Israel at War against Iran in Three Different Countries
Aug. 26, 2019 (EIRNS)—Over the last three days, Israel has admitted to or is suspected of being responsible for air strikes on Iran-related targets in three countries: Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Whether they admit to the attacks or not, the Israelis claim that Iran is arming and running groups and, in the case of Syria, also deploying its own forces, to attack Israel, therefore Israel has to strike first. “If someone rises up to kill you, kill him first,” Prime Minister, and Defense Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in English on his Twitter account on Aug. 24, quoting a Talmudic passage. In Lebanon, it’s Hezbollah; in Syria, it’s the IRGC and proxy forces; and in Iraq, it’s elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the Shi’ite militias that fought ISIS and have been incorporated into the Iraqi Defense Ministry.
The ever-expanding Israeli campaign has been linked, in some reports, to President Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, but is also occurring in the midst of Netanyahu’s campaign re-election on Sept. 17. In Syria, Israeli officials have previously acknowledged Israel’s campaign of hundreds of air strikes over the past two years, targetting what they say are Iranian military assets. Yesterday, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) openly announced that it was responsible for a series of air strikes in a neighborhood in Damascus that it claimed thwarted an imminent Iran-directed drone attack on Israel. In Lebanon, an air strike on the camp of a Palestinian group allied with Hezbollah was attributed to Israel less than 24 hours after two drones crashed in Beirut, damaging Hezbollah’s media headquarters building. In Iraq, an apparent drone attack on two vehicles belonging to a brigade of the PMF in Anbar province, about 15 km from the border with Syria, was at least the fifth attack against PMF elements attributed to Israel in the last two months. That attack killed one Iraqi and wounded another.
Predictably, the attacks are drawing threats of revenge from the intended victims. In a speech on Sunday, Aug. 24, following the drone incident, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed that Hezbollah will respond to the Israeli attacks somewhere in southern Lebanon in the next few days. “What happened in Syria and Lebanon last night is very, very dangerous,” Nasrallah said, referring to the drone incidents in Beirut overnight Saturday-Sunday. He warned that Netanyahu
“would be mistaken if he thinks that this issue can go unnoticed. The time at which Israeli war jets used to strike targets in Lebanon while the usurping entity in Palestine kept safe has ended. From tonight, I tell the Israeli army on the border: wait for our response, which may take place at any time on the border and beyond the border. Be prepared and wait for us.”
In Tehran, Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani said that the recent Israeli attacks in Lebanon and Syria indicated the end of Israel. “There is no doubt that these insane operations will be the last struggles of the Zionist regime,” reported Fars. According to Israeli news reports, the IDF holds Soleimani responsible for the drone strike that it says it prevented with the strike in Syria.