Israel's Security Cabinet convened Sunday to discuss alleged growing security threats, amid concerns that the authorities are attempting to keep the public busy with the dangers posed by Iran to turn their attention from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a new government.
Although discussions remained confidential, there have been leaks that Netanyahu confirmed during the meeting the “rising threat of an attack orchestrated by Iran.”
Informed political and security sources believe that recent developments in Baghdad reveal Iran's determination to turn Iraq into a base for its domination of the Arab world on one hand, and attacking Israel on the other.
A source at the National Security Council indicated that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is suffering due to recent blows, especially after the assassination attempt of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, and intends to carry out reprisals against Israel.
An opposition lawmaker wondered why the cabinet didn’t convene last week when the Israeli PM was tasked with the government formation, especially that the Iranian threat is not new.
The lawmaker believes Netanyahu is testing the public’s response and trying another unrealistic stunt claiming an Iranian imminent threat to pressure Kahol Lavan leader, Benny Gantz, into forming a coalition government.
Netanyahu has the support of his opponent Yisrael Beytenu chief, Avigdor Liberman, in forming such a government, citing a “national emergency, economic challenges and security threats from the south, north and further away.”
Columnist for al-Monitor Ben Caspit, known for his criticism of Netanyahu, wrote Sunday that there are Iranian dangers threatening Israel.
In his article, Caspit explained that reports indicate Israel is preparing for the scenario that the “campaign between wars” against Iran and its subsidiaries, could develop into an all-out war along the entire front, covering a large part of the Middle East.
He believes this compelled Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Netanyahu to hint at the necessity to increase the defense budget, and that this must be done as soon as possible.
“It has been over a decade since Netanyahu first turned the Iranian threat into political leverage. Nevertheless, just as in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” it is possible that this time the threats are real,” he wrote.
Israel’s top security leadership seems to be concerned that a rapid deterioration of the situation on the Iranian front is a distinct possibility. Iran announced Soleimani’s assassination attempt and this could lead to an open warfare.
This would make sense if Israel really was planning to eliminate Soleimani, however, if the plot to kill him was a fiction, the two sides will then be facing off with “just a hair’s breadth separating them from all-out war.”
Caspit spoke with a number of security generals and according to all signs, Iran decided to respond forcefully to the many aerial attacks attributed to Israel against pro-Iranian militias and other targets in Syria and Iraq.
“Iran has a growing score to settle with Israel after suffering dozens of strikes in the region. Are the Iranians preparing a surprise for Israel this October?” wondered Caspit.
Head of the research division of Israel’s Military Intelligence, Brig. Gen. Dror Shalom told Israel Hayom that an Iranian attack could be launched from Iraqi territory, where the Iranians have the infrastructure for rockets and missiles capable of hitting Israel.
One senior Israeli security official said the Iranian response this time will not be a weak reaction like the random fire of retaliatory rockets, that usually fall on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
“Recently, the Iranians have already proven that they are capable of causing great pain, and that they are able to penetrate air defenses to cause considerable damage,” added Shalom.