Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On The Contemporary Employment of the Begin Doctrine

Bibi, the Begin Doctrine, and the U.S.

...Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech on Monday at the AIPAC conference reinforcing the Begin Doctrine — the preemptive-military-strike doctrine of Israel’s government since the early 1980s. This week marks the 20th anniversary of the death of former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. His administration declared that Israel’s “determination to prevent confrontation states . . . from gaining access to nuclear weapons” will be applied to hostile countries seeking to develop nuclear arms.

Bibi Netanyahu said Israel cannot “accept a world in which the Ayatollahs have atomic bombs.” With those words Netanyahu issued the 2012 version of the Begin doctrine. In short, in light of the Holocaust and the lethal anti-Semitism of the clerical regime in Tehran, Israel cannot tolerate the toxic combination of weapons of mass destruction with a regime determined to “wipe Israel off the map.”

The Begin Doctrine has been implemented twice in the young history of the Jewish state. In June 1981, Israel launched Operation Opera, sending eight F-16 fighter jets to destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor outside Baghdad. After two minutes of precision bombing, the reactor was reduced to a pile of rubble. In September 2007, Israeli jets launched Operation Orchard, targeting Syria’s secret nuclear facility at al-Kibar.

Unlike Syria and Iraq, the Iranians have scattered multiple nuclear-weapons installations across their territory.

...It is not likely that Bibi will deviate from the goal of the Begin Doctrine. The open question is, will President Obama really have “Israel’s back”? Given that President Obama announced after his meeting with Bibi that the meaning of having “Israel’s back” does not imply a military doctrine, Israel should be justifiably worried about whether it can rely on its most important Western ally...

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