I cringe when I have to write blog posts like this because with every fiber of my body, I do not want a war between Iran and Israel and the concomitant regional hostilities likely to break out thereafter. I realize that any reporting that encourages such speculation only fuels the interests of Israel as I’ve noticed in the Psy-Ops activities discussed here along those same lines. But then again, as Trita Parsi mentioned to me the last time we spoke, it is possible that Israel DOES intend to attack Iran and that the games its intelligence operatives are playing are part of this weird scenario. So I put this out there with foreboding and a warning that posts like this may be just what Israeli intelligence wishes to be posted to scare the shit out of the Iranians, Syrians and Lebanese (specifically Hezbollah).
A week ago or so I reported a major IDF training exercise in the north involving major movements of armor from home bases farther south to staging areas in the north. I speculated that if the armor remained in the staging areas after the operation concluded this might mean that Israel was preparing for actual military operations either in Lebanon or Syria. I have not heard about movements of the equipment after conclusion of the operation. But I have received further reports that, depending on how they’re interpreted, could be cause for alarm.
An Australian aeronautical engineer notes that the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, as required by law, three weeks ago publicly announced that Israel completed a massive purchase of military fuels (official order) including jet fuel worth $2 billion. He notes that Israel would require an enormous quantity of jet fuel to mount an Iran attack and that this purchase gets Israel most of the way there. But he also notes other types of fuels in the order which are not for aircraft:
If Israel were planning to strike Iran then that would explain the requirement for the large amounts of JP-8 fuel. However, it does not explain Israel’s need for such large amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel since an Israeli strike against Iran is unlikely to include any type of ground incursion into Iran for which these fuels would be used. The only conclusion one can draw, if Israel is not planning to actually invade Iran, which, clearly, it could not, is that Israel is planning to use the gasoline and the diesel fuel for some other ground incursion – and that can only mean an invasion of Lebanon and possibly the Gaza and West Bank when an attack against Iran is launched.
This massive order begs the question; is the final confrontation imminent? And, if not, then what is all this fuel for?
Time will tell. Jet fuel, if it’s going to be used in peak condition, doesn’t have a very long shelf life.
So, as I mentioned in my earlier post about the training exercise, it could be that Israel IS planning to attack Iran and is preparing for the accompanying border unrest with Hezbollah in Lebanon and possibly Syria (one strange purpose of the exercise according to the press was to prepare for massive unrest amongst the Israeli Palestinian population which has never, to my knowledge, engaged in unrest during any previous Israeli military operations). I have to say that I find all of this highly difficult to credit considering the enormous amount of personnel on multiple military fronts that the IDF would be required to coordinate. Not since the 1973 War has Israel fought on such multiple battlefields and I can’t imagine it would relish the prospect of doing so now considering it hasn’t shown itself terribly competent recently fighting on even one front (cf. Lebanon and Gaza). While militants in Gaza could not mount any more than a symbolic resistance with rocket attacks on southern Israel, Hezbollah could, as it did in 2006 throw the fear of God into the entire region of northern Israel and send 1 million Israelis once again into shelters for weeks on end.
Haaretz reports, based on a Kuwaiti story, that Israel is preparing to attack Hezbollah military targets inside Syria which, if true, fits into the narrative I’ve outlined above:
Israel is planning to attack Hezbollah arms depots and weapons manufacturing plants in Syria, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported on Saturday. The report is based on Western sources who asserted that Israel has increased its military force level along the northern border in the Golan Heights and Mount Dov areas. The report cited European sources who claimed that recent Israeli unmanned aerial drone flights over Lebanon and Syria signal Israel’s intentions to carry out operations in the area…According to the report, Israel plans to attack Hezbollah weapons depots, including ones deep inside Syria that store long-range rockets.
The Al Rai report said that the situation on the Israel-Syria border is tense and that Syria could respond immediately to any Israeli attack and not demonstrate the restraint that it did after the Israeli Air Force bombed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria in the fall of 2007.
According to the report, Syria’s military is on high alert and is strengthening its anti-aircraft defenses along the border with Israel and at strategic sites within Syria.
The original Al Rai story includes this telling piece of information:
“Western military reports reveal that Israel massed in the last days an armed division, in addition to a similar division that was already in place in the Golan Heights and around Shebaa farms.”
If Israel does attack Iran, it goes without saying that Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts are dead probably for the remaining duration of Obama’s term. That’s one reason I can’t imagine that the U.S. would begin to consider allowing such an Israeli attack. Which is why I scratch my head at the U.S. facilitating the fuel purchase. How can we provide Israel with the necessary tools for an attack when it would undermine our stated policy supporting peace talks?
A further caveat: all of the information presented here except the fuel sale is speculative and prone to various interpretations. So I hesitate to shout from the rooftops about a coming Israeli Middle East military adventure. But we must be prepared for the eventuality should such a disaster occur.