Understanding The Conflict between Iran and Israel
Photo Credit To Jewish Voice

Understanding The Conflict between Iran and Israel

These are undoubtedly some of the worse times for the Iran- Israel relationship. A relationship that began in 1947 can be divided into four phases. They are; the first phase (1947-1953), a second phase which was a period of relative peace as the two countries appeared to have a friendly relationship, the worsening phase between 1979 and 1990, and the period of hostility. The period of hostility between Iran and Israel started after the gulf war between Iran and Iraq. Although the hostility between Iran and Israel does not make as much headlines as other global issues such as the denuclearization of North Korea and the US-China trade war, it is just as important as some of the pressing political issues that take place every day around the world. As a matter of fact, if the issues between Iran and Israel are left unchecked, the chances of a full blown war are very high.

The dust that was raised by the joint attack of the Americans, French, and Britons on a chemical weapon facility in Syria has barely settled. This regardless, the preparation for a new conflict has already been set rolling. This is the conflict between Iran and Israel. Whilst there has been renewed tension between this two regional powerhouses for a while now, it appears matters are about to get worse. The Israelis have again attacked the T-4 base, a military base in Syria that contains Iranian drone forces. This somewhat successful attack is responsible for the death of 7 Iranians and the damage of a major Iranian drone infrastructure plan. There could be lots of reasons why the Israeli military chose to hit the T-4 base. However, the fact that this base is the point from which a drone which was intercepted by the Israeli military was launched from could be one reason why it became a target for the Israeli military.

As a result of the Israeli attack of the T-4 military base in Syria, there is a huge likelihood of an Iranian attack on Israel. Whilst the probability of a reprisal attack by the Iranians is not a subject of discussion, the manner in which this attack will be carried out still remains very vague. In spite of the fact that it is uncertain how Iran’s retaliatory attack will take place, there are very huge chances that this attack will be through the launch of a missile or a rocket, and is perhaps going to take place from Syria. Although it is anticipated that this attack will be made from Syrian soil, it still remains largely unconfirmed. So, whatever location the Iranians will choose to strike from will determine what form future tensions between Israel and Iran will take.

This is definitely not the first time that Israel will be striking its oppositions. However, this time, it is crystal clear that Iran will not let this pass-by, a retaliation is something that will definitely occur. The media in Iran gave special attention to the Israeli strike on the T-4 military base. Also, there have been threats of retaliation from Iran’s leader, Ali Akbar Velayati and Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader.

Over the years, Iran has put in a lot of investment in Syria. This time, it appears it is determined to take advantage of this investment. One way that it intends to make this happen is by upgrading the presence of its military in Syria. Improving the presence of its military in Syria will help mount pressure on the Israeli military and also lead to its establishment as a force to reckon with in the Middle East. While Iran makes plans on how to hit the nation of Israel, Israel is bent on not repeating a mistake which it made some years ago-the mistake of playing the role of an observer as the threats from Iran through Hezbollah increased in intensity. The Israeli government has made it obvious that it will not fold its arms and watch Iran issue threats. This time these threats will be taken more seriously than they ever have.

From Israel’s point of view, there is no better time to take action than now. This is because of both strategic and geopolitical reasons. First of all, in the nearest future, the liberty of the Israeli military to operate in Syrian airspace might be very limited because of a likely improvement of Syrian and/or Iranian anti-aircraft abilities, or also because of a future international agreement. Secondly, the desire of the Russian government to ensure stability in Syria could make Israel appear to be an eventual disrupter.

How will Iran Retaliate

Now that the intentions of the Iranians to retaliate because of the attack of the Israeli military on its military base is crystal clear, questions about what shape this attack will take are already being asked. Well, there are several likely ways that this anticipated attack can be carried out. Whilst these different forms of attack will have different consequences on Israel, they would also lead to a different response from the Israeli military.

At the moment, it appears that a missile bombardment will be the best form of Iranian retaliatory attack. This is putting into consideration the risks involved in carrying out this attack as well as the abilities of the Iranian military. Now that this is perhaps settled, the question of what Israeli target will be hit remains unsettled.

