Nukes May Not Be the Problem
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
For months Israel persisted in calling for a world-wide effort to stop Iran from achieving nuclear capability so as not to thrust Israel into a dangerous imminent existential threat from Iran. As it became apparent officially when Bibi was at the U.N. last month, the time line for such an eventuality is now pushed backed at least until next spring. The current security threats facing Israel now appear to be coming from other sources and indeed be more immediate.
Aside from the continuing periodic rocket shelling by Hamas in Gaza, the status of the Syrian chemical and biological weapons pose the most serious continuing danger. There is little reason to be very sanguine about these storage facilities and their potential toxicity should they be used or get into the hands of radical Muslims, as Syria continues to disintegrate into a full-blown civil war. The U.S. has now even set up a monitoring post in Jordan to prepare to act should the movement of CBW’s become threatening or their use be imminent. The Iranians certainly want to sustain the Assad regime and could well facilitate their use of these weapons to cause mischief to any party which sought to interfere in Syria.
Even with respect to the more conventional confrontation with Syria, Israelis recognize that the quiet life they enjoyed along the Golan Heights since 1973 may well soon be over. If a Muslim Brotherhood allied force ultimately takes over in Syria or even worse a branch of Al Qaeda, Israel may well need to reinforce its entire Northern border with Syria. The potential of a more conventional confrontation with Syrian allies from Iran looms over Israel as well.
Similarly, the recent use—apparently by Hezbollah—of drone(s) to overfly Israel gave the Israeli military a sense of what a future confrontation with Lebanon might resemble. While having shot down the drone, it is hardly public information as to the extent to which there have been other serious potentially dangerous contacts between the IDF and Hezbollah.
The southern border with Egypt looked to be evolving into a more tense situation after the recent incident there in the late summer. It seems now—perhaps as a result of American intercession or even a aid withholding threat to the new Morsi Government—that things in the south are calmer. In addition, Israel has continued to build a fence or wall along the border hopefully to inhibit future infiltration.
So much for quiet time!