Israel’s government instructed the military to prepare for a possible US strike against Iran during the remainder of President Donald Trump’s term, according to military sources.
The instructions were given because officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” prior to the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, and not because of any intelligence or assessment that the US will order an attack.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has spoken twice over the past two weeks with US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to discuss the Iranian issue, the situation in Syria and the security memorandum of understanding between Israel and the US.
If the Trump administration acts against Iran, Israel is expected to receive advance warning of the action. However, due to the great uncertainty, the army has been instructed to ensure that Israel’s defense systems are ready for any scenario that may arise from a US attack on Iran, the sources added.
In case of a US attack against Iran, the latter might strike Israeli targets through its militias or “Hezbollah” forces in Syria, or even from Hezbollah's locations in the Lebanese south.
Citing four current and former US officials, The New York Times reported that a meeting occurred in the Oval Office two weeks ago. Trump asked senior aides what possibilities he had for an offensive strike on Iran's primary nuclear site in Natanz.
Senior advisers including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence dissuaded Trump, but he might still be looking at ways to strike Iranian assets and allies.
Pompeo recently visited Europe and the Middle East – State Department officials, meanwhile, told reporters that “all options are on the table,” regarding Iran.