JERUSALEM – Only hours after Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced the successful testing of an Arrow-3 missile, the world’s most advanced interceptor system designed to destroy a potential Iranian nuclear-tipped ballistic warhead in space, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported that during President Obama’s trip to Israel later this month, the president will brief Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a possible U.S. surgical strike against Iranian nuclear installations.
Channel 10 also said that Obama will tell Netanyahu that American forces in the Middle East will be in position to launch an attack as early as June. In the event of a military strike, according to the station, the White House has advised Ministry of Defense and IDF officials to “remain on the sidelines” and avoid any offensive actions against Iran.
According to Israeli news reports, outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak has informed the White House and Pentagon that Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders have ordered Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah to order his terrorist legion to launch massive missile attacks against Israel’s power stations, air force bases and civilian population centers in the event of an American or Israeli assault against Iran. The IDF has already notified Israeli military correspondents that if Hizbullah attacks Israel, the Israeli Air Force and elite IDF ground and paratroop units would blitz Hizbullah targets from the air and simultaneously invade large swaths of Lebanese territory.
According to Yediot Aharonot, the Western alliance that began a new round of negotiations with Iranian officials in Kazakhstan this week intends to demand that Iran immediately shut its secret Fordo nuclear installation. Should the current round of talks fail to yield positive results, UN and EU officials will warn the Iranians that the West will impose even more crippling economic sanctions against Tehran. They could include a total ban on import/export trade, the severing of international credit lines and an embargo, enforced by the military, of all incoming and outgoing Iranian products.
On another front, Israel Hayom reported that Netanyahu has also been engaged in behind-the-scenes efforts to persuade new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to pressure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop the growing violence across the West Bank. Some Israeli government officials have claimed that Abbas wants to “ignite the territories” ahead of Obama’s visit to Israel in order to provoke a violent Israeli reprisal.
On Tuesday, a group claiming to be members of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is aligned with the Palestinian Authority, claimed responsibility for breaking the cease-fire in the south by firing a Grad rocket at Ashkelon’s industrial zone. While there were no reported injuries, IDF commanders met to discuss if an Iron Dome anti-missile system would once again have to be deployed in the area.Steve K. Walz
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