Read the original text at 112.ua.
March 11, Kuwaiti edition of Al-Jarida wrote that the United States and Israel are preparing for some air strikes on the facilities of the Iranian military in Syria. Kuwaiti journalists are confident that the Israel Defense Intelligence Directorate (AMAN) provided the American side with a map of Iranian military facilities in a neighboring country. One of the goals of the air strikes might be the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, sponsored by Iran. The operation is designed to squeeze Iran out of Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. It is unlikely that the authorities of the United States or Israel would publicly confirm the information reported by the publication of Al-Jarid. It is difficult to judge its reliability. However, the prospect of conducting an American-Israeli air force operation against the Iranian military in Syria lends itself to a logical explanation.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed with President of the United States Donald Trump and US lawmakers the issue of Iran's military presence in Syria, which together with Russia supports the regime of President Bashar Assad and intends to create its outpost on the territory of the country. The Israeli prime minister stressed that he intends to thwart these plans. Since 2013, the units of the Iranian "Guard Corps of the Islamic Revolution", including the unit of the special operations "Al Quds", have been taking part in the Syrian conflict. According to various sources, at least 2,000 Iranian military personnel were killed in Syria, who supported Assad's troops in the fight against the Syrian opposition and ISIS. Iran sees Syria as the closest military-political and trade-economic partner in the Middle East. In pre-war time, Syria served as the gateway to Iran in the Mediterranean. Now the Iranian leadership is interested in creating a long-term military presence in Syria in order to influence the political development of the country after the final completion of hostilities and destabilization of the situation in the northern borders of Israel. Israel expressed fears that Iran could use Syrian ports for its submarines.
A possible target for the Israeli air force is the military base of Iran, 50 kilometers from the Golan Heights. The Syrians are trying to get Israelis to return these lands since the end of the Six Day War in 1967. Iranians have been actively building this military facility for the past year. About 500 militaries might be placed there; there are garages for armored vehicles too. In addition to its military, Tehran sends recruited Afghan Shiites to fight in Syria. In Syria, about 125,000 sponsored by Iran Shiites fight on the side of Assad. The situation is complicated by the fact that in the north of Syria, the anti-Zionist terrorist organization Hezbollah is active, which periodically fires Israeli settlements from the territory of southern Lebanon. Armed groups of Hezbollah are deployed in the Syrian-Lebanese border area and support Asad.
The north of Israel would be surrounded by Lebanese terrorists and the Iranian military, who can coordinate their actions and shell the settlements of Israelis. Iran and Hezbollah do not recognize Israel's right to exist and oppose the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of a Jewish state. In December 2017, pro-Iranian Shiite militants advanced to the Golan Heights during a raid against opposition-minded armed formations of Sunni Islamists, present in southern Syria. In early February 2018, the airspace in the north of Israel was violated by an Iranian drone. In modern warfare, drones are used for reconnaissance and correction of artillery and missile installations. The Israeli military shot down the device and, as a retaliatory measure, inflicted an air strike on the command post in Syria, from where the drone was controlled. On the way back, the multipurpose fighter F-16 was shot down by Syrian air defense, and Israeli pilots ejected and landed in the north of Israel. This is not Israel's first air operation in the sky over Syria. Over the past five years, Israeli military aircraft have carried out 100 air strikes, thus preventing the supply of weapons from the territory of Syria to South Lebanon (for the terrorist organization Hezbollah).
Joint with the US air force operation against the Iranian military in Syria meets the needs of the time and would allow Israel to erase the enemy's military infrastructure from the face of the earth, which can be used for anti-Israeli provocations. In 1978, Israel conducted a military operation "Litani" in order to ensure the security of the northern regions of the country. Before Lebanon’s invasion, Israel has struck air strikes and carried out shelling positions of militants from the Palestine Liberation Organization. Now the Israelis have faced with a similar task. Israel needs to expand the geography of air strikes deep into the territory of Syria in order to destroy the places of deployment of Iranian troops, Shiite militants and interrupt communication with Hezbollah.
