On Tuesday, the Israeli military was the first country to used U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighters in combat.
Major Gen. Amikan Norki said that the country orchestrated two strikes on “two different fronts in the Middle East.”
“We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity,” tweeted the Israeli Defence Force after announcing the F-35 were “flying in operational missions.”
However, as the tensions between Isreal and Iran continue to build, will an Iran strike be next?
“The deployment underlines the growing risk that Israel might unilaterally strike Iran, potentially instigating a wider conflict in the Middle East. The last time Israel obtained cutting-edge, U.S.-made warplanes—and used them in combat before any other country—it arguably accelerated the region’s nuclearization,” writes The Daily Beast.
Two weeks ago, Isreal and Iran exchange fire for hours in Syria after Israel claimed that Iran deployed a missile attack on the Golan Heights.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Isreal’s action was an appropriate response to Iran crossing a “red line.”
“Whoever hits us will get hit seven times over. Whoever prepares themselves to attack us will be attacked first. That is what we have done and that is what we will continue doing,” said Netanyahu.
The U.S., which officially pulled out of the Iran deal two days before Iran’s missile attack, agreed that Israel made the right move.
“The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” said the White House in a statement.
“Tel Aviv is buying 50 F-35s from U.S. firm Lockheed Martin for a total cost of around $5 billion. The United States foots the bill for the radar-evading fighters as part of America’s roughly $3 billion annual military aid to Israel,” writes The Daily Beast.
F-35 warplanes are difficult to detect by radars and sensors, unlike the F-16s that Israel received from the U.S. in the 1980s.
“The F-35’s value in this increasingly complex and challenging environment is clear,” writes Yaakov Lappin, a defense analyst for a recent study by a right-wing Israeli think tank. “It becomes even more pronounced when examining Israel’s need to improve its long-range strike capabilities in the event of a conflict with Iran.”
It’s likely that Iran will react by developing a more sophisticated nuclear arsenal.
“Should Israel rush to war, Iran might follow Hussein’s example and rebuild its nuclear program in a way that is harder to detect and more costly to stop,” said Colin Kahl, a Stanford historian.
President Donald Trump has promised to quickly reimpose stricter sanctions on Iran.
“The benchmark I set forward yesterday is a very low standard. It’s the standard behavior we expect from countries all around the world,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike last week. He believes that the new Iran demands won’t be difficult to implement.
Author’s note: So far, it looks like Israel has been only responding with military attacks, but it could quickly escalate with the country’s new warplanes. Iran needs to be held accountable with new and improved sanctions.