Israel expands its Iran strategy amid potential social unrest in the Islamic republic, Opinions & Blogs News
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has outlined a broader Israeli strategy for confronting Iran that appears to go beyond a potential military strike against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities.
Mr. Bennett seemed guided not only by concern over the fallout from unilateral Israeli action, but also by apparently growing fears in Tehran that economic hardship could trigger a social explosion.
“Bennett’s new approach is to move incrementally to try to wear down Iran’s power, wear it down and weaken the violent energy it sends to its Middle Eastern offshoots,” he said. Haaretz journalist Jonathan Lis.
The broader strategy is likely rooted, at least in part, in the idea that tough US sanctions have made Iran’s economic problems worse, but are also the result of gross economic mismanagement, endemic corruption and the cost of supporting the Iranian intervention in Syria and the militias in Syria. Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Iran hopes the lifting of US sanctions under a deal in Vienna would ease its economic woes.
Israel’s strategy so far seemed centered on a possible military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities for which the Israeli armed forces are preparing.
Military analysts have questioned the effectiveness of an Israeli strike in destroying Iran’s nuclear capability. Moreover, Israel could face severe international criticism, including from the United States, if it were to strike unilaterally once talks in Vienna succeed in reviving the nuclear deal.
Mr Bennett reiterated last month that Israel would not be bound by any nuclear deal with Iran and would continue to consider itself free to act “without constraints” if necessary.
Meanwhile, Israel’s prime minister warned attendees of the 2022 Davos World Economic Forum that “investing in Iran is not a wise investment, whether there is a deal or not… Their economy is falling apart. collapse. The rial is depreciating. They are so incompetent that they are not able to deliver water to the taps on huge tracts of land, for example in the Isfahan region,” said Ms. Bennett.
The idea that a war of attrition could wear down Iran may have gained traction with the leak of a seven-page summary of a meeting in November. At the meeting, senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps warned that the Iranian company was, in Mr. Mohammadi’s words, identified as an official in the intelligence wing of the Guards, in a “state of dread.” ‘explosion”.
The seriousness of the warning was underscored by the fact that the meeting was reportedly convened by the Guardians’ “Livelihood-Based Security Crisis Prevention Task Force”.
Mr. Mohammadi argued that soaring inflation; increases in the price of food, energy and cars; and falling stock prices had “shaken public confidence” in President Ebrahim Raisi’s government just months after taking office.
Last month, shareholders staged a protest outside the Istanbul Stock Exchange, denouncing Mr Raisi as a “liar” and chanting “Death to this deceitful government”.
An Iranian legal and economic consultant said millions of small investors had recently suffered substantial losses in the Iranian stock market.
“They’ve seen a substantial portion of their savings wiped out… When you get the trader around the corner talking about the stock market, you know you’re in the late stages of a bubble. So people are moving assets overseas and buying goods overseas,” he said. Iranians are among the main buyers of residential real estate in neighboring Turkey.
The adviser said the Iranian government’s proposed budget for next year is fueling the unrest. The budget dramatically increases spending on guards and the military at the expense of social spending. Moreover, a ten percent increase in government salaries would fall well below Iran’s runaway inflation estimated at 40 percent.
According to the leaked document, a Colonel Kaviani told the guards’ meeting that actual inflation ranged from 86 to 268 percent.
Some Iranian officials have suggested that a series of recent cyberattacks targeting airlines, railways, gas stations, universities and Iran’s state broadcaster are part of an Israeli effort to capitalize and fuel a widespread discontent.
Others said the attack on Iranian state-run TV and radio may not have been launched by Israel, but was an effort by Iranian extremists to undermine the position of the broadcaster’s general manager, Peyman Jebelli, whom they accuse of being insufficiently conservative. Either way, the attack and potentially other cyber incidents would serve Israel’s purposes even if the Jewish state was not directly responsible.
Analysts said the attacks were an extension of Israel’s targeting of Iranian military and nuclear sites towards more comprehensive cyberwarfare against civilian infrastructure as well as an escalation of information warfare.
In an apparent response, a cyber group operated by Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militia in Lebanon, hacked into businesses in Israel, Palestine, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the United States. United and Britain, according to ClearSky, a cybersecurity firm. Iran also reportedly targeted Israel’s water supply system, a hospital and an LGBTQ dating site.
“As Iran’s nuclear facilities have spread across the country and attacking the program has become much more complicated, Israel has adopted a new approach – carrying out massive cyberattacks…to foment riots in nationwide with the aim of toppling the regime or occupying the leadership with endless day-to-day rioting,” said Maysam Behravesh, former foreign policy adviser to Iran’s Intelligence and Security Ministry.
Mr Behravesh argued that the cyberattacks were not in lieu of an Israeli attack but buying time before a strike.
“This change in the Israelis’ pattern of striking civilian targets is a pre-attack step, which means they are giving it one last chance before resorting to a full-scale military operation against Iranian nuclear facilities,” he said. he declared.
In an apparent escalation of the information war, the BBC last week revealed an alleged Iranian network on Facebook targeting nationalist and ultra-religious Jews in a bid to stoke division and stoke tensions with Palestinians. .
The United States and Saudi Arabia have in the past separately tried unsuccessfully to cause widespread unrest in Iran by supporting dissident ethnic groups.
The Saudi effort reminds us that what begins in the Middle East does not always stay in the Middle East. This sparked a tit-for-tat exchange between Saudi and Iranian intelligence assets in the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.
A Danish district court last week convicted three members of an Iranian Arab opposition group of financing and supporting terrorist activities in Iran in collaboration with Saudi intelligence services as well as spying.
Last year, a Danish court upheld a seven-year prison sentence against a Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent for spying and collaborating in a failed plot to kill one of the Iranian Arabs convicted last week.
The idea that an escalating cyber war could spread beyond Israel and Iran, as it has apparently done with Hezbollah attacks on businesses across the region and beyond, n This was just one reason authorities in many countries stepped up joint exercises focused on cyberattacks from a wide variety of states. -sponsored and criminal entities, of which Iran is only one, and not necessarily the most important.
Israel’s Joint Cyber Defense Division and US Cyber Command held their sixth joint exercise in a year in December. Israel conducted a 10-country simulation of a major cyberattack on the global financial system around the same time.
Attendees included treasury officials from Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Thailand, as well as representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements.
Yigal Una, head of Israel’s National Cybersecurity Directorate, said that in the end, we all know who is behind (an attack) and we remember it, and we can take revenge… We don’t feel one second that we don’t have the upper hand. »
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