MenuThere is no diplomatic solutionIsrael should declare three nos; no to nuclear Iran, no to two-state solution, no to bi-national state
Iran Takes off the Gloves
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s speech on November 10, 2011, is viewed as a turning point in Iran’s strategy for dealing with threats, a transition from defense to offense. In addition, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said: “We will not only continue to counter enemies’ threats, but we will also pose a sufficient threat to them.” Mohammad Bagheri, head of the Intelligence and Operations Division of the General Staff, said: “The Supreme Leader’s recent statement that from now on we reciprocate ‘threat for threat’ means a revision of the Iranian nation’s defense strategy.”
Khamenei boasted: “We interfered in the events against Israel, which resulted in triumphs in the 33-day war [the Second Lebanon War of July-August 2006] and the 22-day war [Operation Cast Lead in Gaza]…from now on, we will support and help any nation and any group everywhere, standing and fighting against the Zionist regime. And we are not afraid of saying that.”
Khamenei implied that Iran no longer needs to hide behind proxies, instead acting directly against Israel, while also being prepared to assist (including with weaponry) any group that fights Israel. The immediate significance is that Iran – which accuses Israel of assassinating nuclear scientists on its territory – no longer fears to stand as Iranagainst Israeli and Jewish targets and even Western targets.
The recent attacks on Israeli targets and interests in the world, most of which were foiled, manifest the change in the Iranian response strategy, currently being implemented by the intelligence and security agencies, primarily the Qods Force.
Moreover, according to top U.S. intelligence officials and analysts, the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States shows that the Iranian leadership has “changed their calculus” and are now more willing to conduct an attack on U.S. soil in “response to real or perceived actions that threaten the regime,” and that “it is no longer clear that Iran sees carrying out an attack in the United States as crossing some sort of red line.”
At the same time, Hamas, regarded as one of Iran’s main response tools, is in the thick of an internal controversy about reconciling with Fatah, and Iran sees its ability to influence Hamas’ external leadership (which has now departed from Syria) slipping out of its hands. The strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent movement, poses another substantial challenge to Iran.
IDF Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a senior political analyst at Terrogence.