The ambiguity in the war that Israel waged in Syria with Iran, its regional archenemy, has turned into a showdown. A barrage of more than 30 cruise missiles fired by four fighters from the Mediterranean struck Tehran’s military bases around Damascus early Monday. Training camps, intelligence facilities and weapons warehouses were the target of the largest Israeli armed intervention in the Syrian capital since the beginning of the war in 2011. In the air raid, 11 people were killed, including two Syrian soldiers, according to data from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights collected with information on the ground.
Israel now fights Iran in Syria without discretion and in full light. Even the Damascus Army was allowed early warning through social networks that it would suffer the consequences if it attacked Hebrew territory or responded with direct fire against its forces. The warning was not in vain. The anti-aircraft batteries of the Bashar al-Assad regime that dared to respond to the raid were destroyed.
Israeli military commanders insisted it was a retaliatory operation for the launch, on Sunday afternoon, of a medium-range missile against the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. Military analysts of the Hebrew press They note that the Iranian-made earth-ground rocket carried a half-ton explosive head and that it could have caused a massacre on the crowded ski slopes of Mount Hermon had it not been intercepted by the missile shield Iron Dome. 4″It was an unacceptable attack perpetrated directly by Iranian troops,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an international spokesman for the Armed Forces, who attributed the shooting to the elite force Al Quds, the expeditionary force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the conflict.
Admitted that there may have been “connection” between the launching of the Iranian missile and the previous activities of the Hebrew Army in Syrian territory. The Syrian news agency sana had reported at noon on Sunday of an attack on an area of the Damascus International Airport under control of Iranian forces shortly before it attempted to land a plane from Tehran. Among the objectives destroyed during the Israeli incursion was the command center of the Al Quds force from which the launching of the missile against the Golan Heights was directed.
The confrontation between the most irreconcilable enemies in the Middle East increases in tone as the Syrian conflict subsides after the military victories of the regime and its allies. The United States, which announced at the end of last year the withdrawal of its troops deployed in the Arab country, remains silent while continuing to support the Jewish State, its strongest regional ally.
Russia which along with Iran and Shiite militias has propped up El Asad in power it has limited itself to accounting for low asepsis and damages without holding Israel accountable. Despite the explosions that shook the outskirts of Damascus early in the morning, the increasingly low-profile war between Iran and Israel still maintains the characteristics of a rhetorical battle between rivals, that above all fear being forced into an unpredictable armed shock.
The Commander of the Iranian Air Force, General Aziz Nasirzadeh initiated the verbal fray: “We are prepared for the decisive contest that will make Israel disappear from Earth. Our pilots are ready for the day when Israel will be destroyed. ” From the newly inaugurated Eilat airport in the southern tip of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu replied harshly: “We operate against Iran and the Syrian forces that allow aggression. Whoever threatens to eliminate us will have to take full responsibility. ”
Israel is no longer afraid to publicly acknowledge its military interventions in Syria. In recent years, it has unleashed hundreds of air strikes against convoys carrying arms and missile shells of Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian guerrilla with which it waged an open war in 2006 in southern Lebanon. But he had barely confirmed his involvement in the operations so far. Since the beginning of 2019, ambiguity is a thing of the past.
Netanyahu acknowledged two weeks ago in public a bombing of the Israeli aviation near the Damascus airport. The change in strategy was also followed by the outgoing Chief of Staff, General Gadi Eisenkot. “We reach thousands of targets [in Syria] from 2017 without taking responsibility,” he said in an interview with The New York Times.
For the former general of the intelligence services Yaakov Amidror, the change of strategy is due to Israel’s decision to prioritize verbal versus military escalation. “A powerful message is being sent to Iran,” says this former national security adviser, “and we are ready to take the risk of a military escalation if they do not stop.”
When the head of the Government of Israel needs advice about the diplomatic consequences or the military repercussions of an incursion into Syria, he only has to meet with himself. Netanyahu joins the positions of foreign minister and defense minister in a moribund coalition cabinet before the legislature on April 9.
One and three, the conservative prime minister apparently keeps his hands free to direct the strategy against Iran’s military establishment in the neighboring Arab country in accordance with his electoral interests. The new chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, has only been in office for a week.