Obama’s Iran Deal Leads to 5 Year Israel War Plan

The New Multi-year Plan of the IDF and the Agreement with Iran
The New Multi-year Plan of the IDF and the Agreement with Iran
The new Israel Defense issue No. 28 is making its way to subscribers and
stores. A first peek: Amir Rapaport’s column from the new issue, analyzing
current and future events in the region and the defense establishment
Amir Rapaport | 9/09/2015

Pursuant to the agreement: the “nuclear” agreement signed between the P5+1
and Iran in July 2015 is an event of historic proportions that will affect
the Middle East for decades. The top-priority assignment of the Israeli
intelligence services after the signing of the agreement is to deliver proof
that the Iranians are fooling the entire world.

It is safe to assume that all of the surveillance satellites and all other
intelligence gathering resources will attempt to pick up every speck of dust
or any irregularity in the local power consumption that might betray the
Iranians’ continued journey toward the bomb. The Iranians are no fools,
however. They will not risk anything during the 60-day interval until the
agreement is endorsed by the US Congress, with or without a veto by
President Barack Obama, remaining very cautious until the sanctions
currently imposed on them have been lifted.

What will they do a few months from now? Well, that is a completely
different story. The situation will change radically. It will happen fast,
as even if formally the sanctions are to be lifted gradually, in effect, the
whole world is already racing to do business with the Iranians. The sanction
regime is disintegrating very fast. The Russians are already planning arms
sales to Iran on the scale of US$ 30 billion, including their
state-of-the-art S-300 missile defense system. The Americans hope to make
money, too: the USA will sell arms and aircraft on the scale of dozens of
billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates. It is reasonable
to expect that they will offer Israel an increase of their defense aid
package and a few new weapon systems as “compensation” for the arms reaching
the Arab countries and for the Iranian rearming.

Meanwhile, the ‘conventional’ arms race is just one result out of many
pursuant to the historic reconciliation agreement. A nuclear arms race is
expected to begin as well: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will estimate that
Iran would reach an atomic bomb sooner or later, and seek their own “Sunni
Bomb” as a counterweight to Iran’s “Shi’ite Bomb”.

The recent historic development was received as no surprise in Israel. The
Israeli defense establishment and political echelon had estimated in advance
that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry would strive for an
agreement with Iran at any cost, and that the Iranians, too, will make that
assumption, so they would have no real reason to back down from any of their
basic stands in the negotiations.

The declaration that Israel is not bound by the agreement could hint to the
fact that Israel may continue to operate against the Iranian nuclear
program, whether by means of an overt attack or by covert operations, as
Israel may deem appropriate. In fact, Israel does not have a practical
option of staging an attack in Iran without engaging in a confrontation with
the entire world. Such an attack is not currently on the agenda, at least
not without undisputable proof that the Iranians are actually fooling the
entire world and are pressing on with their military nuclear program.

Israel has positioned itself as the leader of the campaign against the
agreement. This blurs the fact that the Iranian bomb threatens not just us
but the entire Middle East, with implications even as far as the Balkans and
the Caucasus (even there, an Iranian nuclear superpower is conceived as a
major threat). Moreover, the Israeli-Arab conflict is currently marginal
compared to the Sunni-Shi’ite conflict and the confrontations within the
Sunni community between ISIS and everyone they regard as “infidels”. Under
these circumstances, Iran’s rearming and evolving into a nuclear threshold
country with an international license is far from being an Israeli-only

The “Gideon” plan: regardless or pursuant to the nuclear agreement, the IDF
is preparing to implement a new long-term plan for the five-year period
beginning in 2016, under the codename “Gideon”.

If the “Gideon” plan is actually implemented, it will be the first
multi-year plan the IDF implements since the conclusion of the “Tefen” plan
in 2011. None of the plans prepared during the tenure of Lt. Gen. Benny
Gantz as IDF Chief of Staff were actually implemented, first and foremost –
because of the reduced defense budgets allocated by the Israeli government
in 2013 and 2014. The shortage of funding led the IDF to halt training
activities in 2014, just before Operation Protective Edge. The government
had known about this well in advance and authorized this default.

