ISRAEL PUTS IRAN ON NOTICE
Al Kibar strike represents one of many Israeli exploits in securing the safety of its citizens.
Israel’s recent disclosure that its air force reduced Syria’s Al Kibar atomic bomb facility to rubble came across as one of the worst kept secrets in modern history. International media outlets had already published detailed accounts of the successful strike and even former president George W. Bush made reference to the raid in his memoirs.
The reasons for the formal acknowledgement now, 11 years after the fact are threefold. First, as already noted, everyone and their uncle knew Israel was responsible so there was no point in maintaining continued silence on the issue.
Second, Israel had always feared that a formal acknowledgement would force Assad into a corner and compel him to avenge Arab honor. Silence on the issue allowed him to maintain a docile posture vis-à-vis Israel. Indeed, most Syrians at the time believed official Syrian media reports that Israel dropped a few bombs in the open desert. However, Syria of 2007 is no more. After years of protracted conflict, Assad’s army is a mere shell of its former self and he relies on Russia and Iranian proxy militias, like Hezbollah, for survival. In sum, he no longer poses a credible conventional threat to Israel and is in no position to retaliate against a country that could tackle the entire combined armed Arab might of the Middle East.
The third reason may have more to do with projection of deterrence than appeasing a few Israel media outlets clamoring for a reversal of censorship regulations. Israel wants Iran to know that when it comes to its security, the Jewish State will take no prisoners. Threats deemed to be existential will be dealt with harshly, regardless of cost.
Whether the mullahs got the message remains to be seen but clearly, as evidenced by past Israeli actions exclusive of Al Kibar, this is no bluff. Thus far, at least five Iranian scientists affiliated with Iran’s rogue nuclear activities have met unnatural deaths and the malware Stuxnet, a digital weapon unlike any seen to date, wreaked havoc on Iranian centrifuges, destroying as many as 1,000 before detection.