Military Option on the Table for Iran
By Sarah Ann Haves
While the United States works feverishly to try and stop Iran’s nuclear military program through diplomacy, Israel is preparing for military action. A recent report suggests that Iran could reach the nuclear breakout stage in a month’s time. Israel says that half of Iran’s centrifuges would have to be destroyed to slow down Iran’s quest to build a nuclear bomb. Israel fears that Iran will be able to go from the breakout stage to becoming a nuclear power in a short period of time without being detected by international intelligence agencies. Therefore, Israeli leaders are taking no chances and are letting the world know of Israel’s advanced military capabilities.
the world know…
In early October, Israel’s Air Force (IAF) carried out practice exercises on long-range missions, including midair refueling of fighter jets. In the event of a war with Iran, Israel would need to be prepared for such missions far from the homeland. Air Force officials tested the capabilities of IAF squadrons to see how well they operated on long-range flights. One of the goals of the IAF is to be prepared to carry out pinpoint accuracy on enemy targets. While IAF training for long distances has been conducted on a regular basis for years, the Israeli government is currently voicing its pride in its fighter pilots as a display of the nation’s strength and resolve.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz is known for springing surprises on IDF units in order to get them ready for future conflicts. Yet, the IAF seems to be in a high state of preparedness. Israeli Air Force officials continue to run through tests with fighter pilots who are conducting long-distance sorties, and they coordinate these missions with those overseeing their Command and Control Center. Weather conditions, unfamiliar terrain, and unknown threats over vulnerable skies are all included in operational plans during these exercises. In the event that Israel would have to confront Iran, part of the mission deals with fighter pilots logging in long hours which include great demands on their minds and bodies to prepare for such a challenge.
Recently, Israeli President Shimon Peres commented on the superior performances of Israel’s Air Force and Squadron Commanders in a comprehensive briefing. The briefing included strategic and tactical operations of the IAF. Peres explained that some of the IDF and IAF missions are hidden from public view. “Whoever derides us and seeks to harass us should take this into account…The Israeli air force is the best air force in the world. We have unique systems. The air force is equipped with the most advanced technology.” Peres took pride in Israel’s IAF pilots who are dedicated to defending the country.
Meanwhile, Israel has long been considered a world leader in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology market. Israel pioneered its drone technology years ago using drones in military operations in Lebanon. Drones helped direct Israeli soldiers in urban warfare in Gaza, as well. Israel is now developing drones that would eventually be able to carry out battlefield operations, decreasing the need for manned vehicles. But, Israeli officials say that piloted planes will still be necessary, especially to carry heavy payloads like bunker busters. Some analysts believe that Israel will need the help of the United States military to hit Iran’s underground nuclear facilities, if war is on the horizon. In the meantime, Israel’s Air Force seems confident it can do the job needed.
Gantz spoke of the IAF’s readiness at the Palmachim Air Force Base briefing. “We are ready 365 days a year, at any range, and in the face of any challenge. We know how to give intelligence, operational and tactical responsibilities against any threat. The Air Force is the main system for deterrence, offensive and defensive action, and has fantastic technological abilities as may be required of such a qualitative body.”
Among others who spoke at the briefing was GOC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel. He declared that, “The Air Force is the IDF’s decisive arm and the arm of deterrence and defense…Today, it is aerial strength and flexibility, and its capabilities are more relevant than ever.”
Earlier this year, reports indicated that IAF squadrons were being downsized along with tank units and artillery corps as the IDF looked for ways to cut Israel’s defense budget. But, at the same time, the IDF has tried to increase its firepower, its intelligence, and its defense technologies. One of Israel’s main goals over the next few years is to acquire the American F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The cost has gone up considerably in delays on the release of the jet fighter, and Israel is looking to get a better deal from U.S. officials as the two countries work behind the scenes to contain Iran’s nuclear program. If military action is necessary Israel can only hope the U.S. will get involved.
As American and European leaders prepare for more diplomatic talks with Tehran’s leaders, and the U.S. Senate considers toughening sanctions against Iran, Israel continues to flex its military muscle. Israeli leaders are letting the world know that the military option is very much on the table if Iran does not comply with Western demands. IAF preparations are in place as Israel puts the world on notice that there’s not much time left for on-going negotiations.
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