Why a Military Conflict between Iran and Israel Seems Inevitable https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2021/01/why-a-military-conflict-between-iran-and-israel-seems-inevitable/

January 20, 2021 | Efraim Inbar
About the author: Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS).

Since the year began, the IDF has stepped up its attacks on Iranian positions in Syria, striking more targets and going deeper into Syrian territory than usual. Meanwhile, Tehran has increased its enrichment of uranium, moving ever closer to building nuclear weapons. Efraim Inbar addresses the situation in depth:

The stakes of the ruling elite in Iran in preserving [the] nuclear program are inextricably connected to its political and even physical survival. Therefore, the mullahs are interested in presenting to the world a nuclear fait accompli. Achievement of this goal is facilitated by Western reluctance to use force. . . . The belief that stringent economic sanctions could make Tehran reconsider its nuclear ambitions or bring about regime change is widespread. However, imposing sanctions on Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein for years yielded no results. Similarly, sanctions on North Korea and Russia have not produced change in the behavior of these states.

Iran produces a variety of long-range missiles. . . . It also has developed a cruise missile with a range beyond 2,000 kilometers. [Thus] Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states are within range, as are several important U.S. bases. Further improvements in Iranian missiles could put most European capitals, and eventually the North American continent, within reach of a potential attack.

Despite relentless Israeli attacks, Iran has shown determination to continue with its projects, even though it faces domestic problems as a result of U.S. sanctions, dwindling oil revenues, street protests, a harsh economic reality, and recently a COVID-19 crisis.

Under additional pressure, Iran may revert to a strategy of “talk and build” to buy time. Such a strategy capitalizes on European and American reluctance to escalate. . . . Essentially, inconclusive talks preserve a status quo, a tense standoff in which Iran can go on uninhibited with its nuclear program.

Assuming that Israel has the capability to destroy the key elements of the Iranian program, [doing so] makes eminent strategic sense. Unfortunately, only military action can prevent the descent of the Middle East into an even more brutish and dangerous region.

Read more on Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security: https://jiss.org.il/en/inbar-iran-and-israel-the-inevitable-war/

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