Monday, February 12, 2018

Israel - Iran War Has Begun

Flames rise from part of a missile in Hasbani village in southwest Lebanon on Saturday. According to Lebanon's national news agency, the fragment appears to be part of a Syrian air defense missile that was targeting an Israeli warplane. (Associated Press)

Iran & Israel Engage Each Other Militarily - Noga Tarnopolsky and Nabih Bulos

An Iranian drone incursion into Israel early Saturday spiraled into a major confrontation that included the downing of an Israeli fighter jet and an extensive attack on Iranian military assets in Syria. 
(Los Angeles Times)

Open War with Iran Has Begun - Ronen Zvulun

What happened in northern Israel on Saturday is the beginning of the overt and direct war between Israel and Iran. The infiltration and interception of an Iranian drone over Israel, the downing of an Israeli F-16 and Israel’s retaliatory strikes against Syrian and Iranian targets that followed, are apparently just the opening scenes of a potentially wider conflict that could erupt if Iran continues trying to fortify its presence in the new Syria.

This was long in the making. Years ago, the Iranians came to the rescue of Bashar Assad in Syria and, together with Russia, ensured his survival. The problem is that they haven’t left. On the contrary – even though Assad is today in control of the majority of Syria, Iran is staying put and trying to establish an even greater presence within the country. On Saturday, we saw how determined it is to do just that.

It is too early to tell what lesson Iran has learned from the clash on Saturday. On the one hand, it succeeded in infiltrating a drone into Israel, even though it was ultimately intercepted. Its ally Syria succeeded in shooting down an Israeli fighter jet. On the other hand, Israel carried out its most widespread bombings in Syria since it destroyed almost all of Syria’s air defenses in 1982.
Israel’s retaliation was important for two reasons – it needed to neutralize the Syrian batteries that were used to down the F-16, but also to exact a price from Iran by bombing the control center used to operate the drone as well as other Iranian targets in Syria – the nature of which we will likely learn over the coming days.

The question will be whether Israel succeeded in boosting its deterrence. That depends on what Iran decides to do next. Will it keep on building its presence in Syria? Will it attempt another violation of Israel’s sovereignty down the road?

While the downing of a fighter jet is a heavy blow to Israeli morale, it was not totally unexpected and needs to be viewed through the wider context of what has been going on for the last five years. Israel has carried out more than 100 strikes in Syria, and in war there are always wins and losses. The fact that a plane hasn’t been shot down until now is the real story and speaks volumes of the IAF’s superior capabilities.

[Jerusalem Post]

Israel Destroyed a Significant Portion of Assad's Air Defense

Oubai Shahbandar, a fellow at the New America Foundation [said] "the Assad regime's military suffered a major blow as a result of Iran's military incursion. The Israeli airforce counterattack destroyed a significant portion of Assad's long-range SA-5 integrated air defense network outside Damascus."
(Arab News-Saudi Arabia)

Iran Setting Up Air Base outside Syrian City of Palmyra - Judah Ari Gross 

An Israeli military official said the T-4 base is being used by Iran to transport advanced weaponry to Syria, Hizbullah, and Shiite militias in the region. "It is part of a process of a force build-up against Israel," he said. 
(Times of Israel)

Iranians Pushing for New Status Quo in Syria - Ron Ben Yishai 

The Iranian drone was launched from Tiyas military airbase (T-4), one of Syria's largest airfields, which is routinely used by the Russian Air Force as well as by Iranian agents.
The attack on the base needed to be carried out with surgical precision to avoid hitting any Russian military aircraft or personnel.
(Ynet News)

White House: Israel Has Right to Defend Itself

The White House said Sunday: "Israel is a staunch ally of the United States, and we support its right to defend itself from the Iranian-backed Syrian and militia forces in southern Syria." It urged "Iran and its allies to cease provocative actions and work toward regional peace."  
(VOA News)

The balance sheet on the day of fighting with Iran and Syria was clear: Israel demonstrated its ability to defend its skies. It struck Iranian forces in Syria directly and exacted a price from Iran. It destroyed many Syrian SAM sites and left Damascus exposed to future attacks.
The writer, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, heads the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. 

This is part of a wider Iranian plan not just to besiege Israel but also to achieve ascendancy over the Sunnis.

For years Israel has warned of the consequences of Tehran's aggression, but its warnings have been largely ignored by the West and the UN. Britain and the EU could play an effective role in containing Iranian aggression but their answer is appeasement. Instead of sanctioning Iran and supporting Israel, they mouth platitudes about restraint by both sides, which further emboldens Tehran. 
The writer is former head of the international terrorism team at the Cabinet Office. 
(The Times-UK)

"There is no doubt that an event like this [sending an Iranian drone into Israel] was not coordinated in advance with the Russians and occurred without their knowledge, and this was very serious for the Russians. Putin is counting on there being quiet in Syria and that Russia can manage events there to advance its own interests. 

Now Russia has received proof of Israel's warnings that Iran is dangerous, and that granting Iran freedom of action in Syria is not helpful to Russia. Rather, it will just upset the area and disturb the quiet."


Nuclear Deal Linked to Iranian Gains in Syria - Jonathan S. Tobin

The conflict heating up on Israel's northern border is a direct consequence of the Iran nuclear deal

By choosing to normalize relations with Tehran - and signing a deal that legalized their nuclear program and ignored everything else it was doing - the U.S. set in motion a series of events that led directly to the presence of significant Iranian forces in Syria.
Far from encouraging Iran to be a responsible member of the world community, ending sanctions encouraged its leaders to treat the deal as a green light for their quest for regional hegemony. The only solution is going to have to involve rolling back the gains Iran has made since the U.S. signed a deal that set them on their current path. 

Must Israel Do America's Dirty Work? - Jonathan Tobin

Netanyahu waves a drone remnant in a recent speech
Though Trump deserves credit for helping to achieve a victory over ISIS in Iraq and Eastern Syria, which eluded the Obama administration, he also appears content to continue his predecessor’s policy of letting Russia control what is happening elsewhere in that country. Which means that for all of his bluster about Iran, its power is growing on his watch as much as it did under Obama.
While no one expects or wants U.S. forces to directly engage the Iranians in Syria, Trump can do Tehran more damage by announcing a firm date for more sanctions on Iran, in addition to a commitment to punish anyone who does business with the regime unless it renegotiates the nuclear deal. That would give the Europeans a stark choice between doing business with Iran or with the United States.

[Netanyahu w]aving the drone debris was a warning to America that if it doesn’t act, then Israel will. the Israelis aren’t likely to tolerate Iran consolidating its hold on parts of Syria. 
All of which means that a Trump administration that has been asleep at the wheel on Syria and Iran had better wake up soon before the situation deteriorates.


Senators : We Must "Stop Iran-Assad Machine" - Joe Gould

War between Israel and Iranian proxy forces is imminent, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators warned after a trip to the Middle East last week

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said of talks with Israeli officials, "When they tell you we want help to deal with the blowback that might come from attacks on civilian targets where Hizbullah has integrated military capability, that was pretty striking."
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said, "The tempo in terms of potential for conflict in Syria has gone up; the technologies Iran is projecting into Syria and southern Lebanon has gone up; Iran's willingness to be provocative, to push the edges of the envelope, to challenge Israel, has gone up."
"Israel's worst nightmare is to have Assad forces with Hizbullah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard elements on their border," Graham said. "It's in our interest to stop the Iran-Assad machine." Coons and Graham called on the administration to present Congress with a plan to counter Iran and Russia. 
(Defense News)

No comments: