ANALYSIS: Are Israel and Iran Heading Toward Inevitable War?

Monday, April 30, 2018 |  Yochanan Visser

Tensions between Israel and Iran remain high after the Israel Air Force (IAF) again bombed the T-4 base in the vicinity of the northern city of Homs in Syria on April 10th and on Sunday reportedly carried out new airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria. 

The IAF strike on April 10th was directed at a new advanced Iranian air-defense system and signaled Israel is serious in enforcing its red lines when it comes to the Iranian military build-up in Syria.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, vowed Iran would respond powerfully to Israel’s latest attack on T-4, which resulted in the deaths of seven Iranian soldiers, among them a Revolutionary Guards commander.

Iran recently shifted its focus from saving the Assad regime in Syria to preparations for a future conflict with Israel, which will most likely be fought on multiple fronts, experts believe.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, revealed last week that Iran has a force of 80,000 Shiite fighters in Syria. Danon showed the UN Security Council (UNSC) images of Iran’s central recruitment center in Syria which is located five miles from the capital Damascus.

“We are presenting this image to the world so you can understand the depth of Iran’s involvement in Syria,” he told the UNSC.

Danon said Iran is using Syria to build a front against Israel and is planning to establish auxiliary paramilitary outfits based on the Hezbollah model.

“We must stop the Iranian empire from spreading in the Middle East,” insisted Israel’s ambassador to the UN.

The IAF has already carried out more than 100 strikes against Iranian-linked targets in Syria.

Israel expects the Iranian retaliation to the deadly IAF strike on T-4 on April 10th will come in the form of a guided missile strike, according to an IDF official who spoke with Sky News Arabic.

The rising tensions with Iran resulted in the IAF canceling its participation in the international Red Flag drill in Alaska, which started last Wednesday and will last until May 11.

In anticipation of the expected future war with Iran and its proxies, the IDF has also installed a new defensive multi-sensor system (MSS) along the border with Syria.

The MMS, which consists of ultra-modern radars and cameras fixed on poles, enables the Israeli military to observe military movements not only on the Golan Heights, but also deep within Syria.

"The cameras we have here allow lookouts to pinpoint not only a combatant on the roof of a building several kilometers away but also note exactly the kind of gun he's armed with," Lt.-Col. Nir Megidish, the IDF commander overseeing the combat intelligence mission, told the Israeli news site Ynet.

On Sunday evening, new air strikes at Iranian targets in Syria were reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Israel “probably” carried out a devastating airstrike at a base near the northern Syrian town of Hama killing 38 soldiers, among them 18 Iranians, according to SOHR.

Indeed, observers told Israel Today that two Israeli warplanes were spotted returning from Lebanon shortly before the reports about the attack on the Iranian base near Hama came in.

The Israel Air Force routinely uses Lebanese airspace to carry out attacks on Iranian targets in Syria to avoid a confrontation with the Russian forces in the war-torn country.

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