Is an Israel-Iran War About to Break out in Syria?
Israel and Iran are inching closer to a full-on war in Syria. Israel claims that Iran sent a drone over the Syria-Israel border (Iran denies the claim), to which Israel responded by carrying out raids on Iranian targets in Syria. During the course of these raids, Syrian forces shot down an Israeli fighter jet, which crashed in Northern Israel.
The U.S. has reiterated support for Israel’s right to defend itself while Russia has urged Israel to act with restraint. Many are wondering if this latest flare-up of tensions is just another episode in Israel’s long history of preventing Iranian strongholds from forming in Syria, or if the downing of the jet is truly an unprecedented act of war. More at BBC.
We’ve seen something like this before. Last September, Israeli jets attacked a Syrian military installation near the city of Masyaf that also allegedly produced chemical weapons and advanced missiles….
That said, what happened last September is nothing like Saturday’s events. This most recent flare-up could escalate simmering tensions between Israel, Syria, and Iran even further — something an already roiling Middle East can’t afford.
Even if the current round ends quickly, in the longer term the strategic situation has changed. Israel will be forced to address a nettling combination of circumstances: Iran’s willingness to act against it, the Assad regime’s growing self-confidence and, most worrying of all, partial Russian backing for the aggressive policy adopted by the other two members of the axis.
What we can say for sure: Israel is determined not to allow a consolidation of Iranian power on its border with Syria. The downing of a fighter jet yesterday is not going to change this.
What we can’t say for sure: How much Iran is determined, and how far it is willing to go to consolidate its power in Syria.
What we can’t say for sure: How Russia is going to respond to the recent escalation. Will it tame Iran’s advancement, or try to tame Israel’s assertiveness, or both?
What we can’t say for sure: Is the Trump administration still there? Does it have a dog in this fight?
What we can’t say for sure: Is this the beginning of a real war, or the continuation of the War of Attrition?