Archive for the ‘Iran / Israel War’ category

Israel will join coalition against Iran if it blocks Red Sea, PM warns

August 2, 2018


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the naval officers’ graduation in Haifa, Wednesday

If Iran blocks Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which leads into Red Sea, it will face international coalition that includes “all of Israel’s military branches,” PM Netanyahu says • Defense Minister Lieberman: Israel has “heard of threats to harm Israeli ships.”

Lilach Shoval, Eli Leon, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Source Link: Israel will join coalition against Iran if it blocks Red Sea, PM warns

{Wow! It appears the days when Israel was asked to step aside are finally over. – LS}

Israel would deploy its military as part of an international coalition to stop an attempt by Iran to block the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that leads into the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday.

“If Iran tries to block the strait of Bab el-Mandeb, I am certain that it will find itself confronting an international coalition that will be determined to prevent this, and this coalition will also include all of Israel’s military branches,” Netanyahu said. He was speaking at a graduation parade for new Israeli Navy officers in Haifa.

Last week, Saudi Arabia said it was suspending oil shipments through the strategic strait after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis attacked two ships in the waterway.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are engaged in a three-year-old proxy war in Yemen, which lies on one side of Bab el-Mandeb.

Yemen’s Houthis, who have previously threatened to block the strait, said last week they had the naval capability to hit Saudi ports and other Red Sea targets.

Iran has not threatened to block Bab el-Mandeb but has said it will block the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, if it is prevented from exporting oil.

Speaking at a separate event, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel had “recently heard of threats to harm Israeli ships in the Red Sea.” He gave no additional details.

Ships mainly from Asia pass through Bab el-Mandeb heading for Eilat in Israel. Ships also pass through the strait heading for Aqaba in Jordan and some Saudi destinations, as well as to continue on through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea.

The strait is just 29 kilometers (18 miles) wide, making hundreds of ships potentially an easy target. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said an estimated 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil and products flowed through it in 2016.

Israel has previously attacked Iranian forces in Syria and has insisted that they leave Syria completely. They have withdrawn to a distance of 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the Israeli Golan Heights, Russia’s special envoy to Syria said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, senior Iranian officials and military commanders on Tuesday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer of talks without preconditions as worthless and “a dream,” saying his words contradict his actions in reimposing sanctions on Iran.

Israeli officials dismissed allegations that the declaration caught Israel by surprise.

Iran’s currency plummeted to new depths on Monday, dropping below 120,000 rials to the dollar, but Trump’s expressed willingness to negotiate with Iran sparked a minor recovery on Tuesday to 110,000 rials on the unofficial market.

Videos on social media showed hundreds of people rallying in Isfahan in central Iran, and Karaj near Tehran, in protest against high prices caused in part by the rial’s devaluation under heightened U.S. pressure.

Netanyahu tells Putin: Israel will continue to act against Iran in Syria

July 20, 2018

PM Netanyahu and President Putin spoke by telephone four days after Putin’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Moscow, in which both leaders spoke of the importance of Israel’s security.

By Tovah Lazaroff, REUTERS July 20, 2018 Jerusalem Post

Source Link: Netanyahu tells Putin: Israel will continue to act against Iran in Syria

{There goes the neighborhood. – LS}

Israel will continue to act against Iran in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday as Syrian rebels were due to evacuate the border area near Israel’s Golan Heights.

The two spoke by telephone four days after Putin’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Moscow, in which both leaders spoke of the importance of Israel’s security. Trump later told Fox News that Putin was a fan of “Bibi.”

Netanyahu and Putin spoke of regional developments and the situation in Syria, according to the Prime MInister’s Office.

He said that, “Israel would continue to act against the establishment of an Iranian military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu said.

On Thursday Trump tweeted that he looked forward to his next meeting with Putin, “so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems…but they can ALL be solved!”

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are due to resume control of Syrian area of the Golan Heights.

“We are awaiting the start of the operation and God willing it will happen today,” Hammam Dbayat, the governor of al-Quneitra province, told Reuters, as buses prepared to transport out rebel fighters to the northwestern province of Idlib.

Reuters footage filmed from the Israeli side of the frontier showed men climbing into trucks piled high with belongings and leaving al-Qahtaniya village at the Golan frontier. It was not clear where they were headed.

Tens of thousands of people have been sheltering at the frontier since the government offensive began one month ago.

With the Russian-backed offensive closing in, rebels in Quneitra agreed on Thursday to either accept the return of state rule, or leave to Idlib province in the north, echoing terms imposed on defeated rebels elsewhere in Syria. Idlib’s population has been swollen by Syrians fleeing from Assad’s advances elsewhere.

The offensive has restored Syrian government control over a swathe of the southwest, strategically vital territory at the borders with Jordan and Israel.

It has been one of the swiftest military campaigns of the seven-year-long war. The United States, which once armed the southern rebels, told them not to expect its intervention as the offensive got underway. Many surrendered quickly.

While swathes of Syria remain outside his control, Assad’s advances over the past two years have brought him ever closer to snuffing out the armed rebellion that grew out of a civilian uprising against his rule in 2011.

It leaves the insurgency with one last big foothold – a chunk of territory in the northwest at the border with Turkey stretching from Idlib province to the city of Jarablus northeast of Aleppo. The deployment of the Turkish military in this area will complicate further gains for Assad.

Large areas of the northeast and east also remain outside Assad’s grasp. These areas are held by Kurdish-led militias, supported by 2,000 U.S. troops on the ground.

Dbayat said it remained unclear exactly how many fighters would leave Quneitra, but the government had so far prepared 45 buses. “We are ready to move the militants out of the area, and if it is completed, we will immediately provide the necessary services to residents, including electricity and water.”

State TV said 10 buses had entered a village in Quneitra on Thursday night for the evacuation of insurgents “who refuse to settle with the state” towards rebel territory in the north.

The offensive sparked the largest exodus of the war, uprooting more than 320,000 people mostly towards the southern borders. Both neighbors Israel and Jordan said they would not take in refugees.

Many people left the frontier with Jordan after government forces took the Nassib border crossing and rebels in Deraa province agreed a surrender deal last week.

Why Iran Supports Palestinian Terror Groups

July 19, 2018


Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards General Gholamhossein Gheybparvar. (Image source: Tasnim via Wikimedia Commons)

by Khaled Abu Toameh
July 19, 2018 Gatestone Institute

Source Link: Why Iran Supports Palestinian Terror Groups

{Iran’s obsession with the destruction of Israel will be their undoing. – LS}

  • The Iranian general did not offer to build the Palestinians a hospital or a school. Nor did he offer to provide financial aid to create projects that would give jobs to unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. His message to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: Iran will give you as much money and weapons as you need as long as you are committed to the jihad (holy war) against Israel and the “big Satan,” the US.
  • The same Hamas that is telling UN representatives that it wants to improve the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is the one that is reaching out its hand to Iran to receive funds and weapons.
  • Now, someone needs to step in and stop Iran from setting foot in the Gaza Strip and using the Palestinians as cannon fodder in Tehran’s campaign against the US and Israel. How might someone do that? It is not so complicated. Any international aid to the Gaza Strip must be conditioned on ending Iran’s destructive effort to recruit Palestinians groups as its soldiers. It is that simple.

While the United Nations, Israel and the US are proposing plans to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Iran is pledging to continue its financial and military aid to Palestinian terror groups.

Iran’s meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians is not new. The Iranians have long been providing Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups with money and weapons. Were it not for Iran’s support, the two groups, which do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, would not have been able to remain in power in the coastal enclave.

Iran’s support for the Palestinian terror groups has a twofold goal: first, to undermine the Palestinian Authority, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, and which Tehran sees as a pawn in the hands of the US and Israel; and second, to advance Iran’s goal of destroying Israel.

Just this week, we received yet another reminder of Iran’s true goal. The leader of Iran’s “Islamic Revolution,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the Palestinians will win over their enemies and will “see the day when the fake Zionist regime” vanishes. He said that US President Donald Trump’s “evil policy” is doomed to failure.

