In the past few weeks, there have been remarkable changes in the Israeli-Iranian confrontation, indicating a qualitative and dangerous development. One of the changes was the transfer of Israeli airstrikes to military arsenal centers and positions of organizations affiliated with Iran within the Popular Crowd in Iraq, as well as the direct announcement of the possibility to extend this airstrikes to Yemen. The recent events in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, in conjunction with another operation in the Aqraba area of Reef Damascus in Syria, constitute an unprecedented opening of the Israeli confrontation.
Arab political circles considered the events of the past few days as the beginning of the countdown to a deferred regional war, the main parties of which are Iran, Israel, and its theater, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. These circled added there is a link between Israeli’s targeting of Iranian targets in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities , Damascus and Beirut in light of Netanyahu’s need for escalation about three weeks before an Israeli elections that is of particular importance to his political future. These circles indicated in this regard that Iran is meeting Israel’s desire to escalate, raising the risk of a regional conflict.
Israeli military sources announced that the recent bombing was the result of a major intelligence operation. Iranian officials had previously spoken of “surprises” their country was preparing, while Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah raised the threat with a significant display of scenes of Hezbollah targeting an Israeli tanker during a war. 2006.
These facts coincided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call a few days ago with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in the region, as well as a major escalation in the operations of the Yemeni Houthis against Saudi military and civilian sites, while Iran achieved a diplomatic victory with the announcement of the authorities of Gibraltar to release its giant oil tanker without releasing a British-flagged tanker, it was detained in a kind of Iranian response to the “eye-to-eye and tooth-to-tooth” approach. Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has largely turned a blind eye to Israeli air strikes. Netanyahu’s office said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. Israeli bombardment of targets in Damascus was accompanied by the dispatch of two drones to fly over Beirut’s southern suburbs.
The political circles itself noted that Israel, unusually, immediately claimed responsibility for bombing Iranian targets in and around Damascus on Sunday night. Before that, Netanyahu did not deny Israel strikes on Iranian targets in Iraq belonging to the Popular Crowd , which is considered as one of the Iraqi tools belonging to Iran. US political analyst Sebastian Bacchus believes that the new Israeli operations could turn into another fuse that ignites a major war in the region. “If we don’t respond to the attacks, Israel may be encouraged to secure itself against Iran, even further,” said Bacchus, a writer at the Stratfor Center for Studies.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that “the battle against Iran is wide and long, because Tehran is trying to control the whole Middle East, to be able to put pressure against Israel.” Arab political circles said noted that Israeli ‘s proximity to targets is considered within Damascus , especially in the Sayyida Zainab area , where Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Party are based . Israel said an air strike against an Iranian Revolutionary Guards arm in Syria that it accused it of planning drone attacks showing Tehran that its forces were being targeted anywhere . The semi-official IRNA news agency reported, that a commander of the Revolutionary Guards denied today that Iranian targets were hit in Israeli air strikes in Syria ” , and he added ,Our advisory centers were not harmed,” .
In response to the fall of the two drones, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah vowed “the Israeli army on the border to stand on the wall and wait for our response,” refusing to allow “the turn of the clock back and Lebanon to become violated or permissible.” “What happened on Sunday night is very, very, very dangerous and the situation should be at the level of the event and the danger and should not be ridiculing the matter ” Nasrallah said at a ceremony in the town of Al-Ain in the northern Bekaa. He added a regular drone entered and is present to us and we may show it to the media, and the wreckage of the second plane is not the type of aircraft that are leased to photograph weddings and events, the first plane entered the target area, and was a reconnaissance plane and was not equipped with any explosive materials and flying low, and this means that it was trying to give pictures of the intended target, we did not drop it but a young man In the neighborhood, they threw stones at it and then it was dropped , perhaps because of a technical malfunction or because of stones, and after a while the second plane came in an offensive way and hit a certain place ».
The qualitative new development in the confrontation was, according to news from various sources, that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards targeted Israel by drone, and the last two Israeli operations are therefore in response to this threat, as well as in the transfer of attacks to the home of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the two goals of this are to abortion of these operations on the one hand, , and to inform Hezbollah and Iran that they are not affected by the threats of Hassan Nasrallah, the transfer of operations to Iraq and the threat of access to Yemen, as well as the declaration of a desire to contribute to the protection of the Strait of Hormuz, means that the battle could move from the conflict with Iran’s tools to the direct confrontation with the Iranians in international airspace and seas, and possibly in Iran itself.
With these transfers, Iran and Israel are moving to an unprecedented new phase of confrontation. It is no longer clear where it can end. If these operations are part of Iran’s political strategy , they are part of negotiating with USA to restore the nuclear deal and stop the sanctions , they are part of the Israeli strategy , it may be aimed at restoring Iranian influence to Iranian geography only , which are strategies where it is hard to find a common denominator to negotiate, making their repercussion extremely dangerous for the entire Arab region.
The administration of President Donald Trump expressed support for Israel after its raids in Syria, where the State Department said on Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed Washington’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself from the threat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, this was in a contact with Israeli PM Bebjamin Netanyahu after Israeli airstrikes in Syria . The ministry added in a statement , “The foreign minister and the prime minister discussed how Iran is using its presence in Syria to threaten Israel and its neighbors,” .
Recent developments in relation to the Israeli escalation in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq reflect Israel’s changing approach to the northern front, though some link it to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral calculations. There is a clear change in Israeli engagement with the northern front, and strategic analysts say friction with Iran is no longer in the Gulf region and the Strait of Hormuz after Western countries appeared to be joining the US-led military operation to secure international shipping. The Israeli-American alliance, with Russian complicity in Syria, is aiming to hit Iranian expansion and targeting Tehran’s military arms in the region.
They added that Iran, after the painful strikes it received in Syria, is treating Iraq as a field to embrace storage and training points. They considered that the change in Iranian strategy is pushing Israel to expand its operations and attacks against the Iranian military presence in the whole area between Iran and the Mediterranean. According to Israeli specialists, the operation against the Beirut suburb, where the security zone comprises Hizbullah headquarters and its secretary-general, is part of a fan of military attacks that Israel has intensified in the past hours, days and weeks against military positions in Syria and Iraq of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard or places controlled by militias affiliated to Iran. They pointed out that this time Israel intended to declare its responsibilities for its operations in Iraq and Syria, either through the hint of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or through a direct announcement talking about the bombing of centers near Damascus and the fall of victims of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
In a response to a question asked by Israeli Channel 9 television a few days ago whether Israeli forces were “acting in the entire region, including Iraq, against the Iranian threat,” Netanyahu replied: “We are acting in many arenas against a country that seeks to destroy us.” Of course, the security forces have been given the freedom to behave and instruct to do what is necessary to thwart these Iranian plans. ” It seems that the region is already coming to many surprises.
Unit of Iranian Studies
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies