Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Friday, January 1, that the country’s military is preparing for the possibility of a strike against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq or Yemen. The army held discussions last week about possible attacks against Israel, including missile and drone strikes, by Iraqi militias and Houthi groups in Yemen.
Kan’s report on Friday echoed comments made last week by the Israeli military spokesperson, Hidai Zilberman, who told the Saudi news outlet Elaph that the army was not aware of any specific plans by Iran to attack Israel, “but that Iranian forces could carry out an attack from Iraq or Yemen” [Editor: our emphasis]. He said Israel “had information” indicating Iran was developing unmanned aerial vehicles and “smart missiles” in Iraq and Yemen, and that the weapons could have the ability to strike Israel. Zilberman said Israel was tracking Iranian movements around the region, and that Israeli submarines were quietly “sailing everywhere.”
As this highly classified information has so uncharacteristically been made public by Israel, and given the timing, i.e., the running out of the clock on the US administration of President Donald Trump, such announcements can be interpreted in one of at least two possible ways: at face value or as sowing the seeds for an attack on Israel from Iraq or Yemen, the executors of which may in fact actually be groups aligned with the US-led anti-Iranian coalition at the behest of their American patron and Israeli ally. Such a “false flag” attack would most certainly provoke a military response by Israel, which conceivably would involve the striking of Iranian forces proper, in Syria (for which there are numerous precedents), Iraq or Yemen (or any combination of the above), but would likely open the door to an escalation that would make “fair game” of targets within or Iran itself, the most significant being the nuclear facilities in Tehran. All of this before Trump leaves the Oval Office.
On Saturday night, far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that he recently visited several Arab countries, in apparent reference to his trip last month to Saudi Arabia. “I recently visited other countries and like I couldn’t say then about the Emirates, I can’t specify right now,” he told officials from his Likud party, according to leaks made by participants in the meeting.
Given the plethora of American and Israeli diplomatic activity in recent months involving the “normalization” of relations between the latter and three reactionary Arab regimes in the Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman), and Morocco in North Africa, the benefit of hindsight is not even necessary to speculate about the motives for these “diplomatic breakthroughs for peace” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu crows about at every possible opportunity: from the very beginning these relations have been presented to the Israeli public and world public opinion as strategic moves to create a united anti-Iranian front. And if the Iranians have been sophisticated enough until now not to take the bait so neatly placed for them in the trap set by by the US and Israel (e.g., America’s assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani a year ago in Iraq; Israel’s liquidation of the head of the Iranian nuclear program, Muhsin Fahirzadeh, on November 27), and have refrained from a “proportionate response” that might expose their queen, such finesse cannot be similarly attributed to the American and Israeli moves. Rather the strategic goals of the latter two have been egregiously transparent all along: to destroy Iranian’s nuclear capability and, in time, to topple the regime in Tehran and replace it with one more compliant with US imperatives.
However, if Iran is intentionally constraining itself to wait until the current administration comes to an end, with the hope that Biden will have the US rejoin the multilateral Iran nuclear accords of 2015 and lift at least some of the sanctions Trump unilaterally imposed on Iran, the Americans and Israelis seem to be seriously considering going a different route so as to leave nothing to chance: namely attribute an attack on Israel to Iranian-backed militias, retaliate, escalate and risk an all out regional war launched (but far from concluded) during the watch of Israel’s favorite US president – Donald J. Trump.
The possibility of conducting such a “false flag” operation does not seem at all implausible, following the astoundingly open admission by Israel’s military spokesperson last Friday, that the country’s military is preparing a strike against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq or Yemen as noted above; not at all, considering the numerous meetings held recently between senior officers in the Israeli military with their counterparts at US Central Command, aimed at tightening the links between the two armed forces against Iran, as was reported last week by Haaretz. On Friday, December 18, Israel’s Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz met with the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley who had arrived in Israel for a two-day visit a day earlier. During his visit, Milley met with a number of top Israeli military officials, including the army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi. Hours later Milley met with Israel’s far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These consultations come during a period of only a few weeks that has witnessed three separate deployments of American bombers to the Gulf region; maneuvers that add considerable credence to the speculation that that US President Donald Trump plans to “go out with a bang” and, by hook or by crook, take military action against Tehran before President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20. For Netanyahu this would be the ultimate prize; for Trump, the ultimate revenge.
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