Israel’s leaders would love to get an American green light to attack Iran’s nuclear project with US support. But under some circumstances, Netanyahu’s government could decide to strike on its own, without informing the United States of every detail.
While Israel closely coordinates military moves with America, Jerusalem does not share everything. Israeli leaders are also known for taking action without US approval, most famously in the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.
Recently leaked Pentagon documents revealed that the CIA is unaware of Israel’s plans and intentions for the near future. The Americans invest large resources in monitoring Israeli moves, but the Israelis are good at keeping some secrets.
The leaked documents also revealed that the Israel held a large Iran strike drill in February without publicizing it, Ynet reported. The Air Force carried out the exercise independently, without US involvement.
It is true that Israel and the US have extensive military ties, and that Israel’s inclusion in CENTCOM has created more opportunities to cooperate. Notably, the IDF and US Military now regularly engage in joint exercises, share intelligence, and work together on a range of security issues.
But while the US-Israel defense relationship is strong and intimate, Israel still keeps some sensitive information to itself. There are areas of Israeli military and intel operations that are highly classified and not shared with US partners.
Moreover, while Israel and America have many joint interests, their views and priorities on some key issues diverge. An ultimate attack on Iran’s nuclear sites could be one of those issues.
Israel Moves Closer to Strike
Meanwhile, Israel is moving closer to full readiness for a strike on Iran’s nuclear program, a senior officer says. The Israeli Air Force does not yet have 100% of what it needs for a fully effective attack but can already hurt the Iranians badly, Brigadier General Gilad Keinan told Walla News.
Keinan is the commander of Nevatim, the most important airbase for Iran strike operations. The base brings together multiple squadrons and capabilities that are vital for an assault on Tehran’s nuclear sites.
Among other things, Nevatim hosts a unit that specializes in converting areas deep in enemy territory into landing strips. This enables Israeli aircraft to land anywhere in the Middle East and beyond, the senior officer said.
These and other skills are crucial for long-distance missions in Iran and other locations far beyond Israel’s borders.
Israel has superpower expertise when it comes to refueling and long-range flights, Keinan said. He noted that in order to attend the recent Red Flag exercise with the US Air Force, Israeli jets flew distances that are much longer than the route to Iran.
Overall, the Israelis no doubt update the Americans about the progress of strike preparation and planning. However, the details of Israel’s precise strategy and timeline could remain a closely guarded secret.