Israel plans ahead

The Washington Times reports that Israel has appointed a top general as its commander for the “Iran front” in anticipation of a possible war with Iran. The general is Elyezar Shkedy, Israel’s air force chief and son of Holocaust survivors. According to the Times, his role for now is to coordinate intelligence gathered by Israel’s spy agency and military sources in order to draw up battle plans. In the event of war, he would command the campaign from a “hot seat” in the Israeli army’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. General Shkedy describes the task at hand as “maximimiz[ing] our capacities in every respect,” adding that “beyond that, in this case, the less said the better.”

In all likelihood, as we have often said, there are only two options with respect to Iran — live with Iranian nukes or take military action to prevent Iran from developing them. According to the Times, “the prospect of Israel living with a nuclear Iran appears remote” given the high priority the current Iranian leadership places on Israel’s destruction and the reasonable perception that, in the words of Israel’s former national security adviser, this leadership “would sacrific half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel.”

There are, however, limits on Israel’s ability to deal Iran’s nuclear program a significant set-back. Thus, the ideal campaign would consist of air strikes led by the U.S. using bases in nearby Iraq. However, the threat posed to the U.S. by a nuclear Iran is less direct than the one to Israel, and it’s not clear whether we would be willing to participate.