(Jerusalem, Israel) — The plan is set. The air force has trained. Everything is in place. Should Prime Minister Netanyahu order a full scale attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Israeli Defense Forces are ready to go into battle. They are ready to do so alone, without American or other allied support. And Israel will succeed.
This was the message of Netanyahu’s outgoing national security advisor Yaakov Amidror in recent days, and it has Mideast analysts buzzing.
Amidror, a devout Orthodox Jew and long-experienced intelligence analyst, rarely gives interviews and doesn’t do spin. When he starts speaking publicly about a possible Israeli preemptive strike and says, “We are not bluffing,” heads start turning and ears prick up.
Personally, I believe Netanyahu recruited Amidror to help Israel prepare for this moment.
Readers of this blog may recall that almost precisely three years ago — before Amidror was named national security advisor (February 2011) — he spoke at a conference in Washington, D.C. and said he fully expected a war with Iran.
“Technically, Israel will be ready [to strike Iran] if and when the decision will be taken….[but] no one is eager for war with Iran,” Amidror said at the time. “If war with Iran comes, American planes will be used — the question is will it be American pilots or Israeli pilots flying those planes?….It would be a dirty one, a long one, one no one wants to be in….We want to postpone as long as possible….If you ask me for my assessment — and that’s what I have done for 25 years, doing assessments — I believe it is almost impossible to stop Iran without military force.”
Now consider Amidror’s latest statements, given just as he is stepping down from government service after several intense and grueling years in the inner circle.
“An Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear installations would halt Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons ‘for a very long time,’ said Yaakov Amidror who stepped down as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser last week,” reported Haaretz, picking up a “rare interview” Amidror gave to British newspaper the Financial Times.
Key excerpts from the interview:
- Amidror said Netanyahu “is ready to take such decisions” but “the situation will be the determining factor for any prime minister. The situation will dictate actions.”
- He also said the Israeli air force has conducted in recent years “very long-range flights . . . all around the world” as part of preparations for a possible military confrontation with Iran. “From here to Iran, it is 2,000km, and you have to be familiar with such destinations,” Amidror said. “All those who have radar cover of the Middle East know what we are doing.”
- He added: “We are not the United States of America, of course, and believe it or not they have more capabilities than us. But we have enough to stop the Iranians for a very long time.”
- The former national security adviser, who was until recently Netanyahu’s top aide on security matters, was asked if Israel has the capability to hit Iran’s subterranean nuclear sites. “Including everything,” he answered. “We are not bluffing. We are very serious – preparing ourselves for the possibility that Israel will have to defend itself by itself.”
- Amidror addressed the possibility an Israeli strike would trigger a response by Hezbollah, such as the firing of thousands of missiles toward Israel. In that case, Amidror said Israel would have to go on a ground assault into Lebanon and enter urban areas to stop the fire.