Iran Attack: Too Big for Israel

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Left-wing Israelis protest in Tel Aviv on 16 August 2012, against Israel mounting a military strike on Iran. Arabic writing on placard (R) reads: "No to War." (Photo: AFP - Menahem Kahana)

By: Amal Saad-Ghorayeb

Published Monday, August 20, 2012

Despite Israeli media clamour last week about an imminent Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran seems unperturbed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s and defense minister Ehud Barak’s recent threats. Iran’s defense minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi dismissed Israeli threats as “psychological warfare”, while Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast insisted Iran wasn’t “taking these claims very seriously,” arguing that “Even if some officials in the illegitimate regime (Israel) want to carry out such a stupid action, there are those inside (the Israeli government) who won't allow it because they know they would suffer very severe consequences from such an act."

Aside from belittling what Iran perceives as just another empty Israeli threat, another reason for the Islamic Republic’s dismissive attitude is its confidence in its ability to absorb and respond to such an attack. As acknowledged by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign, Colin Kahl, “They think it will not hurt them that badly.” In part, Iran’s self-assured stand derives from the strategic value of the 2006 July War in Lebanon; a value which holds whether it serves to deter an Israeli or US strike or to prepare Iran and its most trusted ally, Hezbollah, for retaliation.

While the July War has been widely identified as a “proxy war” between the US and Iran, a more accurate depiction would be that the war represented a “dry run” for Washington and Tel Aviv on the one side, and Tehran on the other.

Although the Bush administration helped Israel pre-plan the war on Hezbollah, it was motivated primarily by its intention of carrying out a rehearsal strike on Iran. As disclosed by senior US officials to Seymour Hersh, an Israeli bombing campaign was envisaged as one which would “ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations.” In this manner, the US and Israel could rehearse for a planned attack on Iran while clearing Hezbollah’s arms out of the way as a means of preempting its anticipated retaliation. However, given the evident failure of this policy, and the “surprising success of Hezbollah’s resistance,” proponents of this plan suffered “a massive setback.”

In effect, what was originally designed to be a dry run for Iran, it became an Iranian demo for the US and Israel on how the Islamic Republic could thwart an invasion or attack by either party. Iran could now use the Hezbollah template to demonstrate how its enemies would fare if they executed a planned attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Hossein Shariatmadari, managing editor of Kayhan and advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei sums up Tehran’s logic: “If anything happened, the Americans and Israelis would regret it. Hezbollah is just a sample of what could happen. We can compare it to what we can do.”

The deterrent value of Hezbollah’s combat performance in the war was all too evident in the threat made by commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, that Iran would “make the United States regret any such undertaking and desist from repeating it. The best and prominent example of what I say is the July War…”

In inflicting defeat upon Israel, Hezbollah’s resistance set a precedent for any US or Israeli planned aggression against the Islamic Republic – a fact registered by Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah himself. In a rare public admission of how the war strategically benefited Iran, the Hezbollah Secretary-General advertized that “the chances of America’s war on Iran have diminished after the lesson of Lebanon.” In fact, Barak confirmed this himself last week when he admitted that “the shock of the 2006 war is the reason the army high command is opposed to attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Implicit in all these threats and acknowledgements of Iran’s use of Hezbollah’s military prowess as a dry run against the US is the close military cooperation between the two sides, thus re-affirming the thesis that the political and military advantages derived from the Iran-Hezbollah relationship benefit both actors equally. This reasoning is used by Iran’s political establishment – which overwhelmingly advocates continued support for Hezbollah – to persuade others in the country who question the wisdom of this assistance, that Iran’s investment in the organization has clearly paid off. Moreover, foreign policy radicals invoke the Hezbollah experience to inspire confidence in their country’s military capabilities vis-à-vis the US and Israel.

Given the imbalance in power between its own army and the US military, Iran has been crafting an asymmetrical national security strategy in preparing itself for the prospect of a US or Israel launched offensive, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at its centerpiece. On the report of the US Center for Naval Analysis, “the IRGC has been systematically equipping, organizing, and retraining its forces to fight decentralized partisan and guerrilla warfare.” This claim is substantiated by Jafari’s affirmation that “we can nullify their military superiority” using “the same strategies” as Hezbollah did in the July War.

