Operation Pillar of Cloud, which now seems to be winding down, is based on a biblical allusion from Exodus 13:21, which reports that during the day God led the Israelites in the Sinai wilderness as a pillar of cloud, and at night as a pillar of fire. The 2 are inseparable.
Operation Pillar of Fire is what I name the real purpose of this entire exercise, and it began early morning in Jerusalem, Nov. 7, just as back on the East Coast of the United States on the night of Nov. 6, the major networks were calling Ohio for Barack Obama and Karl Rove experienced uncontrollable dizziness.
The shock and pain was palpable in the Boston Romney HQ that night, but 6000 miles away there was another equally stunned group of election watchers - the fearsome threesome of Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and Avigdor Lieberman. Their best laid plans for the next 12 months to be in league - finally, thankfully - with a sympathetic White House lay crumpled on the floor.
There would now be no time to prepare an attack on Iran in tandem with a President Romney and Dan Senor. Instead, a countdown clock was triggered: a month or two, maybe 3 at most, before Hilary Clinton leaves State and someone else - maybe the perennially hostile Susan Rice - joins the Obama inner foreign policy circle. Ironically, an Obama reelection actually moved up the deadline for an Israeli go-it-alone strike on Iran.
There are many difficult problems associated with a strike on Iran. One of the first problems is achieving operational surprise, at least for the first sorties of the air campaign. How does Israel, an open society saturated with journalists and social media, call up its Air Force reserves without tipping its hand to Iran?
There is only one way I can imagine Israel can bring its IAF to full operational capacity without setting off a dozen warning flares: induce a situation in Gaza that would plausibly necessitate a massive call up of a sizable reserve force. The timeline beginning with Nov. 8’s Israel-Gaza border skirmishes, instigated by Israel, culminating in Ahmed al-Ja'abari's targeted killing, provided the contrived event. The entire world has suddenly forgotten Israel's supposedly existential nuclear nightmare and has become obsessively preoccupied with Gaza and the Iron Dome.
After you create the "crisis," you then resolve it diplomatically well before throwing your forces into a universally unwanted ground war. Then demobilize your reservists - EXCEPT your Air Force reserves. Take whatever time you need, within reason. (I assume that at least a certain number of these IAF reservists' absence from society & the workforce would eventually be noticed, so time isn't unlimited.)
Thus, I have convinced myself, and seek to convince you dear reader, that Pillar of Cloud is merely a feint, a ruse, and a necessary prelude to a much more dangerous and eventful and insane Pillar of Fire.