By Brandon Turbeville
Over the past several days, Israel has been throwing its typical series of fits and tantrums both to its patron in Washington and to the “international community” that Iran may finally have the gall to defend itself. Of course, Iran’s possible actions are not presented as self-defense but as unjustified aggression and “hatred” of the settler state. Israel is typically declaring its right to “defend itself” but, in reality, that “defense” is nothing more than another act of offense in a long line of offenses against Iran.
Israeli media is now boosting up the idea that Iran is planning to launch missiles at Jerusalem as well as a coordinated attack against Israel with Hezbollah and “Shiites” in Syria as revenge for the numerous illegal attacks against Iran that Israel has undertaken in Syria over the last seven years.
One need only take a look at a recent article published in the Jerusalem Post to see a sampling of what Israeli media and the Israeli government are attempting to get across in terms of laying the groundwork for a “pre-emptive” strike on Iran. The article reads,
Israel is bracing for a barrage of missiles to be launched toward military positions along its northern front from Syria by Shi’ite militias trained and funded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran is reportedly very determined to carry out an attack. Intelligence reports have indicated such an attack is in the advanced planning stages and might soon be executed as Iran vowed to do in retaliation for an alleged Israeli air strike against the T4 airbase near Homs used by the IRGC two months ago.
Israel has allegedly uncovered involvement by Hezbollah commanders and senior operatives from Shi’ite militias in the planning of the retaliatory strike. It is believed these militias, along with experts from Hezbollah under the command of the IRGC’s Quds Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, will launch precision-guided missiles or armed drones from a base in Syria.
“The idea is to use heavy Iranian missiles, including the Fateh-110 under the command and with the advisory work of Hezbollah but without an IRGC presence,” Channel 10 reported on Sunday night, adding that Hezbollah members from Lebanon have been brought to Syria to train Shi’ite militia members for the attack.
While military officials have briefed mayors across the country on the latest developments, the heads of local councils in northern Israel have told residents there have been no special instructions or precautions issued.
While Hezbollah and the IRGC are the only groups that have the weapons and know-how to launch such an attack, it is believed the missiles will be launched by one of the many Shi’ite militia groups deployed in Syria to give Tehran the ability to deny their role.
According to Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum, there are several key candidates who might launch the missile barrage for Iran.“The Syrian civil war has led to the expansion of the IRGC’s network of regional clients,” Tamimi told The Jerusalem Post. “[There are] a variety of groups that could possibly strike Israel on its behalf, such as one of the many new ‘Syrian Hezbollah’ groups integrated into the registers of the Syrian armed forces, or one of the Iraqi groups that emerged during the war, like Harakat al-Nujaba and its ‘Golan Liberation Brigade.’”Another possible group, Tamimi said, was a Palestinian organization linked to Hezbollah and the IRGC, such as the “Force of Return,” which is currently fighting for the regime of Bashar Assad in the Yarmouk camp outside Damascus.
“But it still remains the case that Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which maintains some bases in Syria, is the most likely and capable of carrying out an attack,” Tamimi said.
According to Michael Horowitz, senior regional analyst at Le Beck, a Middle East-based geopolitical consultancy group, having Hezbollah carry out the attack would go against the plans by Tehran, which is said to be trying to avoid full-fledged war with Israel.
“This would defeat the purpose of using Shi’ite militias, which in my opinion was meant to enable Iran to respond without actually provoking an escalation,” Horowitz told the Post.
In recent months, Israel has have identified and released pictures of several air bases throughout Syria it said are being used by Iranian forces. The pictures have been released to the media in an effort to deter Iran from carrying out their strike, as those bases would likely be targeted by Israel in response.
According to Horowitz, “Israel chose to publish such threats to send the message that it will see any attack coming from an Iranian-backed group as one actually coming from Iran, and thus will respond in kind.”
To be certain, Iran has issued opaque threats of retaliation against Israel. Remember, Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian military positions and military assets inside Syria. Every one of those attacks were not only unjustified but also illegal.
Hezbollah has also begun moving its troops back into Lebanon as their mission has been accomplished in Syria. However, Hezbollah’s position in Lebanon is purely defensive, its main purpose being to defend the country against Israeli attacks.
There is no reason to believe that Iran or Hezbollah is preparing to launch a missile attack at Israel if, for no other reason than the timing. The Iranians may well issue threats but Iran is not foolish enough to launch a full-on missile assault against Israel for the sheer fact that the United States, always poised to fight and die to the last American for Israel, would be brought in to defend its regional bully directly, thus throwing all of Iran’s carefully won gains in both Syria and Iraq to naught.
There is little likelihood that Iran would risk all of the progress it has made not just against Western-backed Sunni terrorists in Syria but in increasing its influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen for short-lived revenge against Israel. Much like the question of timing when it came to Assad’s alleged and disproven use of chemical weapons, why would Iran, at this point, risk it all and most likely bring in a much more intense Western presence in Syria?
The fact is that Israel is simply trying to lay the groundwork for an assault of its own aimed at Iran and possibly Hezbollah under the guise of “pre-emptive” self- defense.
Israel is also concerned about the ability of Syria to defend itself against Israeli air assaults. As Kurt Nimmo wrote in his article, “Israel Complains Syria Is Defending Itself,”
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is concerned Syria may finally be able to defend itself against Israel’s attacks.
Israel will definitely respond if S-300 systems are directed against it, says Israeli Defense Minister Liberman
Last month Russia said it will deliver free of charge its advanced S-300 missile system to the al-Assad government.
