Officials: Iran's Ability to Hit Back at Israel Limited
Iran's ability to attack Israel has been compromised significantly in the past year, Israeli diplomats meeting in Jerusalem were told by Defense Ministry intelligence officials. According to the study by the officials, Iran's attempts to prop up Bashar al-Assad and the weakness of Hizbullah has taken a great toll in manpower and funds from the Islamic Republic.
The officials, quoted in Maariv, said that neither Syria nor Hizbullah are in any position to not only start a war with Israel, but would also be largely unable to respond on behalf of Iran in the event of an Israeli strike at Iran's nuclear facilities. Syria is too badly divided at this point to respond, and without the material support in men and weapons from Damascus, Hizbullah would be too feeble to respond effectively.
Only if Iran were to directly aid Hizbullah could the Lebanese terrorist group fight Israel as it did in 2006, the officials said, but Iran was likely not to do so, because violating Lebanon's sovereignty was likely to bring the U.S. and Europe directly into the conflict.
Hizbullah realizes its weakened position, the officials said, and was unlikely to provoke Israel into a massive invasion of Lebanon, which would put Hizbullah into a much more vulnerable position than it has been in the past.
The officials also discussed Egypt, and said that after Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel was in a better position, because Cairo was taking active steps to prevent Gaza terrorists from attacking Israel. Egypt fears that it would be dragged into a Hamas conflict with Israel, and since it is practically broke, cannot afford to alienate foreign governments and banks on which it is relying for helping achieve economic recovery, they said.