ANALYSIS: The state of affairs in Israel’s multi-front war

With exaggerated focus on Gaza, most people have forgotten that it’s one small part of a much bigger war.

By Yochanan Visser | | Topics: Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah
The battle in Gaza is just one front in a multi-front war that Israel currently is not winning. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
The battle in Gaza is just one front in a multi-front war that Israel currently is not winning. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90

Despite an abundance of media reporting on the war in Israel, many people outside the country appear to be no longer able to get a proper idea of the situation in the multi-front conflict in which the Jewish state is embroiled.

This is mainly due to the obsession that the media, but also many foreign politicians, have with the front in Gaza. However, even when it comes to Gaza, reporting focuses on the humanitarian side of the conflict and not on the military aspects.

In this analysis, I will attempt to provide a more complete picture of the current situation in the multi-front war, which began with the horrific pogrom carried out by Hamas on October 7, 2023.

First of all, we must realize that this war is in fact a major conflict between Israel and Iran, which is the main sponsor of terrorist movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah and has proxies in many Middle Eastern countries.

The war against Israel is led by the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its commander Ishmail Qaani, the successor to Qassem Soleimani, who the CIA liquidated on January 3, 2020, during a visit to Baghdad.

At the time, Soleimani had drawn up a phased plan for the destruction of Israel. This plan officially had three phases, but experts on Iran say there is a fourth phase in which Iran moves toward a nuclear weapon.

Shortly after the outbreak of war in October 2023, I wrote an analysis about this four-phase plan that I recommend you to read again, because we see that Iran is continuing to act according to the plan and has now come close to a nuclear weapon, as the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna has again indicated.

The core of Soleimani’s plan was to create “a ring of fire” around Israel, in other words establishing multiple fronts at once that would overwhelm the IDF.

Hamas effectively scuttled the Quds Force’s strategic plan by launching an attack on Israel that was actually reserved for Hezbollah in Lebanon, without consulting Tehran.

This was the work of the stubborn and extremely brutal leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahiya Sinwar, and his sidekick Saleh al-Arouri, the Hamas commander in Lebanon who was liquidated by the Israeli Air Force in Beirut on January 2.

According to Soleimani’s plan, Hezbollah was to launch a surprise attack and occupy northern Israel under an unprecedented hail of rockets (more than 1,500 per day).

Looking back at what happened in October last year, one can say that it was a blessing in disguise that Sinwar took this idiosyncratic decision.

After all, the IDF was surprised, but was able to keep things more or less under control because Hamas is of a different caliber than Hezbollah. Moreover, it was quite easy to interrupt the flow of weapons that Iran sent to the jihadist terrorist movement because Gaza is quite isolated, and Israel has now surrounded the enclave from all sides.

 

Phase three – the heartland

When we now look at the state of affairs on various fronts, we see that Iran has entered the third phase of Soleimani’s plan.

This phase is characterized by attacks from five to six fronts, namely Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Judea and Samaria, the Biblical heartland of Israel, which is regarded as a critical front by the Iranians because of its location and the complexity of defending it.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, personally ordered the terrorist movements in Judea and Samaria to be better trained and armed over the past two years. Iran has thus established a smuggling line through Syria and Jordan to send better weapons to terrorist movements in the region.

The weapons were even delivered with small unmanned aircraft from Syria that were undetectable to radar systems and sent into Israel’s heartland, but also through the three border crossings with Jordan, and through infiltration of the long porous border between Israel and Jordan.

Over the past month, the heartland front has heated up considerably, and last week there were even infiltration attempts by Hamas terrorists from the town of Tulkarm, which is just 12 kilometers from the Israeli seaside resort town of Netanya.

Tulkarm, together with the cities of Jenin and Nablus (Shechem) in Samaria, has effectively been turned into a forwarded base of the Quds Force, while the IDF is trying to keep things under control by conducting regular raids on these cities, which mainly take place at night.

