ACTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 395 May 14, 2018

US President Donald Trump, left, waves with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The Middle East is back in the headlines.

Israeli attacks on the Iranian military installations in Syria has sparked renewed interest in what comes next in the Syrian civil war. Iran fired rockets from inside Syria that were aimed at the Golan Heights area. In turn, Israeli’s Iron Dome missile defense system virtually knocked out this attempt to strike Israel. However, the Iranian strike precipitated a far more destructive response from Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “If we get rain, they’ll get a flood.” And the flood came! Israel hit nearly all of Iran’s bases in Syria. So far any official response from Iran has been negligible.

What’s going on?

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei screamed. Of course, the rocket exchange came against the  backdrop of President’s Trump backing out of the Iranian Nuclear Arms Treaty. As predictable, Iranian parliamentary lawmakers shook their fist at America and helped burn US flags. As the world knows, harsh criticism of the USA is a staple of their politics. However, this was the first time a flag was burned inside the parliament itself.

Quite possibly, the rocket attack was prompted by the American rejection of the treaty. Iranians have long been known for irrational responses that end up only hurting themselves.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Israel not only stopped the rockets in mid-air, but Prime Minister Netanyahu had been vindicated by Trump’s rejection of the treaty. On a television presentation in English aimed at Trump, Netanyahu called Iran a liar (his exact words) and revealed Israel had captured  a cache of 100,000 secret Iranian documents, revealing their clandestine attempts to continue designing nuclear weapons.

Mossad had struck again!

Very few Iranians knew that Iran had moved its secret nuclear-weapons files to the Shorabad district in southern Tehran. Obtaining this material had to be one of the most significant intelligence efforts since the English broke the Nazi Enigma code system in World War II. These documents prove Iran had a secret weapons program from 1999 to 2003 called Project Aman.

What’s the bottom line? Israel has consistently made it clear that they will not allow Iran to build a corridor through Syria to the Mediterranean. The message has also been aimed at Russia. The attack on all Iranian installations inside Syria spells out the conclusion that Israel means what it said.

One might also conclude that it has not been a good week for Iran.

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