Syria strike is a message to Iran 

Source: Syria strike is a message to Iran ‎ – Israel Hayom

Yoav Limor

There was seemingly nothing new about the IDF’s alleged strike on the T4 air base ‎in southern Syria, Sunday night. According to ‎foreign media reports, Israel has targeted the base ‎more than once in the past year and in some instances, ‎Jerusalem assumed responsibility for the airstrikes.

As with previous attacks, it seems the air‎strikes were targeting components for the air defense capabilities Iran insists on establishing in ‎Syria.‎

Yet nothing about the attack was routine, and not ‎just because it was carried out in such close ‎proximity to Russian forces stationed in Syria. If ‎the reports are correct, Israel knowingly insisted ‎on enforcing its red lines in Syria at a very ‎significant point in time – three days ahead of Prime ‎Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned meeting with ‎Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and ‎one week before Putin is set to meet with U.S. ‎President Donald Trump in Helsinki.‎

Since there are no coincidences in this world, the ‎alleged Israeli attack likely sought to send ‎an unequivocal message to both leaders. While ‎Netanyahu will likely reiterate this message in his ‎meeting with Putin, and his emissaries will do the ‎same with Trump, there is nothing like an airstrike ‎to get a point across. What Israel wants to make ‎clear is that it does not intend to compromise on ‎Iran’s presence in Syria and that if world ‎powers do not act on the matter, Israel will ‎continue to act on its own.‎

It is reasonable to assume Israel is not operating ‎in a vacuum but out of the understanding that the current ‎situation is a convenient one. The Trump ‎administration is very sympathetic to Israel and ‎very hostile to Iran. The Putin regime wants quiet ‎in Syria and Iranian involvement anywhere always spells potential ‎chaos. The Syrian regime wants to complete its ‎takeover of Syria and begin the process of ‎rehabilitating the country. The last thing President ‎Bashar Assad wants is a new conflict, especially ‎with Israel.‎

Under these circumstances, Israel understands there ‎is nothing stopping it from acting and moreover, ‎that now is the time to ‎shape clear boundaries.

One can link Sunday’s alleged strike to the ‎raid some two weeks ago on an ‎Iranian weapons convoy on the Iraq-Syria border – the ‎farthest attack attributed to Israel in recent years, which also clearly showed that Iran is looking for alternative land ‎routes to the aerial route that are ‎routinels attacked. This was also a demonstration of the unequivocal statements ‎from the heads of the diplomatic-security ‎establishment that any Iranian attempt to establish ‎itself in the Golan Heights would be met with force.‎

For the time being, Israel appears to have the upper ‎hand in this arena. Unlike in the past, Iran has ‎not responded, even though several of its men were ‎wounded and killed in the attack. Syria has also ‎avoided unnecessary provocations. And yet, one must ‎not infer from this about the future. Israel now has ‎some good cards to play, but the Middle East is a ‎dynamic and volatile place, and Iran will continue ‎to try to use this to its advantage.‎

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