June 18, 2019

Why Isn't Bibi Chiming In About Iran?

“After being booted from a fighter pilot course, a cadet was asked where he would like to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. “Anti-aircraft,” he responded. “Why there?” he was asked. “If I don’t fly, nobody flies.” A senior Israeli diplomatic source used this old joke to explain Iran’s response to the recent tightening of American sanctions and the blocking of its oil exports.

“What Iran is now trying to prove to the US, Saudi Arabia and the other allies is that if it has problems exporting oil, it won’t be easy for anyone else either,” the source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. An Israeli intelligence assessment shared with decision-makers at a security discussion organized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week holds that Iran is behind recent violence in the region, including an attack on oil tankers in Fujairah Bay and an attack by Houthi rebels on Saudi Arabia’s petroleum infrastructure.

A security source who asked not to be named explained the prevailing assessment in Israel: “The purpose of these attacks was to signal that Iran has the ability to interrupt the flow of oil from the Gulf and that it can force the US and its allies to pay a steep price.” According to this assessment, the attack on the tankers was intentionally minor, intended only to prove to the United States what Iran is capable of.”

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