Smoke billowing from a tanker off the coast of the western Syrian city of Baniyas, April 24, 2021. (SANA/AFP)

May 5, 2021

Israeli defense and intelligence officials, who held talks in Washington over the past week, raised doubts about the effectiveness of the naval operations against Iran and are mulling halting them.

The officials believe that the potential damage of the actions outweighs the benefits and that other ways must be found to halt Iranian entrenchment in the region.

According to a series of reports, in recent years Israel has attacked, among other targets, dozens of tankers smuggling oil from Iran to Syria.

Attacks on Iranian ships “were more effective when they were covert,” a senior defense official in Tel Aviv said on Tuesday.

However, the moment these attacks were revealed to public, Tehran responded by attacking Israeli ships.

Although Iranians were keen to respond “modestly,” there are no guarantees their counter-attacks will not escalate into a war everyone wants to avoid.

It is necessary to calm the situation, reconsider the attacks and perhaps stop them, albeit temporarily, the officials said.

Many senior Israeli generals seemed to oppose the numerous attacks that would most probably lead to war.

They explained that Israel usually implements its “battle between two wars” strategy that targets carrying out limited attacks that do not lead to a direct war.

According to the generals, time has not yet come for a war, noting also the US administration’s reservations in this regard.

The attacks have not led to “the desired results and have had negative economic consequences, especially on Israeli maritime trade.”

Recent strategic changes require considering whether the policy of using force has achieved its objectives in addressing Iranian hegemony in the Middle East and the hazardous positioning of its forces and backed militias in Syria, Walla news site and Haaretz quoted the officials as saying.

Among the goals of the “battle between two wars” strategy are to reduce existing and emerging threats, prevent war, bolster deterrence and preserve the freedom of Israeli military action, Haaretz reported.

Asharq Al-Awsat

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.