The planned meeting later today between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not change the fact. The “smiles campaign” initiated by Iran will start a new arms race in the Middle East.
This became clear to Israel and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia immediately after Obama’s telephone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on 27 September.
The situation was plain. Military action by the US against the Iranian nuclear programme is off the table.
And that can only mean one thing – that Israel and Gulf states will try to be better ready for the day Tehran has the bomb.
The effects will be varied. Some are not discussed openly but others are obvious: Israel will bolster its multilayered defence system against long-range ballistic missiles.
Intercepting a conventionally armed ballistic missile is one thing, but destroying one with a nuclear warhead is another.
The Israeli Arrow 3 ballistic missile interceptor is being developed to destroy incoming missiles far away from Israeli territory.
There is no doubt that this programme’s budget will be increased to make the interceptor more sophisticated.
The Israeli Air Force will also look different. Sources say that its long-range capabilities will be improved, as well as those that deal with destroying targets that are protected by concrete and rocks.
Additional US funding will make this possible for Israel. Some of its defensive programmes such as Arrow are part-funded by the US.
It will not surprise anyone if in the meeting today between Obama and Netanyahu more funds are on the table.
The US and the rest of the world prefer a diplomatic process to stop the Iranian nuclear programme. Israel and the Gulf states say they know better. In between those two conflicting approaches, the new arms race has begun.