The signs of an approaching denouement with Iran are becoming more and more apparent. It’s not just that it seems that the United States and Israel are each now telling anyone who will listen that they will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and that all preventative measures are “on the table.” Instead, what suggests that this go-round is “the last time we’re going to tell you this is the last time” is that while Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to be at his straightforward best about being ready to take military action against Iran, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not missed an opportunity lately to matter-of-factly note that Israel and the U.S. are working together on this. Providing significant context is the fact that the U.S. and Israel recently completed the largest joint military exercises ever, which showcased not only the kind of power each could bring to the table but also how seamlessly they could mount a joint operation.
According to several media reports, the shared goal here seems to go beyond ensuring a non-nuclear Iran. Ironically, it seems that Iran supplying Russia with drones and other weaponry for use in its war against Ukraine has served to bring the U.S. and Israel even closer militarily and politically.
But while Netanyhu openly declares its readiness to bomb Iranian pre-nuclear facilities, the U.S. has been more reticent and is reportedly looking at military measures short of all-out war that would provide a deterrent effect. As such, while the recent maneuvers likely demonstrated to Iran that both the U.S. and Israel are capable of successfully knocking out much of its nuclear weapons potential, the U.S. is also looking at more serious military responses than ever used before to Iranian provocations against Western shipping and U.S. personnel. It is also reportedly considering materially disrupting the Iran-to-Russia supply chain.
Furthermore, there is also talk of the U.S. undertaking a massive enhancement of Israel’s military capacity, something which would strengthen the complementary role its new partner could play in any confrontation.
We may or may not be at the brink – but it is clear that we are closer than ever before.