Is Israel bluffing on Iran?

When it comes to threatening a massive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities [and by extension launching a full-scale war against Iran and its proxies] is Israel bluffing, or are we really going to do it? If the government believes that it can do it alone, without even informing the Americans, will it? This is what everybody from Washington to Tehran, and everyone in between, wants to know. 

But with all the recent talk of attack, is Israel bluffing?

The question goes to the very heart of how we see ourselves in this neighborhood. Defense Minister Ehud Barak is fond of saying two things: 

1. We’re a villa in the Middle East jungle

2. We’re the strongest power within a 1000 mile radius, including those on the edges of that radius. 

How do we want to be seen? As a country that never, ever bluffs when it comes to its security? Or a country that bluffs sometimes, and sometimes doesn’t? What’s better for our deterrence?

As the New York Times reports:

Israelis like to say that when it comes to military and security operations, those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know.  The standard view has been that successful attacks rely on secrecy and surprise, so the more talk there is about an operation, the less likely it will occur.


This seems to me like classic Ehud Barak. The more we talk about hitting Iran, the more people say that we’re not going to hit them because we don’t actually have a credible military option, so we’re talking a big game to make it seem as if we have a credible military option. And then we attack. It’s reverse-reverse psychology. It’s Ehud Barak.

The sense we’re trying to give you is that we’re crazy; we’re unpredictable. We keep you on your toes. Just like Ehud Barak.

Why else would Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keep Barak around? Because he’s an electoral asset??

“I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do,” President Obama said Sunday in an interview with NBC.

I think the Israelis have made a decision, Mr. President, but they’re just not telling you.

We’re sorry about the unfortunate timing, what with the U.S. election looming and the global economy “hanging by a razor’s edge.”

But these things really are not all that important to us. Elections come and go. Economies go and up down in cycles. We’re interested in the price of our blood, not the price of your oil.

We’re talking about our lives here.

If anyone is bluffing, Israeli security officials believe it’s the Iranians, with their threats of massive retaliation.

A top security official tells me that Iran’s retaliation will likely be a combination of Argentina in 1994, Iraq in 1991 and Lebanon 2006. Take these three things and multiply them by three – that’s all they’ve got. They can’t send divisions to our borders – they’ll die in the desert. They can’t choke the world with their navy.   

Personally, I don’t think the Israeli government is bluffing. 

0 thoughts on “Is Israel bluffing on Iran?

  1. The Iranians have nothing. They are a bankrupt nation. And their own population and army will not support the madman Ahmidinajab who they want to disappear as much as the rest of the world. Israel is not bluffing. If Netnayahu feels he is facing a credible threat he will move. The US says they do not yet have the “bunker Busting” bomb which can penetrate the Iranian nuclear facilities. If you’ll notice, Israel has said no such thing. As they’ve been killing off Iranian nuclear engineers they have been refining this bomb. Israel will not sit idly by and become Poland in the summer of 1939, waiting for annihilation. Israel’s existence is at stake and they will go if they have to.

  2. Quite frankly, who in their right mind would consider an attack on Iran, which means a further unsettling of the Middle East and increased hatred of Israel? There are millions of Iranians who, just like the rest of us, wish to live in peace with our neighbours and the rest of the world. Who cares about who is more powerful? Israel with its endless paranoia, attacking others and posing as the victim, backed by all the weapons it receives from the US and their German submarines, etc.? With their nuclear weapons, that only they are allowed to have, god forbid that anyone else should have them! If you really believe noone will support Ahmidinajab, why consider attacking Iran? Israel’s manipulation of data on Iran’s progress as a nuclear-armed nation and their long range missiles that could reach America, which many experts say is untrue and unfounded, should be enough to make any sensible person pause and reconsider…
    Quite frankly, when one takes a sober look at Iran and Israel (and their powerful supporters in the USA), one doesn’t see that much difference in terms of madness.

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