While officials in Jerusalem have been tightlipped about what capabilities they have to destroy the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities, there is no doubt that doing so will be a more difficult task than destroying Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 or the Syrian reactor in 2007. Moreover, the closer Tehran gets to developing atomic weapons, the harder the mission becomes. The IDF, meanwhile, has not succeeded in driving Iran out of Syria, even if its air campaign has prevented a major weapons buildup there. Reuel Marc Gerecht takes stock of this perilous situation:
The Biden administration’s attempt to bribe Iran to restrain its nuclear growth (which is essentially what the recent $6 billion hostage payment was), and the decision not to enforce sanctions against Iran’s increasing oil trade in the Far East, will further complicate and depress Israeli strategies for confronting the theocracy. American choices and Israeli limitations alone likely oblige Jerusalem to default to mutually assured destruction as the only possibly effective anti-Iran doctrine.
The Islamic Republic is now a nuclear-threshold state. It has a large stockpile of enriched uranium, advanced centrifuges operating in underground facilities that could quickly enhance uranium to bomb-grade, and physicists and engineers who are sufficiently competent to construct an atomic trigger. The Israelis know from the stolen nuclear archives that Iranian designs for a trigger are good enough. Given the routine, extensive military exchanges between Russia and Iran, it’s reasonable to assume that if Iranian engineers are somehow lacking in expertise, the Russians have helped to solve persisting problems. The Islamic Republic going nuclear doesn’t diminish Moscow; it does diminish the United States. The United States is indirectly at war with Vladimir Putin, and he wants ways to get even.
The Arabs who fear a nuclear Islamic Republic will ineluctably draw closer to China and Russia, who both have become significant patrons of the clerical regime. . . . Despite the omnipresent conspiracy theories about Israel and Jewish power circulating in the Middle East, it’s a good guess that few among the Arab elite now think Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear sites. That assessment has . . . also been priced into Washington’s behavior: the Biden administration shows none of the nervousness toward Israel that the Obama crowd did before the nuclear deal’s diplomacy started.
Read more on Dispatch: https://thedispatch.com/article/israel-missed-its-moment/