In pursuing such a strategy, Tehran has confirmed the worst fears of many in the US military establishment who believe that Hezbollah’s hybrid model will be replicated among both non-state and state actors, in other theaters of conflict involving the US or Israel. Proponents of this view maintain that non-state actors such as Hamas will emulate the conventional aspects of the Hezbollah hybrid, while enemy states like Iran and Syria will borrow its unconventional methods. So paradigm-breaking has the Hezbollah “school of warfare” proven to be, that the Pentagon is now split between repositioning the army for irregular warfare and counter-insurgency and refocusing its efforts on conventional methods better suited to fighting anticipated “hybrid threats.”

As a force which combines conventional army units, and with units trained in covert missions and asymmetric warfare, the IRGC is well-suited for this kind of warfare and along with the Iran’s regular army, the “Artesh,” will purportedly combine its conventional capabilities with unconventional ones, along the same lines as Hezbollah. To that end, Iran’s military forces are presumed to be developing guerrilla-style tactics, including “deception, concealment, and camouflage methods.” They are also believed to be training their forces in “layered” or “mosaic” defense using small “cells” who would be entrusted with the function of attacking “lines of supply and communication, striking at elements in rear areas, and conducting ambushes on combat troops.” In the event of a US occupation of Iran, all of the country’s military forces are now trained to fight a decentralized war of attrition to liberate occupied territory with independent units.

Another component of this asymmetrical strategy is the use of “proxy actors” in neighboring countries and elsewhere who could conceivably “provide the Islamic Republic with a measure of strategic depth it otherwise lacks.” Lending credence to such speculation is Jafari’s threat to use “capabilities that the Islamic world and especially the Shia world has in the region” against the invaders. Aside from its Shia allies in Iraq, which Iran has tacitly threatened to unleash, as well as groups in neighboring Afghanistan, Tehran is widely believed to be relying on the services of Hezbollah.

The Lebanese movement’s close proximity to Israel renders it Iran’s first line of defense against the Zionist regime. According to this view, Hezbollah would open a front with Israel in order to raise the stakes in the event of a strike against Iran. As admonished by an Israeli official, "Hezbollah is the long arm of Iran," which will “undoubtedly barrage Israel with thousands of missiles… Hezbollah could cover Israel with rockets." Hezbollah’s deterrent value was further noted by the Israeli daily, Yediot Ahronot, which recently observed: “While senior security establishment officials vehemently warn against the ramifications of a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, security and government assessments indicate that the biggest threat to Israel is a deadly response from Iran's ally Hezbollah.”

Indeed, one of the motivations behind the US’ underwriting of the July War was to neutralize Iran’s deterrence capability in the region. Hersh’s sources echo this logic: “If there was to be a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hezbollah could use in a potential retaliation at Israel.” Mohsen Rezai, the former head of the IRGC, drew a similar conclusion about the causes underlying the July War in an interview where he alluded to the notion that Hezbollah had a significant deterrence value for Iran: “Israel and the US knew that as long as Hamas and Hezbollah were there, confronting Iran would be costly. So, to deal with Iran, they first want to eliminate forces close to Iran that are in Lebanon and Palestine.”

However, seeing as the war left Hezbollah even stronger militarily with an expanded weapons’ arsenal, Israeli officials regard a war against the movement as integral to any plan to attack Iran. This line of thinking is illustrated by former Mossad head Danny Yatom’s assertion that striking at Hezbollah was an inevitability in such a scenario: “We are liable to destroy, or likely to destroy, parts of Lebanon, and parts of Gaza, so that our citizens will not suffer and be killed.”

To date, Hezbollah officials have not confirmed such expectations, preferring to remain cryptic on the issue. In a 2009 interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Qasim suggested that Hezbollah’s reaction was contingent on the nature and scope of the attack, though he refrained from specifying what form or shape that reaction would take, contending that “ambiguity gives more strength to the resistance.” Likewise, in an earlier talk with this author, Qasim affirmed that a US or Israeli offensive against Iran could set the stage for a wider regional war if Israel preemptively attacked Lebanon. Clearer still, was Qasim’s conviction that, “It cannot strike Iran but not Lebanon,” hinting at the inevitability of Hezbollah being dragged into the conflict and assuming the role of Iran’s second line of defense against military onslaught.