So, Iran does not care about the harsh conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Instead, its leaders are hoping that the Palestinians will live to see the day Israel is eliminated. This is also why Iran continues to support any Palestinian group that seeks to destroy Israel.

On the same day that Khamenei made his statement in Tehran, one of his senior generals, Gholamhossein Gheybparvar addressed a conference held in the Gaza Strip and Tehran simultaneously. Gheybparavar is a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and commander of its Basij forces — the “Mobilization Resistance Force.” This force’s main mission is to suppress protests against the regime in Tehran.

In his speech via video conference, the Iranian general told representatives of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror groups that he was “proud” of their “resistance” against Israel. He said that the conference, which was being held under the title, “Wet Gunpowder/Resistance Is Not Terrorism,” was an expression of Arab and Islamic unity against the enemies of the Arabs and Muslims. The Iranian general said that Iran and the “axis of resistance” were not afraid of Trump’s “threats.”

The Palestinian terror groups said after the conference that they were encouraged by the Iranian general’s pledge to support them in their fight against Israel and the US.

Khader Habib, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official in the Gaza Strip, said that the Iranian-Palestinian conference was both “symbolic and significant.” The conference, he said, served as a reminder that Iran continues to support the Palestinian “resistance” and would deter Israel from attacking the Gaza Strip in response to terror attacks on its citizens. The speech by the Iranian general, he added, was aimed at sending a message to the many countries to support the Palestinian “resistance” groups in the Gaza Strip. “Israel is a potential threat to the Arabs and Muslims,” Habib said.

Buoyed by the Iranian backing, several speakers at the conference called for the formation of a “unified Arab-Islamic front” against Israel and the US. They also stressed that the terror attacks against Israel would continue and praised Iran for its full support for the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

By promising to continue helping the Palestinian terror groups, Iran is offering the two million residents of the Gaza Strip more bloodshed and violence. The Iranian general did not offer to build the Palestinians a hospital or a school. Nor did he offer to provide financial aid to create projects that would give jobs to unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. His message to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: Iran will give you as much money and weapons as you need, as long as you are committed to the jihad (holy war) against Israel and the “big Satan,” the US.

The Iranian message to the Palestinian terror groups came at a time when several international parties are trying to resolve the “humanitarian and economic” crisis in the Gaza Strip. These efforts are spearheaded by the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, who in recent weeks has been on a mission to prevent another war in the Gaza Strip.

These efforts are unlikely to succeed, however, as long as Iran continues its support of the Palestinian terror groups. Iran apparently wants to retain control over its Palestinian proxies to prevent any peace and stability between Arabs and Israel. Iran is not helping the terror groups out of love for the Palestinians, but in order to advance its goal of eliminating the “fake Zionist regime.”

If anyone is worried about the Iranian meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians, it is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his ruling Fatah faction. “We don’t want to become a pawn in the hands of Iran,” said Ra’fat Elayan, a senior Fatah official. “Iran is using Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a maneuvering card against Israel and the US, and this will have a negative impact on the just Palestinian cause. We have repeatedly warned the two groups of the Iranian intervention in Palestinian affairs.”

Meanwhile, it appears that Hamas wants to have it both ways. On the one hand, Hamas wants the international community to step in and help the people of the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, Hamas wants Iran to continue funding its terrorism. The same Hamas that is telling UN representatives that it wants to improve the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is the one that is reaching out its hand to Iran to receive funds and weapons.

We can take a tip from Abbas’s and Fatah’s anxiety: If they are worried about Iran’s ongoing efforts to infiltrate the Palestinian arena, the US and the rest of the world need to find ways to stop Iran from using the Palestinians as a weapon in its battle to extend its control over more and more countries in the Middle East and carry out its deadly schemes.

Iran has brought nothing but disaster to Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. Now, someone needs to step in and stop Iran from setting foot in the Gaza Strip and using the Palestinians as cannon fodder in Tehran’s campaign against the US and Israel. How might someone do that? It is not so complicated. Any international aid to the Gaza Strip must be conditioned on ending Iran’s destructive effort to recruit Palestinians groups as its soldiers. It is that simple.

