Israeli security forces examine the remains of an F-16 Israeli war plane near the Israeli village of Harduf, Israel February 10, 2018.
Having watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, where North and South Korean athletes marched last week into the stadium together in a love fest; and having also watched Israel shoot down an Iranian drone from Syria, bomb an Iranian base in Syria and lose one of its own F-16s to a Syrian missile; and after United States jets killed a bunch of Russian “contractors” who got too close to our forces in Syria, I now think the Syria-Israel-Lebanon front is the most risky corner in the world. This situation is nothing unusual, but it is evident that the Iranian military in Syria feels confident enough to begin probing Israeli defenses. Naturally, Israel expects the U.S.to jump to assist. How will this affect Israel’s dormant but never-ending conflict with Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and Iranian proxy?
This intersection is not perpetual, but several Arab nations are in close proximity to Iran and any capable ally they can get is vital.
He then referred to the latest accusations leveled by the U.S. and Israel about what they call Tehran’s role in Syria’s shoot-down of an Israeli jet and said the accusations reveal the “US and Israel’s deep hatred as well as fear of the anti-occupation, anti-terror and anti-arrogance power of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. Israel attacked the site from which the drone was launched.
In response, Israel bombed the drone launcher, which was in central Syria, near the city of Palmyra.
Although Israel claims to have completely destroyed the air defence of Syria, the Syrian government denies any such destruction. But the recapture of the vast territory it once held, especially in the north and west, came at an enormous cost to their residents. One has been released from the hospital and the other is recovering.
The dramatic escalation happened as Israel claimed one of its warplanes was in Syrian airspace to intercept an Iranian drone that had been operating in Israeli territory. The follow-up air force operation against 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in retaliation for the downing of the F-16I also included no F-35s.
The Russian Syria plan, accepted by the U.S. and their allies, meant that Russia would devise a plan for peace in Syria while also reducing Iranian influence there.
While large areas of the country have stabilized, giving the impression of a war that is winding down, violence has exploded in other areas with renewed ferocity, killing and injuring hundreds of people in a new and unpredictable spiral of bloodshed.
The Russian Foreign Ministry chastised Israel, warning that it is “absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen”. Iran has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad via elite forces and support for Shiite Muslim pro-government militias battling insurgents and jihadis. Now it is aiming at tactical targets, which means that Israel is adamant to cripple Syria and Hizbullah’s strategic abilities.
Though US forces appear able to tactically defend the pieces of eastern and southern Syria their allies control, the Trump administration lacks the leverage to pursue its stated goals in the country, which are to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State, stop Iran from entrenching its forces there and promote a new political order that excludes the Assad regime. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now facing a corruption probe and potential indictment, which has saturated the Israeli press and has led to protests against him.
But Netanyahu has also criticized Iran’s regional aggression, its human rights record and its role in Syria’s civil war.
Numerous smaller Arab nations have been nervously watching Iran. 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! A possible need to reserve the F-35s for extremely strategically important missions and targets with more sophisticated air defense systems that those used in Syria was also mentioned. The operators of the Iranian drone were likely killed in their caravan, though this can not be confirmed.
What began as a civil war in 2011, with US -backed rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad, is now a free-for-all of outside states trying to divide the spoils and expand influence in the Middle East. Assad remains in power and Washington and its allies appear most at risk of losing out, according to diplomats, aid workers and other analysts.
Both the USA and Russian Federation have personnel on the ground in Syria-the United States is supporting the Syrian “Democratic” Forces, while Russian Federation is backing the government.
Haley’s forthright comments contrasted with the more muted comments of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who expressed concerns about Iran in an interview on Tuesday with the Arabic language broadcaster Al Hurra.
“The Pentagon and State Department have already condemned Iran and thrown their support behind Israel”. The U.S. otherwise sought to avoid a broader entanglement in another Middle East war.
Once the drone crossed the border, however, it was shot down by an IAF attack helicopter. He said Israel “will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereignty and our security”.
“It’s not complete chaos by any means, but it’s all highly risky because you just don’t know what’s going to happen”, Crocker said.