No doubt Iran hoped the introduction of advanced Russian anti-aircraft systems to Syria would deter further Israeli air strikes on its installations in the war-torn country.
But massive explosions at Iranian and Hezbollah weapons depots in Syria overnight Thursday were attributed by Arab media and Syrian officials to the Israel Air Force. Israel declined to comment, as it typically does, but local and international media touted the operation as a rare exception to new Russian rules of engagement in Syria. Arab media claimed that Israel lost a plane in the strike. Israel insists it did not.
However, none of that mattered much amid reports that Iran had started to supply weapons direction to Hezbollah at the terrorist militia's base of operations in neighboring Lebanon.
Israel's air strikes in Syria over recent years had been aimed at denying Iran both the ability to establish a military foothold in Syria and providing Hezbollah with the kinds of weapons that would shift the balance of power.
This week, Israel learned that Iran's military was flying direct flights over Iraq and Syria to Beirut, and directly supplying Hezbollah in its home country. Cutting this new supply route would require air strikes on Lebanon, which Israel will be reluctant to consider.