Dr… Salim Mohammed Al-Zanoun *
In the recent period, Iran has moved to a gradual escalation strategy that includes targeting Washington’s allies and the oil infrastructure of the Gulf States with the aim of creating a shock in the world oil market and pushing Washington to back down on its steps. However, the reality indicates that its steps failed to force the US administration to reconsider Sanctions, and there has been no sharp rise to oil prices in the global oil market, so as a result Tehran is likely to expand the circle of gradual pressure in two directions:
The first: limited strikes to Israel.
It could work on limited strikes against Israel along the border with Lebanon, the Golan Heights with Syria, through one of its proxies, not Hezbollah, with the aim of pressuring Washington to reconsider sanctions.
In this context, the Shiite Iraqi militias, especially Asaib Ahl al-Haq, part of the Iranian-backed Popular crowd Forces, one of the candidates for this role, and its leader, “Qais al-Khazali,” visited the Israeli-Lebanese border and declared their readiness to confront Israel and cooperate in a future war against it, it seems this step entered into force where , yesterday, June 16, a rocket landed in the Israeli town of Dishon, a few kilometers away from southern Lebanon.
This kind of attack will not drag Tel Aviv into a broad confrontation with Tehran, given the experience of the Second Gulf War, although Iraq has directed strikes at Israel that it did not enter the war and remained silent, Israel will continue to launch limited strikes to the capabilities of the Iranian force in Syria , If necessary in Lebanon and Iraq.
Second: the transition to the third phase of gradual escalation.
Based on Tehran’s attempt to push its agents to carry out asymmetric attacks that are difficult to attribute directly to it as a state, with attacks targeting US interests in the region (staff, military bases, and embassies, US companies). Tehran seems to have started this phase of gradual pressure, as on June 16, three mortar shells targeted US interests in Iraq, the first targeted the US embassy in the “Green Zone”, the second targeted on the base of the air base of Balad, and the third targeted a base near Baghdad International Airport, and in the morning of June 19, Katyusha rocket landed near the US oil company “ExxonMobil” in the city of Basra, Iraq and hit the residence and operating room.
However, the scenario of controlled tension between the two sides is most likely until now, without reaching a military confrontation, that the failure of Washington to take advanced steps other than economic sanctions in order to escalate the crisis to the brink of the abyss without reaching war will push Tehran to expand its circle of asymmetrical attacks on US interests and Washington’s allies in the region.
Iranian Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies