ANALYSIS: Israel Being Drawn Into Escalating US-Iran Conflict
Israel concerned by America’s failure to respond to downing of its drone by Iran
Israel is reportedly taking into consideration that the escalating conflict between the United States and Iran will spill over to the Jewish State.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benyamin issued a stern warning to Israel’s foes not to test the Israeli military after he attended a massive IDF drill on the Golan Heights.
“I hear our neighbors from the north, south and east threatening our destruction. I say to our enemies: The Israeli army has very great destructive power. Don’t test us,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Netanyahu’s warning came after Ha’aretz analyst Amos Harel reported that Israeli and Western intelligence agencies warned Iran could activate its proxies in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria against Israel in order to increase the pressure on the US in the Middle East.
The Israeli government and military are aware of this scenario and are preparing for this possibility according to Harel.
Netanyahu convened his security cabinet already two times this week to discuss the situation in the Persian Gulf where Iran already has activated its proxies in both Iraq and Yemen in order to carry out attacks on American targets and Saudi Arabia.
The covert war between the US and Iran escalated last week when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) attacked two huge oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
The attacks on the tankers Kokuka Courageous and the Front Altair caused extensive damage to the vessels while the crew of both tankers remained unharmed.
The holes in the hull of the tankers indicate that Limpet mines were used while the crew of the Front Altair initially reported that the ship was hit by a torpedo or an underwater drone.
CENTCOM, the Central US Command in the Middle East later released a video which showed a glass bottom vessel full of IRGC members who removed an unexploded Limpet mine from the hull of the Japanese-owned tanker Kokuka Courageous.
Sean Kido, the commander of an explosive ordinance dive and salvage task group in the Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) suggested that the mines used in the attack on the Kokuka Courageous were made in Iran.
“The limpet mine that was used in the attack is distinguishable and also strikingly bearing a resemblance to Iranian mines that have already been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades” Kido told reporters.
He added that his unit had also recovered finger and hand prints from the hull of the Japanese-owned ship.
The IRGC units later tried unsuccessfully to shoot down a US MQ-9 armed drone which was monitoring the movements of the Iranians with Misagh-2 MANPADS, CENTCOM reported.
In Iraq, Iran has apparently ordered its proxy army Hashd al-Shaabi to carry out attacks on the so-called ‘Green Zone’ in Baghdad where the American embassy is located and on other US-related targets in the country.
The Green Zone was hit twice over the past week by mortars and a Katusha rocket but the projectiles failed to hit the American embassy.
In Yemen, Iran’s proxy Ansar Allah, or the Houthi militia, is constantly targeting Saudi-Arabia with armed drones and ballistic missiles while the militia also succeeded to shoot down an American drone (UAV) on June 6th.
The situation aggravated on Thursday when the IRGC shot down an American UAV over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
The drone a U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton was flying above the Iranian province Hormozgan and the downing a the ‘spy’ plane was meant as “a message to Washington” according to the IRGC.
The question is now what the Trump Administration will do.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the Trump Administration is preparing for a tactical strike on a nuclear-related target in Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doesn’t rule out military action against Iran and has made clear that the death of a single American service man or woman would trigger a military response, according to The Washington Post.
For now, however, the Administration seems to use other tools to increase the pressure on Iran.
One of these tools is to build a global coalition against Iran after it carried out attacks on unarmed commercial vessels in international waters.
China’s energy consumption, for example, depends for 80 percent on oil from the Persian Gulf.
The American government could also work together with oil importing states to protect tankers in the Gulf.
The Americans and their allies could also increase cyber attacks on Iran’s security apparatus something that already seems to happen since Iran reported it had foiled a CIA spy cyber attack on Wednesday.
The Trump Administration also ordered the additional deployment of 1,000 military service men in the Middle East to protect American interests.
Iran, from its side, is increasing pressure on the European countries to choose its side in the conflict with the US.
Until now the European Union has done everything it could to enable continuing trade with and investment in Iran but the EU seems powerless in pressuring European companies into renewed activities in the Islamic Republic.
If European companies continue to do business with Iran they will become prone to American sanctions as well something no European firm is willing to risk until now.
Iran has now given the EU until June 27th to help Iran getting relief from the biting sanction regime or it will breach the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) with three European countries, Russia and China.
The Islamist regime in Tehran says it will start to enrich uranium beyond the limits set by the JCPOA if the EU doesn’t give in to her demands.
The EU, however, suddenly seems to realize on whose side it should be in the escalating conflict between the US and Iran.
On Thursday, the organization announced that it would enact new sanctions against Iran after the Islamic Republic increased its terrorist activity in European countries.