IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister: 'We can attack Iran on our own,' US Senate: 'We'll back you up if you do'
On Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Benn Gantz told Israel Radio that the IDF can attack Iran's nuclear sites all by itself if it wants to, without any help from the United States.
When asked if the IDF has the capabilities to attack alone in Iran, Gantz answered "unequivocally, yes."
"The Iranian challenge is a meaningful one. We must look at it strategically long-term. We will do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done," he said.
Gantz told Israel Radio that the top political and military officials discussed a possible strike in Iran, but denied reports that there were arguments on the topic. "There are long, continuous discussions, and I presume we'll have more of those in the future."Later in the day. Gantz's boss, Defense Minister Moshe Boogie Yaalon told an audience in Herzliya that Israel must prepare to attack Iran on its own.
Describing the Iranian nuclear program as "the most significant" threat not only to Israel, but to the Middle East and the "modern world," Ya'alon said Tehran's drive for nuclear capabilities could end in disaster.
"It could spark an arms race in the Middle East, and cause nuclear weapons to spread to terror organizations. This situation could be a nightmare for the Western world," he warned.
"The world's response to the Iranian nuclear program was delayed. The fact that centrifuges in Iran are continuing to spin, and that enriched uranium has already been collected, proves that the regime in Tehran is not impressed by these steps taken so far. Even more so, the regime in Tehran does not identify determination in the Western world to stop its nuclear project, and it therefore allows itself to continue to develop it," the defense minister continued.
"Only by placing the Iranian regime before the dilemma of having a bomb or [risking its] survival will lead to the project being stopped.," he said.
"Only a significant increase in sanctions, international isolation, assistance, as well as moral support to the repressed citizens of Iran, and a credible military option, will convince the regime in Tehran that its survival is preferable to the military nuclear project," he added.
Israel should not lead the campaign against Iran, Ya'alon said, but Israel is the first target of the Ayatollah regime, he added, citing threats by Iranian rulers to destroy Israel.
"The world must lead the campaign against Iran, but Israel must prepare for the possibility that it will have to defend itself with its own powers," he said.
"As someone who experienced wars and lost friends, subordinates, commanders, and brothers in arms, I'm convinced that using military power is the last resort. As the defense minister of Israel, I must do all I can in my decisions to avoid sorrow and bereavement... But we must be prepared to use military power if we must, and to overcome our enemies sharply, clearly, and quickly." During his speech, Ya'alon said that in some senses, "the War of Independence hasn't ended yet. Security forces are facing, and will continue to face in the coming years, challenges on various fronts, from near to far, along our borders, and in states that are not close to us." Conventional military threats have decreased, but terrorist organizations, rockets, missiles, and Iran remain a threat, he said.In Washington, the majority-Democrat Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted a Senate resolution that has 79 co-sponsors, which calls for US diplomatic, economic and military support for Israel in the event that it finds it necessary to take military action against Iran.
On Israel's 65th Independence Day, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted "Senate Resolution 65," stipulating that the US will assist Israel diplomatically, economically and militarily if the Jewish state is compelled to take military action against Iran “in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sponsored Tuesday's resolution, which garnered a bipartisan group of 79 co-sponsors. The resolution also emphasizes that the US must be committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has sent a very clear and enormously important message of solidarity with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat—which endangers American, Israeli, and international security,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement.
“AIPAC urges the full Senate to act expeditiously to adopt the resolution.”What could go wrong?