The “Gideon” plan should implement quite a few of the lessons derived from
Operation Protective Edge and transfer the IDF, within five years, into an
era where Iran is already regarded as a nuclear state and the enemies
surrounding us are organizations with no uniforms or permanent bases, but
with hundreds of thousands of high-precision rockets aimed at Israeli
population centers and strategic objectives. The primary scenario for which
the IDF is preparing is a multiple-theater confrontation, and the working
assumption is that it would be required to pass another power test in the
form of a war within the next few years.

Iran will not only become a nuclear state sooner or later, but will evolve
into a regional empire that pumps massive funding into the organizations it
supports, including Hezbollah. On the bright side – Egypt, Jordan and the
Gulf States will improve their relations with Israel as the threats imposed
by Iran and ISIS intensify.

The truth is that IDF has been engaged in an effort to adapt to the wars of
the present and the future for some time: since 1985, the number of tanks
was reduced by 75%, the number of aircraft was reduced by 50% and the number
of UAVs – Unmanned Airborne Vehicles – increased by 400%. The number of
reservists was cut down by hundreds of thousands. Soon, Israel will take
delivery of the fifth Dolphin-class submarine built by German shipyards, and
in two years’ time, a sixth submarine will be delivered. In December 2016,
the first F-35 future fighters will arrive in Israel, and next year IDF will
begin the process of adopting the David’s Sling missile defense system which
complements the Iron Dome system. The development of the Arrow-3 missile
system is in high gear and massive efforts are under way in an attempt to
find a solution to the subterranean tunnels – the most complex operational
challenge encountered by IDF during Operation Protective Edge.

Generally, the IDF has evolved into a technological war machine based on a
state-of-the-art communication network capable of linking resources in the
air, at sea and on land in real time in order to engage targets that pop up
even for a few seconds before they disappear (or before they are destroyed).
The number of heavy ground platforms is decreasing and some of the ground
formations are becoming more agile (and are also employing unmanned
vehicles, among other things).

As far as manpower is concerned, the “Gideon” plan includes a 6% reduction
of staff elements and command centers, along with a set command ratio of one
to five – for example, one Lieutenant-Colonel officer for every five Major
officers, with the intention of reducing the number of officers in IDF staff
and command elements. Chief of Staff Eizenkot also plans to reduce various
layouts that are not a part of the core of IDF activities, like the IDF
Corps of Education, IDF Rabbinate, IDF Radio and other layouts.
Additionally, the various units of the Artillery Corps will be reorganized
and several battalions and divisional artillery groups will be demobilized.
In their place, long-range precision rocket units are being established. The
number of Major-General officers in the IDF will be reduced by four.

Chief of Staff Eizenkot did not elaborate on it during his briefings, but
the IDF Ground Arm will be assigned a higher priority after years of having
been neglected in favor of the strict precedence assigned to the IAF and
Intelligence Directorate. The Chief of Staff is also determined to set up a
cyber warfare command within two years. Initially, it seems that three
Brigadier-General officers will be assigned to handle this activity – one
will be responsible for defensive operations on behalf of the C4I
Directorate, another will be responsible for offensive operations on behalf
of Intelligence Unit 8200 and a third officer will coordinate the entire
activity under the Deputy Chief of Staff. When the cyber warfare command is
established, the C4I Directorate will be reduced and the cyber warfare
activity will be taken out of Unit 8200, but would still remain within the
Intelligence Directorate.

As far as the IDF is concerned, the plan is moving ahead from the planning
stage to the implementation stage, but in the summer of 2015 it is not yet
clear whether the budget required in order to implement it will be found.
The ball is in the government’s court.

Syria: while world attention has been drawn to Iran this summer, in Syria it
appears that the civil war that has been raging there for the past four
years is approaching the moment of decision.

Over the last few months, Assad has sustained massive losses in territory
and personnel. Similarly, Hezbollah, fighting alongside the forces of the
Assad regime against the various rebel groups, has also sustained heavy
losses, with the number of Hezbollah combatants killed in action totaling
1,300 (higher than their death toll in the Second Lebanon War). The forces
of ISIS are consolidating their hold in Syria, along with secular and more
moderate rebel forces, and the war is gradually leaking into the territory
of neighboring Lebanon. All of the above notwithstanding, Assad appears to
be determined not to relinquish his throne. Israel’s objective, at this
point, is to prevent the Syrian civil war from seeping into Israeli

The relocation to the south: the summer of 2015 marks a serious development
in the plans of IDF regarding the relocation to southern Israel. This major
project has begun to materialize with the inauguration of the training base
complex located to the south of Beersheba.

