According to an American media report, citing multiple unnamed officials, Israel is preparing to engage Iran militarily in Syria and has sought U.S. support for the mission. The officials told NBC News that of all the hot-spots in the world, a major conflict was most likely to erupt along the Jewish state’s northern border, before attributing to Jerusalem responsibility for this week’s massive air assault on army bases in the Syrian cities of Hamas and Aleppo that killed more than two dozen personnel, mostly Iranians. Responding to the latter accusation, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman quipped, “I don’t read foreign publications,” adding that the IDF would do everything needed to combat against an Iranian regime that “routinely threaten[s] the state of Israel, promise[s] to wipe it out and continue[s] to support terror.”
The exchange comes a day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a televised 20-minute prime-time presentation in which he unveiled a cache of more than 100,000 nuclear-related documents and files stolen from a secret facility in Tehran earlier this year in a covert operation by Israeli Mossad agents. The spies in February 2016 reportedly discovered a warehouse located in the Shorabad district of the Iranian capital where the archives were being stored; kept the building under surveillance for two years; and, recently, devised an operation to break into the structure and smuggle back to Israel half a ton of material in less than 24 hours. The Israeli intelligence agents are believed to have used “an expansive operational infrastructure within Iranian territory” to flee the country with local authorities “[hot] on their tails.”
“Iran lied big time,” the Israeli premier repeatedly asserted in his address, while using a slide-show to demonstrate that the Islamic Republic, despite its frequent denials (which, most significantly, includes not having come clean when the 2015 nuclear accord was forged with world powers), in 1999 created a program—”Project Amad”—specifically geared towards developing atomic weapons. The information was publicly exposed ahead of a May 12 deadline for U.S. President Donald Trump to decide whether or not to re-impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic, a move that would in all likelihood kill the atomic agreement.
As regards the possibility of war breaking out between Israel and Iran, former defense chief Amir Peretz—who served in the post during the 2006 confrontation between the IDF and Tehran’s Lebanese proxy Hizbullah—stated on Tuesday that the Jewish state was not prepared for such an eventuality and that at least $500 million needs to be invested in order to fortify positions along the northern borders with Lebanon and Syria. In March, Liberman made a similar assertion, urging the government to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars annually over a years-long period “to bring the north to the level of the south,” where Jerusalem has expended vast resources to secure its citizenry against the threat posed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.