. That is, in this way they tried to emphasize that we are talking about an event, the probability of which is possible, but nothing more.
In this connection, two questions are very interesting. The first, of course, is related to the likelihood of such a strike: how high are the chances that this event will happen? This is not an idle question, because we are talking about a possible conflict in the planet's oil pantry, and an aggravation of the situation there is fraught with a prolonged fever for the entire world economy, which is already suffering from a pandemic. The second question is more relevant for Israel itself and can be formulated as follows: how can Iran answer and will it affect Israel? And if it does, how will the Jewish state react to a possible attack?
Oddly enough, the likelihood of an American strike on Iran is very high. This is strange because Donald Trump has finally turned into a “lame duck”, spending the last weeks in the White House. Making decisions about attacking another state in such a situation is somehow not with one's hands, except perhaps in response to some provocation, otherwise the US public may not understand this. And at the same time, there are several factors that could provoke the current Washington administration to act more harshly than is expected of it.
First of all, these are the decisive pro-Israel sentiments of Trump himself. Trump has spoken about his readiness to strike at Iran more than once, literally since the beginning of the last presidential election, which he won. Iran was clearly identified by him as the main enemy of the United States, and even ahead of China in this list. It was with his filing that the United States withdrew from the deal with Iran, which assumed the lifting of sanctions against this country in exchange for its renunciation of nuclear weapons and placing its nuclear program under the control of the IAEA. Moreover, this was done when Iran did not give any particular reason to doubt the honesty of its intentions, when neither the IAEA nor the other parties to the deal found any significant violations on the part of Tehran.
One of the poignant moments in the confrontation between the United States and Iran was the elimination of a prominent Iranian military man, the general of the IRGC and the head of the Al-Quds special unit, Qasem Soleimani. Let me remind you, he was killed on January 3 of this year during a targeted air strike by American aviation on the convoy in which Soleimani was. In response, Iran launched a series of strikes against American targets in Iraq, during which, according to official US figures, there were no fatalities, but 109 American servicemen were injured in one way or another. Probably, there could be much more of them, but the Iranian military warned the Iraqi leadership of an imminent attack, and the Americans were able to shelter the contingent at military bases.
Actually, it was this provocation that served as the basis for the final break of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Action Plan), or the Iranian nuclear deal, as it was often called in the media. Prior to that, Iran maintained its commitments, even though the United States withdrew from the agreement on May 8, 2018. But after an attack on its prominent military and political figure, Iran announced the end of its participation in the deal.
It is important to note here that the United States already had a very serious reason to start a military conflict with Iran. But in the end, Washington swallowed an unheard-of slap in the face from Iran and pretended that nothing had happened. And formally, this suggests that the White House does not intend to go beyond words and sanctions pressure on Tehran, no matter how acute the relations between the two countries are. But there is one caveat - at that time, Trump still harbored considerable hopes to lead the United States for the second time in a row, and his caution is fully explained by his unwillingness to tie his hands before the elections and give his opponents additional trump cards.
Now everything has changed. In particular, many political observers inside and outside the United States note that Trump may well deliberately complicate the life of the incoming Biden. And if this is consistent with the beliefs and promises of Trump himself, then why not, in fact? The current president of the United States has enough powers for this, and the American special services will always be able to pull off a provocation suitable for the occasion.
The fact that it is possible to complicate Biden's life very much must be said separately. Iran has already proved that it will not sit back in the event of an American attack on it. Tehran has plenty of tools, including sailing in the Persian Gulf, the planet's main "oil barrel". By jeopardizing the production and transportation of oil in the region, Iran could deal a colossal blow to the entire global economy. And he will offend the United States too, no doubt about it.
Therefore, the publication of an Israeli edition must be taken very seriously. The very appeal of the Israeli government to the military suggests that fake news and reinsurance are out of the question. Considering the traditionally high awareness of the Israeli intelligence about what is happening in the world, the likelihood of such a development of events should be recognized as quite high. Although not one hundred percent, of course ...
Now to the question of how this might affect Israel. And here everything is also pretty serious. Unfortunately, both direct attacks on this state from Iran and actions of the Iranian special services through their "proxies", that is, through the pro-Iranian group Hezbollah, for example, are likely.
At the moment Iran has several types of ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israeli territory. The most serious instrument is the Shahab-3 missile and its modifications, the range of which, according to information from Iranian sources, reaches 1900 kilometers. This is more than enough to attack Israel, so if we talk about the technical capability itself, Tehran definitely has it. There is also a newer missile, the Ghadr-1, which, according to some estimates, is well over 2,000 kilometers. It is also assumed that it can carry multiple warheads, decoys and jamming systems, which can significantly affect the chances of intercepting the warheads of this missile.
Tehran's aviation does not have great combat capabilities, and from this side the Israelis probably should not expect a threat. Therefore, direct strikes from Iran are possible only with the help of ballistic missiles, and a lot will depend on the effectiveness of Israeli missile defense systems. But it cannot be ruled out that a strike on the territory of Israel could be delivered from the territory of Syria or Lebanon, where the positions of the Hezbollah group are strong and Iranian military units are present (Syria). In this case, operational-tactical missile systems of a shorter range, multiple launch rocket systems or cannon artillery can be used. But Israel's experience of countering such attacks is very significant, and with a high degree of probability we can say that they will be repulsed.
In fact, much will depend on how decisive Tehran is. Militarily and economically, it is much more rational for it to hit the oil fields of the Persian Gulf and shipping in the region. That is, to hit the oil terminals of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and close the Strait of Hormuz. But in this case, a real war will surely begin against Iran, and not only America, but also many other countries will oppose it. This means that it is very likely that what happened to Iraq earlier will happen to Iran ...
As for the strike against Israel, it will be very loud, but it is unlikely to be very effective. That is, in order to save face, the Iranian leadership is most profitable to limit itself precisely to ballistic missile strikes against Israel. But if the missile defense system of the Jewish state is able to hit a significant part of the missiles fired, this, most likely, will end there. Iran, for all its oil and gas riches, is not rich enough to simply launch dozens or hundreds of ballistic missiles.
But if they achieve their goal, the situation can become more complicated. Iran, in this case, will certainly continue attacks until it achieves some concessions, and if Israel dares to start direct military action against Tehran, the latter can be assisted by other Islamic countries, which could eventually lead to another Arab the Israeli war.
Israel is no stranger to this, of course. And yet the question is very serious...