The Iranians, enriched with the billions Obama sent them, are growing more aggressive toward Israel, which they have many times vowed to destroy. But their biggest ally and helper is no longer in the White House, so everything might not go the way they plan or hope.
“Israel Hits Back at Iran and Syria as Border Region Boils,” by Donna Abu-Nasr and Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg, February 10, 2018:
Israel launched attacks on Iranian and Syrian positions after it said Iran sent a military drone into its airspace Saturday, raising the prospect of further escalation over the Islamic Republic’s growing presence in Syria.
Israel struck 12 targets in Syria, including four Iranian targets, in a “large-scale attack” after the drone infiltration, the Israel Defense Forces said. An F-16 fighter plane crashed in northern Israel after coming under fire from Syrian anti-aircraft missiles, and the pilots were hospitalized with moderate to severe injuries.
Saturday’s confrontation, the most serious between the sides since the Syrian civil war began, comes amid Israeli warnings that it won’t let Syria become an Iranian base and will intercept weapons shipments bound for Iran-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. Iran and allied militias have fought alongside government troops against rebels and Islamist factions in the seven-year-old Syrian war.
“The question is whether the Iranians will respond or lower the fire at this stage,” said Ephraim Kam, a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. “My feeling is that they don’t have an interest in escalation.”
‘Right and duty’
On Saturday night, after hours of consultations with the defense minister and military chief of staff, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the Iranian drone as a “brazen” attempt to violate Israel’s sovereignty, and said it was Israel’s “right and duty” to respond.
“Israel’s face is turned toward peace, but we will continue to defend ourselves with determination against any attack on us and against any Iranian attempt to base itself in Syria or anywhere else,” Netanyahu said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Iranian television Saturday that countries are mistaken if they think bombing their neighbors will bring good results, Reuters reported.
Israel has attacked inside Syria frequently since the civil war there began in March 2011, targeting Syrian military posts and arms shipments bound for Hezbollah. Until this weekend, counterstrikes by Syria and Hezbollah against Israel had caused little damage.
Israeli officials wouldn’t confirm if the F-16 had been downed by a Syrian missile, as teams combed the crash site for remains to analyze. Across the border the event was taken as a victory, with dozens of Lebanese celebrating and waving Hezbollah’s flag….