To illustrate what Iran is doing through the Palestinian terrorist movements in Judea and Samaria, throughout 2023, Hamas terrorists committed 20 shooting attacks in the area that claimed the lives of nine Israelis.

 

Back to Gaza

The Gaza front is now on its way to being neutralized at the hands of the IDF, and the Israeli army has currently retaken about 90 percent of the enclave’s territory, including as of last week the so-called Philadelphia Corridor, the 12-kilometer-long border with Egypt.

Despite these relatively quick advances, the IDF’s assumption remains that it could take up to two years before Gaza is completely cleared of the terrorist presence.

This is mainly due to the enormous underground tunnel system that Hamas has been building since 2007 (estimated at 450 kilometers). There are even places, such as the city of Khan Younis, with tunnel systems of more than 15 floors. The IDF has so far destroyed the tunnels closer to the surface (more than 30 percent of the total).

 

Third Lebanon war

Then there is the northern front with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Until now, the battle there has been characterized by mutual attacks, with Hezbollah carrying out daily attacks with rockets and unmanned kamikaze aircraft, and the Israeli army carrying out air strikes and artillery bombardments.

However, there are now strong indications that the nature of the battle there will soon change as the IDF is currently mobilizing reinforcements and has completed exercises aimed at a ground war against Hezbollah, while the Lebanese Iranian proxy has significantly escalated its attacks.

A delegation from the Ministry of Defense visited Washington last week to discuss the supply of more ammunition and weapons with an eye on the expansion of the war against Hezbollah.

When the ground offensive against Hezbollah begins, Iran will almost certainly open a new front on the Golan Heights through the so-called Golan Liberation Brigade, a force of almost 100,000 fighters that, in addition to members of the Quds Force, consists of Shia militias that were transferred to Syria by Soleimani from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and local Syrian militias.

In preparation for this possible new front, the IDF is now clearing minefields on the Golan Heights that have been there since the 1967 Six-Day War.

 

Iraqi threat

Attacks have also been carried out from Iraq for some time now with unmanned kamikaze aircraft and even cruise missiles, as became apparent this week when such a missile was shot out of the sky above the south of the Golan Heights.

The attacks are being carried out by a coalition of Shiite militias calling themselves the Islamic Resistance of Iraq that also targeted Eilat at least twice. In fact, this loose coalition was also forged by Soleimani and previously went by the name al-Hashd al-Sha’abi.

It is expected that this collection of militias from Iraq will also be deployed at the possible new front on the Golan Heights.

 

Yemen menace

Finally, there is the front created by the Ansar Allah (or Houthi) militia from Yemen that entered the was at the end of October last year.

Initially, this militia, which operates as a division of the IRGC, tried to hit the city of Eilat in the far south of Israel, but succeeded only once. Lately, Ansar Allah has been more focused on terrorizing shipping traffic in the waters around Yemen and even the Indian Ocean, while it also has vowed to disrupt maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea.

Ansar Allah’s attacks with anti-ship missiles and unmanned kamikaze aircraft have increased in recent weeks, as have counter-attacks by warplanes from the United States and Great Britain.

Just last Thursday, a new series of air strikes was carried out on Ansar Allah targets in Yemen, killing 14 terrorists, after which the militia responded with ballistic missile attacks on the American aircraft carrier USS Dwight Eisenhower and other US warships.

 

Expanding conflict

This, in short, is the complete picture of Iran’s war against Israel and the West, where Iran has set up a vast network of spies, infiltrators, and terror cells in Europe, South America and the US.

In the US, Iran had moles at the highest levels of government and even in the Pentagon. Robert Malley, Biden’s former Iran envoy, was one of these moles until he lost his security clearance and was placed under house arrest by the FBI.

If you are wondering why they are doing this, Iran has an imperialist plan for the world that is being implemented very slowly but effectively.

The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini made this clear almost immediately after the 1979 upheaval in Iran, saying at the time that the revolution would not be limited to Iran, and later issuing a fatwa (religious order) to kill Jews and Americans wherever they might be, as was revealed last year by an Iranian diplomat in Lebanon.