Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16 fighter squadrons this week carried out exercises testing their capability to conduct missions at long ranges from base, the Israeli military said Thursday, Oct. 10. The drills included air-to-air refueling and dogfights against foreign combat planes. They were conducted together with Hellenic Air Force aircraft and naval units over the western Peloponnese and the Myrtoon Pelagos of Greece, shortly before the Six Power talks begin in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program.
Israeli commentators noted that the drill broadcast a message to Tehran that Israel’s military option for bombing its nuclear program was alive and kicking. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bombarded European TV media with interviews warning their leaders that the Iranians were conning the world while continuing to develop a nuclear weapon capability. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu was acting as though he believed he still holds three spanners for throwing into Iran’s nuclear program:
1. The Israeli military as embodied in its air force;
2. European leaders, who are dismayed by President Barack Obama’s precipitate rapprochement with Tehran. Addressing them, Netanyahu warned: “Better no deal than a bad deal.”
3. The US Congress, on which he counts to block future presidential applications to approve the lifting in stages of sanctions against Iran, simply by withholding approval of his agreements with Tehran.
However, the truth which every Middle East and Western leader knows by now, is that the battle against a nuclear Iran is lost.
President Obama has wound up his secret negotiations with Iran and instructed US delegates to put on the table of the Geneva negotiations on Oct. 15 the understandings or deals he has reached with Iranian leaders.
Those understandings are about to be endorsed by the P5+1 (the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany) for implementation in stages. They will leave Iran with the capacity, reduced but intact, to continue to enrich uranium along with its ability to use clandestine sites to house the nuclear weapons they are able to produce.
Netanyahu may keep on calling this a bad deal. But after all, it took shape on his watch as prime minister. And after Barack Obama became president in 2009, Israel failed to stall Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb – not in Parchin, Arak and Fordo – but in the White House.
The prime minister staged the long-distance air force drill more for domestic consumption than for use as a deterrent to impress Tehran. The Iranians have succeeded far too well in their diplomatic maneuvers to take much notice. They are sure the Netanyahu government will tire of its campaign, end up aligning once again with the Obama administration and swallow its deals with President Vladimir Putin on Iran, just as it did for Syria’s chemical weapons.