Iran Is Trying to Avoid a Clash but May Surprise Israel


Iran’s military chief Mohammad Bagheri, right, on a visit to Turkey. Reuters / Stringer

Ephraim Kam Feb 27, 2018 2:46 PM Haaretz

Source Link: Iran Is Trying to Avoid a Clash but May Surprise Israel

{Running out of proxies? – LS}

Tehran will find it hard to remain silent for long if Israel strikes Iranian targets; at some stage it might shock us with the timing, weapons or method

The latest confrontation between Israel and Iran on the northern front was predictable. We can assume that neither side wanted the clash, but with Tehran having sent substantial Iranian and Shi’ite combat forces to Syria  while arming Hezbollah with advanced weapons, and with Israel determined to check the danger, a clash was almost inevitable.

On top of that is the consensus among Israel’s leaders that Iran presents the most serious threat to Israel. This perception is based on a number of elements: Hezbollah and its huge missile system, Iran’s large and improved missile system, and Tehran’s policy of encircling Israel with radical Shi’ites, marked by the anti-Israel front in Syria and Lebanon.

Clearly if Iran goes nuclear some day this threat will increase to an unprecedented level. But the balance of powers is more complex. The main tool used by the Israel Defense Forces in Syria is the air force, and Iran has no answer to it; its own air force is based on planes 30 to 40 years old and clearly can’t cope with its Israeli rival.

In addition, Iran has to operate forces hundreds of kilometers from its borders without any real defense when they’re subject to Israeli attacks and provocations by Sunni groups in Syria. Weapons convoys to Hezbollah and arms plants in Syria are exposed to attacks.

The United States also poses a threat to Iran. The Trump administration has defined Iran as a threat of the highest order to the United States and its allies due to its use of terror, intervention in other countries, construction of a large missile system, and above all its attempt to produce nuclear weapons.

Although Russia – currently the most influential player in Syria – stands alongside Iran and recognizes Iran’s right to maintain forces in Syria, there are differences of opinion, conflicts of interest and suspicions between Tehran and Moscow. As a result, Iran fears that if an overall agreement in Syria is achieved, Russia won’t insist on leaving Bashar Assad’s regime in place if it receives a promise that it can continue to use its air base and naval base there.

If the Assad regime is ousted in the context of an agreement, Iran’s influence in Syria will suffer a serious blow. Iran thus hasn’t yet responded with fire to attacks against weapons convoys and factories in Syria.

Even when Iran challenged Israel in the most recent clash, it did so with a drone, not by opening fire. Since early 2015, Hezbollah has also refrained from responding to what could be perceived as Israeli provocations. This reluctance to respond apparently stems from a recognition of Israel’s significant military advantage in the north.

The Iranians are also likely to fear that a confrontation with Israel would give Israel a chance to attack the nuclear weapons sites in Iran. Moreover, Iran apparently doesn’t seek a confrontation because its top priority is to stabilize the Assad regime and exploit its standing in Syria to strengthen its influence in Iraq and Lebanon. An entanglement with Israel could block these goals.

Iran’s supreme regional goal is to entrench itself in Syria and its neighbors for the long term. It has already paid a high price for this in blood and money, and there’s no reason to assume that it will give this up. Israel, meanwhile, must prevent Iran from leaving its forces and the Shi’ite militias in Syria – including Hezbollah – for the long term. This basic conflict could lead to a confrontation again – and there’s no evidence yet of a responsible adult among the great powers to ease the conflict of interests.

The bottom line is that Iran is trying to avoid a confrontation with Israel, but will find it hard to remain silent for long if Israel strikes Iranian targets. Thus we must take into account that at some stage Iran will take a military action to deter Israel. Iran will want to surprise Israel – with the timing, weapons or method. For that purpose it will prefer to activate Hezbollah and other Shi’ite militias so as not to get involved itself.

Iran may instruct Hezbollah to use its missile system, despite the risks involved both to it and its emissaries. Iran would probably try to exploit an opportunity when Israel is preoccupied with another crisis – the main candidate is a conflict with Hamas in Gaza. And of course there’s also the possibility of a mistake in judgment that would get Iran embroiled in a conflict with Israel.

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Iran - land bridge to Mediterranean, Iran / Israel War

Tags:

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Comments on “Iran Is Trying to Avoid a Clash but May Surprise Israel”

  1. CARLOS LIZARRAGA Says:

    First, Iran has already gone nuclear.Secondly,Israel will not attack mainland Iran because they do not have the military capability to do so and much less hit Iran’s nuke installations with any degree of success.Israel can probably wipe out Iran’s presence in Syria completely.Israel can inflict painful and disabling punishment on Hamas and Hizbolla as well.It would be a slaughterhouse 24 hours a day for all sides.Also this would depend too if Russia does not get involved in at least neutralizng Israel’s air power.The Iranian nuke deal was nothing more than a save face agreement for the U.S..

  2. wingate Says:

    Take the words of PM Netanjhu as serious
    as possible: “Dont test us ! ”

    You must understand that Israel has the absolute determination AND the weapons to destroy ANYBODY who attacks her!

    Just watch Israels leaders when saying this –
    they are dead serious: They WILL destroy you if you attack Israel – keep this carefully in ur minds !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s