"When EF Hutton talks, people listen!"
For those too young to remember commercials from the 1970’s and 1980’s, this was the slogan in a wonderful series of television ads for one of the most preeminent stock brokerage firm in the United States.
Fast forward 40-plus years, and every time the name Amos Yadlin is mentioned, that ad flashes through my mind.
The former head of Israel’s military intelligence, Amos Yadlin is now living life as a civilian and is, currently, a fellow at Harvard.
While there are many things Yadlin cannot say, many subjects he won’t dare touch — he can give insight.
And when Amos Yadlin offers his insight, we sure better pay attention — and listen.
His insight is always worth dissecting and understanding and just recently, he participated in a zoom discussion hosted by the Jerusalem Post.
The most insightful and worrisome point that Yadlin made during this presentation was that Israel has lost the opportunity to prevent Iran from completing the "enrichment track" in its plans to develop nuclear capabilities.
Simply put — it is too late.
Now, he explained, Israel needs to focus on the "weaponization track."
Israel must stop Iran from creating a weapon and then launching that weapon.
According to the former head of Israeli military intelligence: "Israel should make the assumption that maybe we lost the opportunity to stop Iran on the fissile material threat, and we have to concentrate more on the weaponization group, on the weaponization activities — [to] know where they are, when they will be activated and how to stop them."
This is serious stuff. That is a very sobering set of truths.
The back story — and it is the hope of this writer — you find comfort in this — is that Israel will not let Iran attain nuclear weapons. Israel will, undoubtedly, strike Iran.
Yadlin did not explain this part of the equation, so I will.
After the inevitable strike, there will be a series of big issues to be dealt with.
The first issue is whether (or not) the United States will militarily join with Israel in their strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons — or whether the United States will just lend support.
Israel can certainly conduct the strike on its own, but uniting with the United States would ensure a greater chance of long term results and success.
Not to mention the always welcome help on the public relations and media front.
At this point, given the Biden administration’s approach to the Mideast, it looks like the U.S. will lend support to an attack by Israel on Iran focused on crippling Iranian nuclear weapons capabilities.
The United States understands Israel’s point of view and will probably give intelligence assistance and tech assistance during and after the strike. But not military support.
Israel has already allocated billions of dollars in planning and training to successfully accomplish this task.
Most of the money goes to specialty weapons, both attack weapons and defensive weapons.
These weapons are designed to protect Israel from Iran’s inevitable counterattack and from a probable attack by Iranian proxy Hezbollah, headquartered in southern Lebanon.
Israel’s military will do their best to avoid civilian targets and casualties.
But Iran will almost certainly target civilian centers within Israel. So, Israel also needs to invest in protecting its citizens from missile and rocket attacks.
The next issue concerns Hezbollah. Will Hezbollah do the expected and join in the Iranian counterattack and strike Israel. They are well prepared.
Hezbollah has an enormous cache of rockets and missiles that Iran has been providing for them for this very purpose.
Six months ago, I would have said that there is no doubt that Hezbollah will jump into the fray. Today, I am not so certain.
Despite Iran’s sponsorship of Hezbollah, to the tune of over $1 billion per year, Hezbollah no longer sees itself as an organization sponsored by Iran.
These terrorists consider themselves to be a political force and the leaders of Lebanon. They consider themselves to be a state and an equal player with Iran and the other countries in the region.
There’s another reason Hezbollah may not join in Iran’s counterattack against Israel. Fear and self-preservation. They know that Israel is fully prepared to utterly destroy and uproot Hezbollah if they were to unleash a damaging barrage of missiles and rockets into Israel.
Hezbollah has high hopes for their political future.
They will not jeopardize those hopes. So, in the end, they will attack Israel — but not by launching thousands of rockets per day. Hezbollah will probably launch a set of symbolic strikes, just enough to placate Iran but making certain that the strike falls under the threshold of what Israel would consider a massive response.
The last big issue is – when.
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern," a weekly TV program, and "My Chopp," a daily radio spot. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.
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