Middle East: Israel's fight against Iran's military presence


In Galilee in the green north of Israel, there are two realities these days. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis enjoy their summer holidays here in the forests and streams around the Sea of ​​Galilee. The guest rooms are fully booked. But roadblocks of the military police are on the verges of busy highways ready.

In the eucalyptus groves near the border with Lebanon, numerous army units are in full combat gear. While the civilian population is required to “keep up with their daily routine”, the army is on high alert in anticipation of an imminent attack. At the same time, the situation is escalating in the south of Israel. The danger of war is rising.

According to the Iraqi Hashed al-Shababi militia, which is close to Iran, Israel has been bombarding targets in Mesopotamia six times since mid-July. While there is no official endorsement, sources in the US military told The New York Times that Israel is now operating in Iraq.

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Daniel Gerlach is an orientalist and co-editor and editor-in-chief of the magazine Zenith - Magazine for the Orient

Israel is also intensifying its military involvement in Syria. On Saturday night, Israeli bombs hit a villa in Akraba near Damascus, killing at least five people, including two members of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, according to the Israeli army spokesman. Arab media reported that an officer of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards was also among the dead. This time, Israel's army immediately took responsibility for the attack. The following night an explosion shook the south of Beirut.

Israeli drones are said to have attacked targets in Dahia, the Hezbollah stronghold, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said. And since the beginning of August, Islamists fired more than a dozen rockets from Gaza on Israel, which then fired at Hamas posts.

The word “war” is now on everyone's lips. In Baghdad, politicians involved with Hashd-al-Shababi spoke of an “Israeli declaration of war.” Lebanon's President Aoun used the same word. Ali Rabiei, a spokesman for Iranian President Hassan Ruhani, threatened that Israel would “pay a heavy price for its attacks.”

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed revenge: “The times when Israel can attack us and feel safe afterwards are over,” he said in a speech on Sunday. “I warn all Israeli soldiers on the border – from today you can expect us. It will take a day or two or three, awaiting us. “

In the long-standing shadow war between the archenemies Israel and Iran, the signs are pointing to escalation. The background to this is the attempt of the Kuds Brigades – the long arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – to build a military presence on Israel's borders. To do this, they use allied militias like Hezbollah. It has more than 100,000 missiles capable of reaching any point in Israel.

The Ayatollahs want to make this arsenal even more deadly by improving the accuracy of the missiles. Israel wants to prevent this at all costs. In addition, the Luftwaffe flew hundreds of attacks against Iranian arms deliveries – but only in Syria. Since the last war with Hezbollah in 2006, Israel has not bombed Lebanon to provide the militia with any excuse for attacking Israel.

Diplomacy instead of attack

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu preferred diplomacy to an attack. In an address to the UN General Assembly last September, he announced the exact coordinates of Hezbollah underground weapons factories in Lebanon for clearance.

If Israel actually attacked Beirut, that would be a significant development. Netanyahu had suggested a tightening: “Any country that allows its territory to be used for attacks on Israel will suffer the consequences. I emphasize: The state will bear the consequences, “Netanyahu said recently.

According to a report in the British daily The Times, the attack in Beirut was a machine that could mix solid fuel for rockets. Solid rockets are more accurate and can be fired faster than rockets with liquid fuel. Experts estimate that Israel's attack has thrown back Hezbollah's attack planning by a year.

Tehran also uses its involvement in Syria's civil war to establish itself with fighters of allied militias at the Golan Heights annexed by Israel. Air strikes in Syria should thwart this and demanded a high price from Tehran. As a result, the Kuds Brigades began deploying missile bases in Iraq – apparently causing Israeli air strikes.

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Following attacks in July and August, a convoy on the Iraqi-Syrian border came under fire during Nasrallah's Dull Speech on Sunday. Nine members of the Iraqi Hezbollah, a sister organization of the Lebanese militia, were killed. That's how the escalation potential grows.

Allegedly, the Israeli bombing in Akraba on Saturday night prevented an Iranian drone attack planned in retaliation for Israel's attacks in Iraq. The Kuds Brigades and Hezbollah are now developing other attack plans. Netanyahu therefore asked for help: “Iran is acting across the board to prepare for murderous terrorist attacks against Israel,” he said. “I urge the international community to act immediately to ensure that Iran stops these attacks,” the PM said.

While Israel expects a retaliatory strike in the north, the situation in the south escalates. At the insistence of Hamas, attacks in the West Bank were more frequent. Last week, a 17-year-old girl was killed by a bomb trap, knife attacks multiply.

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Around the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of August, Islamists fired around a dozen rockets and grenades at Israel. A week ago, two rockets were intercepted over the stadium of the city of Sderot, where 4,000 Israelis attended a music event. Mass panic broke out. The images, which only a few hours after Israel allowed Qatar to cash $ 10 million to Gaza to alleviate the economic hardship of Hamas, hurt Netanyahu's election campaign enormously. The prime minister is under pressure to crack down on Hamas.

It assures that they are not responsible for the shelling – and could tell the truth. In fact, there is growing fear that Hamas will lose control of Gaza. Israel's army blames the Palestinian jihad for rocket fire. He is even more extremist than Hamas and maintains close ties with Tehran.

On the night of Wednesday, Salafi suicide bombers also killed three Hamas traffic police at roadblocks – an expression of the growing anger of the radicals in Gaza, who want to put Hamas under pressure by shelling Israel and thus trigger the next war.

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