Despite the massive size of the new complex, the induction of this element
has been a marginal move compared to the moves that are still on the
agenda – the relocation of all of the technological units of the IDF C4I and
Intelligence Directorates to the Negev. The next stage in the plan will be
the issuance of a solicitation for the construction of a new C4I campus in
the south. This tender will be issued by the end of 2015. When the
relocation of all of the IDF units to the south has been completed, within
5-7 years, IDF will benefit from new technological infrastructures. As far
as the southern region is concerned, the IDF will constitute a primary
anchor in the creation of a common technological environment, along with
academia and Israeli as well as multinational high-tech industries.

IMI: the most significant development in the defense industry sector has
been the tender for the privatization of IMI. This process has been gaining
momentum and information rooms have been opened recently for the benefit of
the 10 groups that remained in the race for IMI’s acquisition.

The tender is expected to be decided by the end of this year. This process
will change the face of the Israeli defense industry, in preparation for
another significant move – the offering of a substantial percentage of the
shares of IAI to the public (IPO).

In part from the Jerusalem Post:

‘Sunset clause’

Yet, more than any single enforcement standard or cap included in the deal, Israel believes the Achilles’ heel of the proposed agreement is its definitive end date – the sunset clause.

“You’ve not dismantled the infrastructure, you’ve basically tried to put limits that you think are going to be monitored by inspectors and intelligence,” said the official, “and then after this period of time, Iran is basically free to do whatever it wants.”

The Obama administration also rejects this claim. By e-mail, the senior US administration official said that, “‘following successful implementation of the final step of the comprehensive solution for its duration, the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT – with an emphasis on non-nuclear weapon.”

“That has in no way changed,” the American official continued, quoting the interim Joint Plan of Action reached last year.

But the treatment of Iran as any other signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty –189 countries are members, including Iran – would allow Tehran to ultimately acquire “an industrial-sized capability,” the Israelis say. “The breakout times [to a nuclear weapon] will be effectively zero.”

Israel and world powers seek to maximize the amount of time they would have to identify non-compliance from a nuclear deal, should Iran choose to defy its tenets and build a bomb.

But in the deal under discussion in Vienna, Iran would be able to comply with international standards for a decade and, from Israel’s perspective, then walk, not sneak, into the nuclear club.

“You’ve not only created a deal that leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear power today, because they have the capability to break out quickly if they wanted to,” the Israeli official contended. “But you’ve also legitimized Iran as a military nuclear power in the future.”

From the moment this deal is clinched, Israel fears it will guarantee Iran as a military nuclear power. There will be no off ramp, because Iran’s reentry into the international community will be fixed, a fait accompli, by the very powers trying to contain it.

“The statement that says we’ve prevented them from having a nuclear weapon is not a true statement,” the Israeli official continued. “What you’ve said is, you’re going to put restrictions on Iran for a given number of years, after which there will be no restrictions and no sanctions. That’s the deal that’s on the table.”

Revisiting the use of force

Without an exit ramp, Israel insists its hands will not be tied by an agreement reached this week, this month or next, should it contain a clause that ultimately normalizes Iran’s home-grown enrichment program.

On the surface, its leadership dismisses fears that Israel will be punished or delegitimized if it disrupts an historic, international deal on the nuclear program with unilateral military action against its infrastructure.

By framing the deal as fundamentally flawed, regardless of its enforcement, Israel is telling the world that it will not wait to see whether inspectors do their jobs as ordered.

“Ten, fifteen years in the life of a politician is a long time,” the Israeli said, in a vague swipe against the political directors now scrambling in Vienna. “In the life of a nation, it’s nothing.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened the use of force against Iran several times since 2009, even seeking authorization from his cabinet in 2011. Iran’s program has since grown in size and scope.

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