Gaza, and the ongoing war between Israel and Iran

There is no doubt that Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu believes that the Iranian nuclear programme represents a clear and present danger to Israel, a risk that involves the potential destruction of his country. He is a hard liner and a very determined man who has been pushing against American attempts to prevent him from executing a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities for years. 

However, Netanyahu's situation is become increasingly desperate as the Iranian programme approaches the critical point of weaponization and the Middle East becomes, in addition, consumed by its civil war of regionalisation that is systematically destroying the old power structures that ensured Israel's security. This situation can only be expected to fuel Mr Netanyhu's concerns.

Over the past months the odds of an Israeli conventional strike against the deeply buried Iranian facilities being successful has been reduced to zero. This leaves only the option of a ballistic missile strike with a small 'tactical nuke' - one that I have no doubt that Netanyahu will execute if all other avenues are closed and the US does not conduct its own conventional pre-emptive strike.

The (admittedly unconfirmed) air strike on 24 October on a Sudanese factory that manufactured missiles and exported them to Hamas, and now the direct attacks on Hamas in Gaza, have both been designed to put escalating pressure on Iran, and at the same time remove one knife that has been held to Israel's throat in the form of the threat of massive rocket strikes from Gaza.

To complete this particular task successfully Israel will have to move in ground forces with the express purpose of destroying Hamas as a military organisation, and especially its missile stockpiles. If once this task is complete Iran remains on its course towards weaponization  we must surely suspect that the next stage would be a pre-emptive attack on Iran using a tactical nuclear ground penetrating strike.