Israel’s three nuclear weapons-armed German submarines are going to be sent to the Gulf as an act of deterrence to Iran. In fact, they aren’t even hiding that objective. The Times Online report about this is obviously the result of a calculated leak. The hint is here:
The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”
Did you catch that? The newspaper didn’t identify the source, but they gave the necessary information away that would allow the Israeli government to identify the leaker within a few minutes or even seconds. The reporter would not have cited a source as “the flotilla’s commander” without his permission, and he wouldn’t have given permission if he wasn’t ordered to talk by the highest levels.
There’s one more thing to consider. The U.S. and Israel are accusing Syria of providing Hezbollah with Scud missiles, allowing the terrorist group to hit Israeli nuclear sites, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, potentially with chemical or biological weapons. It also allows them to target Ben Gurion International Airport, which could shut down the Israeli economy to a large degree.
Israel asked the Obama Administration for permission to bomb one of the convoys carrying the Scuds as it entered Lebanon. They were turned down and Israel complied, which is surprising considering the severity of the threat.
This deployment was inevitable considering Iran’s increasing aggressiveness and nuclear program, but the timing was a tit-for-tat measure, similar to the Soviets deploying missiles to Cuba in reaction to the U.S. deployment of missiles in Turkey. At the same time, it is quite possible that the Obama Administration gave Israel the thumbs up to doing this in return for not bombing the shipment to Hezbollah.
It’s still extremely disconcerting that the U.S. would ever deny Israel the right to bomb a missile convoy sent to a terrorist group, especially when it probably wouldn’t result in a war or even major retaliation (look at how Syria reacted to the 2007 bombing of its al-Kibar nuclear site). Professor Barry Rubin rightly points out that the U.S. is still providing Israel with advanced, powerful weapons including Small Diameter Bombs which are bunker-busters. But, if we’re not willing to let Israel stop the transfer of Scuds to a terrorist group, what are we willing to let them do to defend themselves?