An attack on one of Israel’s military bases seems to be the ideal response. Any attack that will affect the reputation of the Israeli defence force will be quite satisfactory for the Iranian military. This regardless, Tehran will even be more satisfied if it attacks a major city in Israel. The reason for this is simple. An attack on a major city means there will be a lot of concern from the citizens of Israel. The truth remains that the Israeli defence system is capable of intercepting a missile that gets fired into any of its cities. Well, even if this happens, the panic that this will lead to among the Israeli citizens will go a long way in appeasing Tehran. If a major city is Israel is hit, it will even have more effect on the Israeli government and this is something that Tehran will want. In as much as this looks like one of the best options for the Iranians, areas occupied by civilians are not legitimate targets for conflicts between nations. If hit, there would be an increased pressure on the Iranian government from the international community and this might even attract very uncomfortable sanctions.

There are many issues of indecisions which the Iranians will have to deal with before an attack on Israel can be carried out. One of them is the location from which missiles will be launched. Basically, there are three options. They are; Lebanon, Iran, or Syria. In as much as a launch from any of these locations will most likely have the same effect on Israel, the consequences for launching from any of these three locations will be very different. Let’s have a look at what a missile launch from any of this locations will lead to.

Launching a missile from Iran is perhaps going to be the most direct way to invite Israel to direct confrontation. While this action will give the Israelis an iceberg of the military capabilities of the Iranian military, it has very obvious disadvantages. Among them are; a missile attack on Israel from Iranian soil will give the Israeli military the freedom to attack Iran. Whilst this is bad in itself, it will lead to an escalation of the already existing tension.

If the Iranian military does not want to launch a missile from its own country, then, a launch from Lebanon is an option that it can take advantage of. This is because in addition to being close to Israel, Lebanon possesses various missiles. These missiles are of various sizes and ranges and will be able to hit any location in Israel. In as much as Lebanon is a good location to launch a missile from, an attack from Lebanese soil will most likely lead to war between Israel and Hezbollah. Now, if a war between Israel and Hezbollah becomes a reality, the chances of Hezbollah arsenals being damaged in the process are very high. This is something that neither Iran nor Hezbollah will want. This, therefore, means that a missile launch from Hezbollah is most likely not going to take place.

With the available options on ground, it appears that the Iranians will likely pick Syria as a location for the much anticipated attack on Israel. This is because Syria is considered the option with the least degree of consequences for the Iranians. Regardless of the fact that launching a missile from Syria seems like the best available option, it is not free from its own challenges. Two of the most serious challenges that are associated with launching a missile form Syria are; the presence of the Russian Military, and the possibility that an Israeli response will lead to a pronounced damage of Iranian military equipments in Syria.

Well, as a result of the presence of the Russians in Syria, Iran is most likely going to attack Israel in a way that the Russians will consider okay. The Russian military was not exactly pleased with the actions of the Israeli military on Iranian military base in Syria. As a result of this, it is assumed that the Russians will be okay with some form of retaliation form the Iranian military. Whilst this is still an assumption, what remains unsure is how much the Russians can really tolerate. Well, experts at foreign policies believe that any attack that will not bring about an instability in Syria and will not be huge enough to lead to a he response from the Israeli military will be tolerated by Russia.

In as much as any attack on Israel that will not bring instability to Syria and will also not warrant a major retaliation from the Israeli military will be tolerated by Russian forces in Syria, it appears this is easier said than done. The reason is the Iranian military is willing to show its determination as well as capability to strike Israel. However, a very calculated hit might not have the impact that the Iranians want to have on the Israelis.

With meticulous consideration of the options that the Iranian military has to launch a missile into Israel, it can almost be said conclusively that Iran will chose to launch a missile from Syria. And this missile will be targeted at an Israeli military base. Also, for the impact of this missile to be felt by the Israeli government, it has to be a considerably large missile. Now, the irony of this situation is; if the missile that gets dropped into Israel is of considerable size, then, its impact is expected to be huge. The implication of this is; a retaliatory attack from Israel will definitely be non-negotiable, and this will not go down well with the Russian presence in Syria. On the flip side of the coin, Israel will most likely not react if the effects of this attack are negligible.

Although issues surrounding Iran dropping off a missile into Israel is basically looking at this situation in the short-run. The future turn out of this conflict might not be so easy to predict.  However, it most likely will not turn out well as Israel and Iran appear ready for real confrontation.

While it appears concluded that Israel will most likely not respond to attacks with negligible effects, Israel has already shown in both words and deeds that it is willing to do whatever is needed to defend itself even against seemingly small invasions. This means Israel will keep repelling attacks of any magnitude from Iran until there are perhaps sanctions on the Iranian presence in Syria. Although to a certain extent, the presence of the Russian military in Syria will help keep a check on the actions of the Iranians in Syria, however, there is just very little the Russians can do.

 

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