“Moscow will supply the Syrian government with the advanced S-300 missile system, the Russian Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday, according to Hadashot news,” Jerusalem Online reported on April 23. “Citing two Russian military sources, the newspaper said that the system, which will be provided to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for free, will arrive in Syria very soon.”
The Russians warned the Israelis will suffer “catastrophic consequences” if they attack the defense system.
This elicited Liberman’s response. “If the systems target our planes, we will certainly respond,” he told Kommersant.
“We have normal relations with Russia and we are taking into account its interests. We hope that Russia will consider our interests here, in the Middle East,” he added.
Israel’s primary interest in the Middle East is overthrowing the Assad government, getting rid of Hezbollah in Lebanon, continuing its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and attacking imaginary nuclear weapons facilities in Iran while maintaining its own unacknowledged nuclear weapons stockpile.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh wrote a book about Israel’s nuclear arsenal, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal & American Foreign Policy.
Published in 1991, the book documents how Israel lied about developing nuclear weapons, stole reconnaissance intelligence from secret US satellites and used that data to target the Soviet Union, tricked US nuclear inspectors, and threatened Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon with the use of nuclear weapons on the third day of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, successfully blackmailing the White House to airlift much needed supplies.
It will be interesting to see how successful Israel will be against the S-300 missile system. It will need stealth aircraft like F-22 Raptor to defeat this highly competent missile system. A second option would be using electronic attacks from a platform like the EA-18G Growler. Both are American systems.
If both Syria and Iran are protected by S-300 and eventually the S-400 system, will Israel play the Samson card?
Brett Redmayne-Titley, in his article for Activist Post, “The MOST Important Election In The World! Lebanon . . . What Election?” points out the concerns that Israel has over the increased strength of Hezbollah. He writes,
Indeed the military wing is now far more organized and prepared for defense than before the 2006 war, however, Hizbullah’s persona under the direction of their spiritual and political leader, Sheikh Sa’id Hassan Nasrallah has also dramatically changed. There is a moral, disciplined side to the militia that comes from the overlying Shi’a religious doctrine espoused by Nasrallah, one that now accepts all religions, but with a firm grasp on professional, ethical performance of its military duties … when necessary.
Although Hizbullah does not reveal troop strength in numbers it is universally considered to be the largest non-state military in the world and considerably stronger than the Lebanese army. Estimates indicate at least 20,000 professionally trained soldiers and 25,000 civilian militia fighters are maintained, however, this is a very low-ball estimate considering that US military estimates for the Syrian based Hizbullah units are currently 60,000 and that, with western Syria back under Assad’s control, most of these battle-hardened troops will be returning home soon. Whatever Hizbullah’s military may have been before the Syrian war, it is unquestionable that it is currently far better manned, armed, supplied, and trained than ever before.
Beyond the fact that Lebanon’s defense is now the composite of two well trained and armed armies; and that just one needed to stop Israel three times, Lebanon’s position relative to the other Mid-East nations will soon be of interest to this upcoming parliament.
The biggest defensive disadvantage to the two Lebanese armies is that neither, reportedly, has surface-to-air missiles. This is due to the Lebanese government’s weakness in the 2006 peace deal; however, Hizbullah is reportedly beginning manufacture them in secret. Strategically, Lebanon has so far been nothing more than an Israeli “no-fly” zone used for their attacks on Syria. Israeli warplanes are seen routinely in the skies since the Lebanese armies can do nothing about it. Using this past Saturday’s Israeli attacks on Iranian positions in Hama and Aleppo, Syria as an example, IDF strike forces crossed neutral Lebanon airspace and entering from the Mediterranean, and thus arriving unscathed at the Lebanon/Syrian border at high speed; their time to target approximately thirty seconds.
Considering the reported Iranian loss of life applied to Russia’s announcement of selling the vaunted S-300 anti-missile/aircraft system to Syria and Putin’s stern warning to Netanyahu before the Israeli attacks of this weekend, it is more than likely that the soon-to-be No-Fly zone in Syria will be expanded into Lebanese territory. This would add to Lebanese defense and more importantly secure the western flank of Syria by a sovereign independent and neutral nation. Never before has Lebanon had a vital place in world geo-strategic politics. With a new ramp-up to US war in Syria brewing, Lebanon will likely be at center stage of preventing an escalation to war very soon.
It’s simple, really. Israel knows it is running out of time if it wants to retain the ability to continue bombing its neighbors without repercussions. With Russia potentially providing the S-300 and S-400 systems, Iran’s influence growing in the region, and Hezbollah forces better armed and trained than ever before now heading home (as well as gaining influence in the Lebanese political system), Israel knows that it must make its move sooner rather than later. That is, unless these developments are somehow rolled back by the American military presence or American bully diplomacy. But the U.S. has hit a quagmire in Syria and continually finds itself being checkmated in the Levant by Syria, Iran, and Russia. Israel would thus have as much to gain as to lose by igniting a war with Iran and Syria directly since it would drag the U.S. further into the conflict.
The most unfortunate element of this equation is that a sizeable portion of the U.S. government, in fact the majority, are willing to engage in a greater conflict in the Middle East and potentially even World War Three in the process.
Regardless of what Israel decides to do, however, the United States must absolutely stay out of any conflict. If Israel truly desires to battle it out with Iran, the U.S. should let it. But it should also allow Israel to live or die with the consequences.
Brandon Turbeville writes for Activist Post – article archive here – He is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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