 

Syrian state media claims Israeli missiles strike near Damascus airport

June 26, 2018

Hit ’em hard, my Israeli friends.

And hit ’em where it hurts.

Syrian state media claims Israeli missiles strike near Damascus airport

https://www.timesofisrael.com/syrian-state-media-claims-israeli-missiles-strike-near-damascus-airport/

Observer group says reported attack targeted Hezbollah arms depots; Assad forces ‘failed to intercept the missiles’

Syrian state media said early Tuesday that two Israeli missiles struck near Damascus International Airport, without adding any details.

In a report in the early hours of Tuesday, Syria’s state news agency said “two Israeli missiles came down near Damascus international airport.”

The head of monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, also said that “the Israeli missiles hit arms depots for Hezbollah near the airport.”

He said the air strike took place at 1:00 am local time “without causing huge explosions” even though they hit the weapons stores.

The observatory added that the Syrian air defense “failed to intercept the missiles.”

Israel has warned of a growing Iranian military presence in neighbouring Syria, which it sees as a threat to its safety.

Its military has been carrying out strikes on Iranian and Iran-affiliated targets in Syria, with a US official saying it was Israeli forces that carried out a deadly strike against an Iraqi paramilitary base in eastern Syria on June 17.

On Sunday, forces loyal to the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad reportedly took control of an abandoned UN post in the no-man’s land between the Israeli and Syrian areas of the Golan Heights.

The post, abandoned by United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) troops on the Golan, is meant to be free of both Israeli and Syrian troops, according to the cessation of hostilities agreement between the two countries that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

According to the report, UNDOF has identified ongoing infrastructure work at the site.

The IDF said in a statement that it was “aware of what is taking place, and views [the takeover of the site and] the infrastructure work at the post as a serious and flagrant violation of the separation-of-forces agreement.”

The IDF statement suggested Israel might act to remove the forces from the post by force. Officials told the Kan broadcaster that Israel “sees UNDOF as responsible for tracking and acting against military forces in the separation zone, and is determined to prevent military entrenchment in that area.”

The report came just hours after an Israeli Patriot missile was fired at a drone that approached from Syria toward Israel’s airspace. Israeli officials believe the drone belonged to regime forces.

According to Hebrew-language reports, the IDF is bracing for an uptick in fighting in Syrian areas adjacent to the Israeli border, and expects incidents of stray fire to enter Israeli territory.

As fighting between the main factions in the Syrian civil war threatened to overwhelm UNDOF positions, the UN troops left the demilitarized buffer zone for Israel in 2014.

 

Iranian Revolutionary Guard general: ‘Resistance is the only way’

May 10, 2018

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS May 10, 2018 12:49

Source: Iranian Revolutionary Guard general: ‘Resistance is the only way’

{To this day, the Iranians are still playing the ‘proxy card’ by insisting the Syrians are the ones who attacked Israel with missiles. However, if Salami follows through on threats to attack Tel Aviv, Tehran will be fair game. So much for proxies. – LS}

Hours after Israeli strikes on Iranian military targets in Syria, which reportedly killed 23 people, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Force, said that “resistance is the only way to confront” Iran’s enemies, “not diplomacy.”

“Wherever Iran has confronted its enemies, it has advanced; we have gained our power through difficult battles,” Salami said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

While Salami’s immediate subject was the reports of European efforts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal following US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 agreement on Tuesday, his words also seemed to refer obliquely to the Israeli operation, which struck 50 Iranian targets in Syria after 20 rockets were fired toward Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights, according to the IDF. 28 Israeli fighter jets participated in the attack and Israel also fired more than 10 tactical ground-to-ground missiles, a Russian Defense Ministry statement quoted by Interfax news agency said.

European countries are powerless to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, Salami said.

Iranian media is portraying the confrontation as an unprecedented Syrian attack on Israel.