The US is concerned that the American missile bases and facilities in the Persian Gulf countries, located at a distance of fewer than 2,000 kilometers from Iran, fall within the radius of the defeat of Iranian missiles. Since 2003, America has its airbase in Qatar (El Oued, where 120 military aircraft and 10,000 troops are deployed). The air base is used for flights to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. The US military is quartered in Kuwait (15 thousand people), Bahrain (7 thousand people), the United Arab Emirates (5 thousand people), Oman (200 people). In October 2017, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Mohammed Ali Jafari, said that if new sanctions were applied against Iran, the United States would have to look for a new location for its military bases at a distance of more than 2,000 km, so as not to fall into the radius of the Iranian missiles.
The US is interested in intimidating Iran with the threat of using military force and making them voluntarily withdraw medium-range ballistic missiles from their weapons. The intention to destroy military facilities of the Iranian military in Syria can be perceived as a warning shot of the United States. The Pentagon makes it clear to the Ayatollah regime that the next target may be military-industrial facilities in Iran, which are involved in the development, production, and testing of the ballistic missiles.
The article about the planned air strikes on the Iranian military in Syria looks like information attack by the United States against Iran. Thus, Washington checks the reaction of Tehran and warns of undesirable consequences if the Iranians do not stop carrying out the missile program, create military facilities in Syria and supply weapons to the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Husit rebels in Yemen. It is no accident that the information was published in the Kuwaiti edition. Kuwait is one of the regional military-political and economic partners of the United States in the Middle East, which sees Iran as a threat to its security. Kuwait's Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Al Jarallah is confident that Iran is interfering in the internal affairs of the Gulf countries.
The US military can help Israeli colleagues in defeating the Iranian military in Syria. The US Air Force has extensive experience in air strikes in this country. Since 2014, the United States and its partners have inflicted 11,235 air strikes on the positions of ISIS in Syria. The US has also applied to air and missile strikes on Assad's forces and their allies had bombed a military airfield al-Shayrat last year destroyed the Russian group of mercenaries in the province of Deir Ez-Zor in February this year. The United States provides Israel with $ 500 million a year to develop an anti-ballistic missile defense system. Recently, the American-Israeli missile defense system Strela-3, designed to protect the territory of Israel from Iranian ballistic missiles, was successfully completed. The United States and Israel can act together if it comes to the destruction of Iranian military facilities in Syria.
Although Iranian ballistic missiles can strike US military bases in the Middle East and the Israeli cities, it is unlikely to go on the Iranian leadership to a major war with more powerful militarily opponents. The Iranian conflict with the Americans and Israelis can be confined to the airspace of Syria. In 1998, during Operation Desert Fox, the US Air Force carried out 14 missile and bomb strikes against Iraqi targets that were involved in the development, production, and storage of weapons of mass destruction. There are agreements between Washington and Jerusalem that in case of a missile strike by Iran, the US military will come from Europe to support Israel.
The possible defeat of the Iranian military in a clash with Israel and the United States in Syria is extremely unfavorable to the leadership of Iran. This can provoke a discontent with Iran's current political course among young people and the unprotected strata of the population, which is tired of spending a lot of money for war. In August 2017, Iran passed a bill to allocate $ 260 million to accelerate the missile program and $ 300 million to operate the special forces of “Al-Quds.” Financial assistance to Hezbollah was increased to $ 800 million. At the end of December 2017 - in early January 2018. in 20 cities of Iran, anti-government rallies were held. The protesters demanded the release the political prisoners, expressing dissatisfaction with the high corruption and difficult social and economic situation in Iran. They have also called for a change in the ruling regime. They protested against supporting Assad's regime in Syria and sponsoring terrorist organizations. Now is not the best time for Iran to increase the military spending. Over 70% of Iranians are undernourished. One-third of Iran's 80 million population lives below the poverty line. Unemployment among young people is 40%. About 11-21 million Iranians live in slums and cannot afford healthcare services.
Iran should not rely on military support from Russia. The Russian leadership is limited to participating in military operations against the Syrian opposition in Syria and is not ready to enter into the confrontation with the United States or with Israel. The events in Deir Ez-Zor province and the Kremlin's passive reaction to the death of Russian citizens under American shells are proof of this. Perhaps the US expects Russia to persuade Iran to slow down the missile program and pursue a more restrained policy in Syria, in order to avoid air operations between the US and Israel. Netanyahu already warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the permanent military presence of Iran in Syria is unacceptable for Israel. It is easier for Iran to withdraw troops from Syria and to curtail the missile program than to reap the fruits of the US and Israeli discontent.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.