Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Hamas Agression is an Arm of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis

The Sudan strike may have been an Israeli warning and the Pillar of Defense operation may be Israel's effort to pave the way to attack Iran.
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:21 AM



The Six-Day War in 1967 remains a constant reminder that careful planning and eternal vigilance is essential to winning any war.


In just six days, Israel was able to defeat three Arab armies and quadruple the size of its territory.


The flawless military strategy Israel used to defeat its enemies- Egypt, Syria and Jordan, was one of aerial supremacy and blitzkrieg style tank attacks.


By comparison, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was slow, clumsy, and unfocused during the three weeks of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza Strip. As in 2006 Lebanon War, the IDF was again stalled before developing an effective tactical offensive. Counter-terror offensive were foreshortened by heavy diplomatic pressure before achieving anything, owing to the government lack of resolve.


On November 14, the IDF embarked on ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’, meant to defend Israeli civilians from the incessant rocket attacks and cripple the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.


In just a few hours, the IDF achieved more than what Cast Lead managed: the targeted killing of Hamas military wing commander Ahmed Jaabari and the rapid destruction of scores of Iranian Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets, the most potent weapons in the arsenal of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza Strip.


More than likely, the ‘Pillar of Defense’ started on October 24 with the preemptive strikes on the Yarmouk complex, manufacturing Iranian missiles in Sudan.


Ostensibly, the Sudan strike may serve as an Israeli warning and a possible dry run to pave the way to attack Iran.


Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin confirmed that the Sudan factory had housed the emergency reserve stocks of the Palestinian terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.


Indeed, Israel’s precise surgical strikes did not only kill Hamas’ leading terror strategist, but also effectively eliminated virtually a good many of the Fajr-5 rockets within minutes - stored in Gaza City.


Certainly, Israel may expect repercussions from Cairo one way or another since Jaabari, was a favorite of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and his death occurred the day after Egypt brokered a "ceasefire" in the missile offensive from Gaza.


That “ceasefire” was violated by Hamas with Grad rockets against southern Israel.


IDF sources say that military operation is underway against more Hamas leaders and its military infrastructure and rocket stocks across the Gaza Strip.


Iran Admits to Pulling Strings in Gaza


According to a source in the Revolutionary Guards intelligence division, Quds Forces in Gaza and other Palestinian territories has been training and supervising Hamas and Islamic Jihad in setting up underground rocket facilities and launching attacks on Israel.


In addition, to its large stockpiles of chemical and microbial weapons, Iran has armed the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah with them.


Apparently, the escalation of the Gaza conflict was ordered by the highest authority in Iran, the source added, and rockets targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are in fact a warning to Israel that its Iron Dome missile defense system cannot thwart Iran’s ballistic missiles and tens of thousands of rockets and missiles in the hands of Hizbullah.


Fars News Agency, the media outlet for the Revolutionary Guards, also reported that 20,000 Basij forces are prepared to fight alongside the Hamas militants, even as Israel called up 75,000 reserves for a possible ground operation.


“If the IDF launches a wide-scale ground incursion into Gaza, it must be prepared to go all out,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was quoted as saying.


Israel already “paid a heavy price” by yielding to diplomatic pressure when it failed to pursue its final objectives in its assault on Hamas four years ago.

So, What’s Next?


As Iran is on the threshold of being able to create weapons-grade uranium at Fordo plant, diplomats from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are calling into question an Israeli claim that Iran had slowed its nuclear time table.


Surprisingly, Iran was now technically ready within days to ramp up its production of 20 percent enriched uranium by nearly 700 centrifuges.


But the 20-percent material being produced at Fordo is of greater concern to the international community for two reasons:


First, the 20% stockpile can be turned much more easily and quickly into weapons-grade uranium of 90 percent purity— and second, Fordo’s heavily fortified underground facility means it is now impervious to conventional air attack.


Such a move would raise the stakes for Israel which is in line with the timeframe laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September at the UN General Assembly.


What does Iran expect to gain from Gaza crisis?


Iran’s vitriolic anti-Israeli sentiment in the Islamic world was more ominous than the escalation of the Gaza crisis.


As the Gaza confrontation unfolds, Iran’s masterfully contrived deception in provoking attacks from Hamas provides a welcome distraction from Iran's ongoing economic troubles and its pursuit of nuclear capability.


Although intelligence assessment varies widely, there are lingering doubts of Egypt involvement with Hamas and Hizbullah activities directed by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Iran.


No one seemed to know for sure, but judging the exact status of Iran's nuclear program is far more complex than playing Russian roulette.


Strikingly, the IAEA quarterly report demonstrates that the Islamic regime is continuing its headlong approach to building nuclear weapons despite stringent economic sanctions.


If the IAEA assessments were correct, Iran could have crossed the ‘red line’ in just over a few months.


There is no doubt in mind that an attack on nuclear armed Iran is far more dangerous, more complex and more costly in terms of life and treasure.



Worst case scenario: if Iran and its proxy, Hamas and Hizbullah deploy chemical and biological weapons, the less forgiving US and Israel could be forced to consider using its nuclear option.
However, Israel’s capacity to act in a timely fashion is critical before Iran gets a nuclear weapon.


Worst case scenario: if Iran and its proxy, Hamas and Hizbullah deploy chemical and biological weapons, the less forgiving US and Israel could be forced to consider using its nuclear option.


What is also important to consider are the unintended consequences and the hidden dangers of Israel’s imminent incursion into the Gaza Strip.


Ideally, de-escalation is possible but it depends to a great extent to the willingness of the international community in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.


On the other hand, with Egypt maintaining its peace treaty with Israel- has crucial role to play in reining Hamas in its own backyard.


Another consideration, though remotely possible would be for Egypt to accept further responsibility in preventing smuggling across its borders and eliminating the rocket arsenals of Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza.


Whether this will bring peace and quiet to southern Israel, the onus entirely depends on Hamas to cease firing rockets against Israel.


Furthermore, an escalation of the Gaza conflict could probably pave the way to an early Iran strike if Israeli election is postponed in January 2013.


In the end, Israel will really have to make painful choices between Iran’s nuclear program and confronting multi-front attacks from Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria and quite possibly Egypt.