“Tens of Israeli military centers… came under attack,” reported the English website of the semi-official Fars News Agency, quoting Syrian media. “The Israeli Iron Dome defense shield has failed to intercept the rockets.”

Other Iranian media sources, including Mashregh News, Iranian Student News Agency, and others, have presented the events in similar terms.

Responding on Twitter to a CNN report on the Israeli strikes, Syrian Member of Parliament Fares Shehabi denied that Iranians had launched the rockets against Israel.

Fares Shehabi MP @ShehabiFares

The Syrian army (not Iranians) launched 50 rockets (not 20) to several Israeli army targets in the Golan, and most rockets hit their targets.

Fares Shehabi MP @ShehabiFares

It is time we strike back at Tel Aviv and not only at the occupied Golan Heights!

The Syrian army (not Iranians) launched 50 rockets (not 20) to several Israe

Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, IDF spokesperson Brig-Gen. Ronen Manelis said that none of the 20 rockets fired from Syria had struck Israeli territory.

“Iron Dome intercepted the rockets. There are no injuries and no damage was caused to IDF positions,” Manelis said.

Manelis also clarified that Israel had targeted Iranian forces in Syria.

“The Quds Force paid a heavy price last night. We have seen a demonstration of the IDF’s intelligence and airpower capabilities.”

Jubeir: Saudi Arabia will seek nuclear weapon if Iran does

May 9, 2018


Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made the statement during his interview with CNN. (Al Arabiya)

AFP Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Source: Jubeir: Saudi Arabia will seek nuclear weapon if Iran does

{Iran’s list of enemies grows longer. – LS}

Saudi Arabia will seek to develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran does, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday, amid spiraling tension between the regional rivals.

Asked whether Riyadh would “build a bomb itself” if Tehran seizes on Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran deal to resume a nuclear weapons program, Jubeir said: “If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”

Saudi Arabia has long said it would match any Iranian weapons development, but Jubeir’s renewed vow came after US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of an accord designed to prevent Tehran’s alleged quest for the bomb.

And it came amid growing tension over Iran’s support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been firing rockets across the border.

Riyadh, which is part of a regional coalition that intervened in Yemen’s civil war to fight the Houthis, accuses Iran of supplying the militia with ballistic missiles.

“These missiles are Iranian manufactured and delivered to the Huthis. Such behavior is unacceptable. It violates UN Resolutions with regards to ballistic missiles. And the Iranians must be held accountable for this,” Jubeir told CNN.

“We will find the right way and at the right time to respond to this,” he warned. “We are trying to avoid at all costs direct military action with Iran, but Iran’s behavior such as this cannot continue. This amounts to a declaration of war.”

 

Is Israel-Iran clash imminent?

April 24, 2018

Al-Monitor

Source Link: Is Israel-Iran clash imminent?

{A sustained war with Israel would drain an already faltering Iranian economy and I suspect they know it. – LS}

Senior members of the Israeli security establishment are predicting that the month of May will be one of the most volatile periods in the current era. Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin, the former head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Intelligence Directorate, said in an interview published April 22, “I have not seen a May this dangerous since May 1967.”

Of particular note, two of the five military fronts concerning Israel have rapidly escalated in recent months. In the campaign against Iran being waged in Syria, the two sides have inched closer to an unprecedented tipping point. The situation in Gaza has worsened, with mass marches and protests held at the border fence every Friday for the past four weeks, in addition to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

The odds for an all-out war between Israel and its opponents this summer are no longer miniscule. As I wrote April 18 in Al-Monitor, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said at a Cabinet meeting that it is possible that war will, indeed, erupt, and if so, Israel will have to cope with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and the Lebanese army as well as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Salafist groups in Gaza.

Many Israeli legislators are worried, because for the first time in a long time, consensus exists among Israel’s top brass about the situation and how to deal with it. There are no dissenting or minority opinions on the subject, no moderate voices warning against escalation and the possible results. It reminds some of Israel’s statesmen of the heady days between the 1967 war and before the eruption of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, which resulted in one of Israel’s greatest military catastrophes.

