A former deputy chief of staff in the Israeli military said Israel would need the US military in order to confront Iran in a future outbreak of hostilities.
During a speech Thursday at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan said regional jihadist groups that the Israel Defense Forces has managed to take on do not pose the same level of threat as Iran.
“We live in a world where we cannot operate alone not just because we have no expeditionary forces in Israel,” Golan said in remarks delivered in English.
“And while we can achieve decisive victory over Hezbollah… and while we can defeat any Shia militia in Syria … we cannot fight Iran alone,” he said.
Israel has recently raised alarm bells over increased activity by the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, an Iranian proxy, and Iranian-backed militias and fighters sent from Tehran on Israel’s border with Syria.
“So all right, they could affect us, we could affect them,” Golan said. “But it’s all about attrition… If you want to gain something which is deeper, we cannot do it alone. And this is a fact of life.”
“It’s better to admit that. We need to know our limitations,” he added.
Golan did not specify what kind of military operation he was referring to, but Israel in the past has reportedly considered strikes against Iran’s nuclear program, an idea that officials in Washington and Jerusalem both have said Israel would need help with to carry out effectively.
Golan’s speech came hours after a reported Israeli airstrike on a Syrian missile base that many saw as a message to Iran, Russia and other countries acting in Syria that Israel was willing to act to protect its interests.
Last week, Iran’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Hossein Bagheri warned that any attack on Iran would lead to a broader regional conflagration.
“If [the enemies of Iran] decide to launch war, certainly they will not decide about the time and place for its end,” he said, according to the Fars news agency.
Bagheri also said the Islamic Republic’s adversaries are deterred by Iran’s military capabilities and are afraid of sending ground troops into Iran for fear of a high death toll.
The report did not say which countries with hostile relations with Iran the Iranian general was referring to, although Iranian political and military leaders often issue threats towards Israel and the US.
In August, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran continues to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal meant to curb its nuclear program, while rejecting Tehran’s claim that its military sites were off-limits to inspection, saying the agency needs access to all “relevant locations” if suspicions arise of possible hidden atomic activities.
Golan served as deputy chief of staff under Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot from December 2014 until May 2017.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.