Doubtless, it is considerations such as these which underlie Nasrallah’s declaration in February this year that: “Iran will not request anything from Hezbollah and will not desire anything. When this day comes, we are the ones who will sit down and decide what to do.” But given Israeli officials’ repeated references to a strike on Iran as a “wider regional war,” and considering how the fates of Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine have become inextricably bound together, Hezbollah will most likely find itself with no choice but to respond to an Israeli strike on Iran.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb is a Lebanese academic and political analyst. She is author of the book, “Hizbullah: Politics and Religion,” and blogger at ASG’s Counter-Hegemony Unit.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar's editorial policy.

Comments

TO person who does NOT the DIFFRENCE between GAZZA AND GHANA!
herewith a small proof that Zionist entity is FRONTAGE of the west!
1. Why would Zionist entity threaten Iran, answer thus the military industrial complexes which are short of funds can sell their junk arms to saudia,kuwaitis,qataris despots,
2.Africa is place where MOSSAD/CIA/MI6/French secret services are well entrenched and they control vast networks of various outfits which is virtually ROBBING AND CARTING OF NATURAL RESOURCES MOSSAD IS LEADER IN THE GAME give example RWANDA,UGANDA plays ACTIVE ROLE IN STOLEN GOLD! DIAMONDS RARE EARTHS FRON THE EASTERN CONGO AND DIAMONDS FROM SIERRA LEONE ETC

answer to person who DOES NOT the DIFFRENCE between GAZZA and GHANA!
You are using clever PHYSOCOLOGY to justify zionist entity!
Suddenly, you are saying that zionism existed during Pharos times! So what!
Core issue is so called Zionist who are SQUATTING ON PALESTINIAN LAND NEVER HAD ANY ROOTS THERE EVER!

Gazza not Ghana sorry typo!!

Israel will not attack Iran for now what they r doing is trying to pressure Obama to give Iran n the US a deadline to interfere military if they cannot solve the Iranian nuclear file soon! N the timing of Netanyahu is priceless the US is on the door of presidential elections! Mainly this political maneuver is directed toward the US to put some more pressure on the Obama administration to squeeze some promises out of it!!!

Second Israel will not take a risk unless the US is backing it up because then it will have the frontiers with Lebanon (Hezbollah) n the one in Ghana (Hamas) open n in war while they fight Iran as well, a war that will cost about 40 billion dollars!!! In this economy! I don't see the logic in it! N they are not idiots! Add to that that's not how the Israeli work they usually hit silently when they think is fit they don't go hysterical about it all over the media! It's not because they are waiting orders from the US but because they can't do it Israel still lacks heavy bombers n it cannot fight 3 sides at the same time!
If u wanna hit an enemy lol y ruin the element of surprise n even give time frames to ur military operation?

I think it's a psychological war as well other then pressuring the US!

Concerning the last comment I read:
Zionist Entity is not a frontage of the west! U need to read a book called principle of zion! Zionism goes back to the times before the Pharos times!

But capitalism is tied to Zionism, the biggest capitalist in the world n the CEO of the biggest companies are tied to jewish names! But there s a difference between Judaism n Zionism. the first is a religion the second Is a movement n even Zionism is divided into the following

Labor Zionism
Liberal Zionism
Nationalist Zionism
Religious Zionism
Green Zionism
Neo-Zionism and Post-Zionism

Zionism and Haredi Judaism

Most Haredi Orthodox organizations do not belong to the Zionist movement; they view Zionism as secular, reject nationalism as a doctrine and consider Judaism to be first and foremost a religion. However, some Haredi movements such as Shas do openly affiliate with the Zionist movement.

Then u have:
Christian Zionism which is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. It overlaps with, but is distinct from, the nineteenth century movement for the Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land, which had both religiously and politically motivated supporters.
Some Christian Zionists believe that the "ingathering" of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. This belief is primarily, though not exclusively, associated with Christian Dispensationalism. The idea that Christians should actively support a Jewish return to the Land of Israel, along with the parallel idea that the Jews ought to be encouraged to become Christian, as a means fulfilling a Biblical prophecy has been common in Protestant circles since the Reformation

Now the link between all these info:
Britain is Protestant so is the US especially back in the mid 20ths century where emigration of the Arabs was so rare n even Catholics European.
Going back to the british history Britain was catholic first until king Henry defied the church so that he can divorce his wife and marry Ann Boleyn (who gave birth to Elisabeth Queen of England later on Ann was executed later on)! Thus Britain turned Protestant

Americans are of Protestant majority, n most republican (from republican party) are conservative Christians Protestant/baptist etc etc most of them support Israel.

