Israel’s (Alleged) Nuclear Sabotage Should Be a Reminder of Its Value as an Ally

Aug. 18 2020

On July 2, a mysterious explosion struck the Iranian nuclear facility in the city of Natanz. Informed speculation suggests that a bomb planted by Israeli covert agents may have caused the blast. John Hannah sees in the undisputed fact that Jerusalem is both willing and able to engage in such daring operations evidence of its value as an American ally:

If, as so many suspect, Israel was behind the explosion, it has both inflicted serious damage on Iran’s nuclear program and strengthened America’s diplomatic position in confronting Iran’s efforts at nuclear blackmail. But more than that, the bombing would also emphatically underscore some of the truly extraordinary capabilities that Israel brings to the table of the U.S.-Israel strategic partnership.

The ability to place an agent inside one of the crown jewels of the Iranian nuclear program, much less smuggle in a powerful bomb and detonate it at the point of maximum damage, is an absolutely stunning intelligence accomplishment. It’s not at all clear that there’s another intelligence service in the world, including the United States, that would have been capable of pulling off an operation of such difficulty, danger and daring so flawlessly. Given the downside risks, most probably wouldn’t even have tried.

With Israel’s value as an American ally increasingly up for debate, particularly within the Democratic party, that is a lesson worth highlighting in an election year. The United States has grown tired of the Middle East. It wants to do less there, not more, and divert resources to containing higher priority threats from great-power competitors like China in the Indo-Pacific and Russia in Europe.

But at the same time, America still has important interests in the Middle East that need to be secured—not least preventing a hostile Iran, born in the crucible of “Death to America,” from dominating the region and wielding nuclear weapons. . . . Especially after a two-decade period when the United States spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of lives directly engaging in military conflicts in the region, a $3.8 billion per year investment in Israel, one of the world’s leading military and intelligence powers that is unabashedly pro-American and prepared to act in defense of U.S. interests, looks like an absolute bargain.

Read more at RealClear Defense

More about: Iranian nuclear program, US-Israel relations

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship