It wasn’t the satellite images of the Negev Nuclear Research Center, leaked on Thursday, that made the story. The timing of the leak did. Someone is sending a clear message to the world.
It is safe to assume that Israel has brought the military option for a possible clash with Iran back to the table. Otherwise, to what can we attribute the out-of-the-blue surfacing of the satellite images of the construction project in the Negev Nuclear Research Center on Thursday?
It was not the facts that made the story, but the timing at which they leaked. Someone is sending a clear message to the world: Israel is sharpening its sword.
Who is responsible for sending the message? IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said a month ago, “I instructed the IDF to prepare several operational plans beyond the existing ones.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out several times that he opposed the Biden administration’s plan to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The IDF, the Mossad, the Foreign Ministry, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi agree. So do Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat, and the entire Israeli echelon.
Every leader also agrees that at this stage, Israel should give a chance to the close dialogue it already conducts with the United States. Netanyahu has spoken with US President Joe Biden on the matter at length, so did Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Ben-Shabbat has been in touch with his US counterpart Jake Sullivan, and Erdan spoke in front of the White House and the State Department several times.
Presenting the US with compelling reasons as to why returning to the nuclear deal would be the wrong move, coupled with Iran’s current stubbornness, may cause the Biden administration to rethink its stand on the matter. This is what the Israeli officials hope will happen, and it is also reflected in the crucial discussion Netanyahu held earlier this week.
In contrast to anonymous sources that claimed the political echelon clashed with each other with regards to Iran, we discovered that in reality, there were very few such disagreements. Views might have differed as to how to persuade America to change its mind, but they all see eye to eye that convincing America is crucial.
Seeing as the leaders agree on this, the IDF is preparing to take independent action in case Iran does end up using its nuclear weapons, and the US stands by.
Experience shows that threats achieve results. In his book A Promised Land, President Barack Obama admitted that one of the most critical considerations that led him was the fear of an Israeli attack on Iran.
Israel saw an existential threat in Iran and has allegedly prepared plans for a possible pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, the president wrote.
Any action, reaction, or irrational move could have dragged the Middle East and the US into further conflict, Obama claimed in the book.
Israel is now preparing for all scenarios. And it’s not shy about warning the world, and especially Biden and Iran, about it.