So u cannot say that Zionism is a front of the west it's historically incorrect, and ur argument is not based on facts rather hear-says n emotions.

They are correlated though!!

Again please make sure to note that there's a difference between Zionism n Judaism. And being a Jewish does not mean that he or she are zionists!

I can understand the Muslims and Arabs feelings toward Israelis, but hatred should not be aimed at every Jew. There's a story about sayyedna Mouhamad sallah al Allah alayhi w sallam that is the following:
Every day the prophet used to find a garbage bag next to his door his Jewish neighbor used to throw it at his doorstep n every day the prophesy used to take the garbage bag n throw it in the city garbage! One day he didn't find a garbage bag on his door step so he knocked on his neighbor's door to ask bout him turned out he was sick
So the prophet went n got him some food and medicine
The Jewish neighbor asked him why are u treating me well after I threw all these garbage bags at ur door
The prophet explained to him that it is in his ethics n his religion's ethics to do so!
The prophet was known for his high ethics it s something that Muslims seem to forget.
The Jew converted to Islam later on because of the prophet's principles n high morality!

That being said the Israelis are treating Arabs n dealing with them with disdain n they are forcing themselves on a land owned by the Palestinians but a lot of Israeli families been living there for decades now so the situation is very complex! I think if the Israeli tone changes with the Arabs a lot of ppl will be in favor of peace between the Jews as Jews not Zionist and the Arabs. Muslims n Jews have so much in common be it history or traditions. Even looks wise. We both consider Abraham to us Muslims Abraham is the father of all prophets one of his sons Isaac is the father of Israeili's and his other son the father of Arabs. And both are honored in Christianity!

But extremism be it jewish christian or muslim stand in the face of any religion
I had the ultimate pleasure of reading the 3 holly books of the 3 religions! Along side with a lot of history books, books about extremist movement n psychological books about human behavior!
All these religions abhors violence n all these religions have paragraphs, wordes and phrases that can easily be taken out of context!
Especially in Arabic the same word can have so many different meanings if pronounced in a different way!

My point is that all 3 religions they do not have a how to act list or what to do! They do not exactly tell us what we should do! Except for major issue: do not kill do not lie do not steel etc etc
But what they do is give us a choice! There's always a choice of punishing the person who did a wrong thing or forgive him! N sometimes punishment is necessary but they again give us a choice "to which extent?"
Therefor it comes down to us as human beings to make that choice!
Everyone makes mistakes N all 3 religions establish that it is the nature of the human being but what is important is to acknowledge these mistakes n ask forgiveness between God n urself!

Extremism is not being a true Muslim or a true Christian or a true Jew!
There s an Ayah in the Quran that says:
If a Muslim is to chose who to defend between a Muslim extremist and a Jew or a Christian he will have to defend the Jew or the Christian because no extremism is loved by God/Allah it's the same name ppl one in Arabic the other in English! Same as when u say My Lord and Rabbi !!!
To Islam extremism is the biggest insult to God n religion! I wish people can remember that!

70% of iran's state revenue is from oil exports. so a couple bombs to cripple the ports and exporting stations and iran will collapse on its own out of starvation.

thank you Ben Sabih, you have CONFIRMED ONE IMPORTANT FACT THAT I HAVE SAYING SINCE It came into existance that zionist entity is FRONTAGE of the west with moving goal post!
its true power is in Washington with sub poweri in London ,Paris and lately in Berlin!
Turkey has NOW BEEN DRAFTED INTO THIS GAME AS REAR END ATTACKER!
with sudis and Qatari money the Zionist are using Arabs as cannon fodders!
I.e in MILITARY TERMS A DRY RUN'

The details of an Israeli attack on Iran are revealed in Jonathan Bloomfield’s book, “Palestine.”

It must be remembered that Israel is not really an independent state.

Generally on war issues, Israel has leave to take decisions just as much as a guided missile has. Remember IDF entrance to Beit Hanoun in April 2001 "for a few weeks" as senior officers maintained? Only one day after that came the correcting instruction from Washington and the proud IDF folded its tail and went home.

But on an issue such as attack on Iran, with all its global consequences, Israel has no say at all. The IAF movements are monitored and stoppable at any point in time by Washington. This was well demonstrated in the first Gulf war when Israel, led then by the real hardliner Y. Shamir, suffered a barrage of missiles. IAF officers were hot on bombing Iraq, alas they were strictly instructed by Bush the father to sit and do nothing.

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