BLOG 396 May 21, 2018
Israel’s recent strikes on Iranian installations inside Syria has raised new questions about what is going on as well as what’s next. Let’s see if we can make some sense out of the situation.
Back in February, the Iranians flew a drone carrying explosives into Israel. The Israeli defense system allowed the drone to enter their territory before bringing it down because they wanted to make a close inspection of the unmanned aircraft. They found that it was essentially a copy of the US stealth drone that had been downed in 2011. However, the fact that the Iranian drone carried explosives amounted to a military attack on Israel. The Iranian action actually gave Israel additional insight into the Iranian military situation.
In his book, Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change, former Israeli security adviser Charles Freilich argues that Israelis should be very concerned about Iranian influence in Syria because they are attempting to establish air, naval, and ground bases. If they succeed, they could well merge Syria with Lebanon and end up hemming Israel in from two sides. Such a situation would have catastrophic consequences for Israel. Therefore, Freilich concludes that Israel must never allow this to occur.
A major doctrine that has guided Israel since the days of Ben-Gurion is that because of Israel’s demographic vulnerability and geographic narrowness, they must be prepared to make pre-emptive strikes. This was most effectively done in 1967 when Egypt was preparing to go to war against Israel. In a sweeping blow, they wiped out the Egyptian air force. The pre-emptive strike more than gives the enemy pause to reflect. The action has proved to be an important deterrent.
The drone invasion gave Israel an effective reason to hit Iranian installations. This puts Israel in the position of saying they were only defending themselves. Even the man on the street in Tehran would reason that self-protection is to be expected. Currently the top Iranian ayatollah has been faced with unrest in the streets. The Supreme Leader may be reaching for the Mediterranean, but at home he’s got a mess.
The recent Israeli strikes are part of a larger strategy. Israel simply will not allow Iran to achieve their long range goal!
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