Israel, Iran, Syria trade blows

The Syrian army remains weak and unlikely to make significant territorial gains. Alexander Kots  AP

In 2011, in the context of the Arab Spring, the USA government, in conjunction with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel, chose to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, even though overthrowing another country's government amounts to a blatant violation of worldwide law. While there are nearly no limits on the amount of aggression Israel can inflict on Palestinians, Syria is a far more complicated battlefield involving major world powers. Israel's primary interest in managing the current mind game with Iran in Syria is to minimize the threat to security interests while preventing all-out war with Hezbollah (let alone with Iran). But Russia's influence has proven to be limited, while Iran is determined to spread its hegemony. The attacks on Hezbollah and Iranian forces will undercut Assad and likely end his regime. It is now seeking to remove the defining line between Iran's power in Lebanon, through Hizbullah, and its influence in Syria. Relating to Iran as an octopus stretching its arms deep into the Levant and surrounding Israel, Bennett argued in favor or striking at the head of the octopus.

No, to hurt the Iran regime just enough to convey that message it's enough to threaten that which it holds most precious, the thing for which it has shed blood, sweat and tears over the past seven years: the Assad regime.

Israel has no intention of letting this happen.

"The countries of the world must do their utmost to disengage Iran from the Syrian arena and bring its military forces out of the country". In addition, it will continue to intercept Iranian shipments of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. As a result, the Kremlin issued a not so veiled caution to Israel that it would be intolerable if Russian troops in Syria were endangered! Dekel said that the decision not to go forward with the strikes was because Israel wanted to see the Syrian and Iranian response. The longer Iran can keep its military operating without hindrance in Syria, the more entrenched it will become. Israel has shrugged these statements off.

Even if quiet has returned to Israel's northern front, this is unlikely to be the last skirmish.

A screenshot showing the destruction of the Iranian drone a few seconds after it was hit by an Israeli missile.

Once the drone crossed the border, however, it was shot down by an IAF attack helicopter.

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Israel is afraid to test these waters, so, for the time being, the Israelis are not interested in a hot war with the group. Syria remains a unsafe link between regional conflicts and the great powers, despite the defeat of ISIS in the east.

Iran's counterrevolutionary cleric-led regime has expanded its influence in Syria, establishing a route Tehran can use to send materiel to its forces there and to its Hezbollah ally in Lebanon.

The official Iranian view, as expressed by Zarif, showed that the regime meant to use the windfall of sanctions relief to further its goal of destroying Israel.

Tel Aviv will impose a new set of red lines regarding Iran's position in Syria and its efforts to increase the strategic abilities of its allies. This same level of firepower, guided by high-level intelligence, can similarly be directed against the rest of the Iranian axis. This was the first time since 2006 that an Israeli warplane had been shot down by an enemy and the first time that an Iranian drone entered Israel. "A good way to achieve both objectives would be back Israel's response to Iran's aggression-now and in the future".

Iran's drone suggests that it's getting more assertive. Up to half of Syria's air defenses and four Iranian military sites were destroyed. While celebrating the downing of the Israeli F-16 as a major military accomplishment, Iran and Syria are attempting to downplay the scope of damage that they sustained.

While Israel as a policy tries to stay out of the Syrian civil war, it has bombed weapons shipments between Syria and Hezbollah. Russia's guarantee of Bashar al-Assad's survival is uncertain, especially if its interests call for it. Iran's guarantee may be more honest because it will not find a better substitute for Al Assad.

However in 2012, when tensions between the two countries were at fever pitch over Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons program, Israeli warplanes reportedly conducted long-distance bombing drills that simulated a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. The stakes of this struggle remain very high. For any intentional or unintentional provocation from the Syrian army or Iranian proxies along the Golan Heights, Israel retaliated against local Syrian military targets.

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