Iran’s nuclear programme and Israel’s options

Israel has invested a huge – and I mean very, very huge – sum of money in preparing itself for the minute the cabinet will decide that nothing that else will stop the Iranian military nuclear programme, and that only force – brutal force – will do it.

Much of that sum went to the Israeli air force (IAF). Millions of words have been written in recent months about the military options Israel has in that context.

The media has uncovered that there is no consensus about a planned military operation against Iranian nuclear installations. The conflicting thoughts are in the Israel defence establishment, and among people that until recently were in very high and sensitive positions in that establishment.

Back to the IAF. It can be assumed that much of the above-mentioned investment was channeled to the IAF.

The distance from Israel to Iran is approximately 1,300km (807 miles), and only this makes every plan complicated.

So far Israel has agreed to wait until the international sanctions imposed on Iran work, but the IAF must keep its options open – and that takes a lot of money. In this situation many procurement plans for the Israeli navy and ground forces were put on hold.

As a matter of fact, the opinion of one man at the end of the process will tip the scale. This man is IAF commander Maj Gen Amir Eshel – he will have to tell the cabinet if the IAF can take a major part in an operation against Iranian nuclear sites.

This situation is abnormal as Israel faces threats not only from the air, and an air force cannot be the only defensive tool of a country, but in recent years most of the procurement budget was used by the IAF.

The problem has reached a size where it must be solved – and soon.

Will it? Who can foresee what politicians are going to do.

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