Israeli Strategic Culture and the Iran “Preemption Scare” of 2009–2013
Gregory Giles offers a useful and unconventional take on the Israeli nuclear question by focusing on the Jewish State’s commitment to protecting its widely presumed regional nuclear monopoly—with unilateral military force if necessary—and US efforts to steer and moderate potential Israeli action. Giles succinctly captures the basic elements of Israel’s operational cultural narrative as they relate to the Begin Doctrine. To demonstrate a specific set of critical factors which have consistently functioned within Israel’s operational cultural narrative on nuclear issues, Giles details the decisionmaking process behind the Israeli military strikes on nuclear facilities in Syria and Iraq, showing how each of the criteria within that narrative was met. He then compares and contrasts those two cases with Israel’s failure to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities during the critical 2009–2013 period. Observing that cracking the code of the Israeli decisionmaking process may prove difficult when US interests and projected security behavior do not cleanly line up with Israel’s preferred mode of action, Giles provides invaluable insights and recommendations for the way ahead.