“The fact is that the entire military elite, the prime minister and the defense minister, all the Cabinet ministers, and almost all members of the opposition — even almost all of the media — are united behind the government’s policy,” said one source to Al-Monitor who served in several senior ministerial positions and requested anonymity. “This [unity] arouses my suspicions. It creates an unhealthy situation in which the prime minister and ministers do not stop for a minute to ask themselves, ‘Is this scenario truly unavoidable? Do we have an iron-clad reason to embroil ourselves in a war that might cause thousands of deaths on the Israeli home front as well?’”

An examination of Israel’s strategic situation shows the current period to be ripe in terms of a possible confrontation with Iran. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is busy trying to survive and therefore would have no intention of taking an active part in such a conflict. Hezbollah, meanwhile, wants to retain its arsenal of rockets and missiles for “Judgement Day,” and therefore is distancing itself from possible conflict. Thus, assuming Iran has to face Israel alone, this scenario would be a golden, one-off opportunity for Israel to create new rules of the game and secure its redlines in Syria — that is, it will not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria, period.

Such is the current thinking of Israel’s leadership. The problem is that in the case of a serious flare-up, basic working assumptions can vanish into thin air with the launching of hundreds or thousands of missiles from both sides.

In the last few days, Israel and Iran have found themselves fighting a war of words. Hossein Salami, the vice commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), threatened Israel with annihilation, claiming that all of Israel’s air force bases would be destroyed if a confrontation erupts. Meanwhile Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retorted with equally harsh threats. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif assumed the role of the responsible adult, dismissing a “regional war.” He also stated, however, “If they [Israel] continue to violate [the] territorial integrity of other states, there’ll be consequences.”

Israel views Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force, as the “head of the snake,” the man behind Iranian efforts to put Israel in a stranglehold. Soleimani leads the aggressive faction surrounding Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, while President Hassan Rouhani and his people share more moderate views and oppose Iran’s increasing involvement in Syria and the efforts expended to “export the revolution.”

According to intelligence that reached the West, Soleimani was behind the Iranian decision to disclose that seven IRGC members were killed in the April 8 assault attributed to Israel on the T4 air base near Homs. The names of the guards were released, and mass public funerals were held. Western intelligence sources believe that this was an attempt by Soleimani to force the Iranian leadership, mainly Rouhani, into acting against Israel and support a harsh military reprisal, for which Israel is waiting.

According to some assessments, Iran will try to retaliate using an Israeli approach: hitting a military base, inflicting losses on soldiers, but not targeting civilians. It is believed that the strike will be carried out from Syrian territory against a military target in northern Israel. The IDF is preparing for such a scenario, but what will Israel’s political echelon do after the Iranian reprisal? Will it decide to “contain” it and forgo retaliation? Undertake a symbolic reprisal or launch an aggressive assault to eliminate additional Iranian targets on Syrian territory? This last option might serve to turn the entire northern front into one big conflagration.

All eyes are focused on two triumvirates: Khamenei, Rouhani and Soleimani in Iran and Netanyahu, Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eizenkot in Israel. For the first time in ages, both sides are not certain they want to avoid a confrontation at all costs.

Netanyahu might well use the heating up on the northern front to neutralize or delay his trials and tribulations on the legal-criminal front. According to one scenario, he could try to assemble an emergency government by asking the opposition, led by Isaac Herzog in the Knesset and including the Zionist Camp (led by Avi Gabbay, chair of the Labor Party) and Yesh Atid (led by Yair Lapid), to join. This would enable him to appear as the nation’s leader in a time of crisis and downplay the police investigations tightening around him.

The chances that such a scenario will play out are not as low as they used to be. The closer the decisive moment gets, the more and brighter the warning lights. The traditional restraining elements in Israeli politics have been weakened, the consensus in Israel is worrisome and the slope is more slippery than ever. To this, one should add revelations in the April 23 edition of the Russian newspaper Kommersant, according to which Russia plans to supply Syria with an S-300 aerial defense system in the near future, free of charge. These revelations might generate a preventive Israeli strike, which could not only ignite that arena, but also drag Russia deeper into it.