Caroline Glick makes a point about Israel’s haul of Iranian documents that I haven’t seen expressed elsewhere: The physical seizure and removal of these documents by Israeli forces exposed not only the Iranian regime’s perfidy, but also its weakness.
The Jews breached [the regime’s] vaunted defenses and made off with a half ton of incriminating documents without being discovered.
There can be no greater humiliation.
That Israel intended to humiliate the regime is clear from the fact that it went to the trouble of removing hard copies. Glick explains that Israel’s enemies acknowledge its technological prowess, but claim that Israel resorts to cyber warfare and other indirect assaults because it is too afraid to have its soldiers face the enemy on a physical battlefield.
This narrative is undercut by the fact that Israel’s most impressive military victories predate its large technological edge. But myth or not, the narrative is capable of inspiring Israel’s enemies.
The physical seizure and removal from Iranian soil of so much top secret paper required great courage and resourcefulness. Thus, it is likely to demoralize the Iranian regime and the internal forces that back it. By the same token, it’s likely to improve the morale of the regime’s opponents. Indeed, says Glick, there are reports that the Arab world responded with glee to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech.
What about the regime’s internal opponents? According to Glick, anti-regime protest, widely covered in December and January, have not ended. Rather, “they are ongoing – and spreading.”
The seizure and removal of the documents does not alter the imbalance for force in Iran between the regime and the protesters. But, Israel’s stunning intelligence coup and Netanyahu’s humiliation of the regime might well boost protester morale.
It might also cause the regime to lose confidence in itself, or at least cause important forces previously loyal to the mullahs to lose confidence in the regime. A reevaluation my be in order, one that should also take into account the shift in U.S. attitude and policy wrought by President Trump.
Glick describes the new landscape:
The day before Netanyahu made his presentation, massive air strikes attributed to Israel destroyed bases in Hama and Aleppo, Syria, that housed major Iranian assets. One base was a recruitment and training center for Iranian-organized Shiite militias. The other housed 200 precision-guided Iranian missiles.
Whereas Iran responded with threats of retribution after Israel attacked the T-4 airbase outside Palmyra on April 7, its response to Sunday’s attacks was muted.
Between the two attacks, a new reality presented itself to the Iranians.
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the U.S. consistently shielded Iran and its proxies from Israel. In 1982, the US compelled Israel to remove its forces from Beirut. In 2006, the US insisted that Israel accept cease-fire terms in the war with Hezbollah that left Iran’s Lebanese proxy in charge of south Lebanon and paved the way for its takeover of the government in 2008.
During the Obama administration, the U.S. shielded Iran from Israel on multiple fronts. . .[T]he Trump administration has made clear that it has no intention of restraining Israel.
Glick says, and I agree, that the only way to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power without a major war is to overthrow the regime. She believes Netanyahu’s presentation advanced that goal in a profound way.
Let’s hope so.