The Middle East is as tense as it has been since the Islamic State of Syria expanded into Iraq becoming “ISIS”. Rumors of the Americans preparing for a major strike in Syria, Russians moving equipment and personnel around in Syria, and Assad hiding his equipment among the Russians are swirling but nothing is confirmed. But that’s Syria, the rest of the region is not frozen in fear of an anticipated clash of global powers.
Two major stories are breaking this morning that involve regional dynamics that aren’t a part of or have progressed past the old Cold War framework. The first is Israel’s response to threats of Iranian retaliation over the 7 Iranians killed in airstrikes at the T-4 site in Homs, Syria. An Israeli officially said plainly,
“Assad’s regime and Assad himself will disappear from the map and the world if the Iranians do try to harm Israel or its interests from Syrian territory,”
Israeli Defense Minister was quoted on Tuesday saying, “No matter what the price, we will not allow Iran to have a permanent [military] foothold in Syria. We have no other choice”.
The undeniable fact about the Israeli Defense Forces is they mean exactly what they say and they always follow through with on their rhetoric. This is the event the world has been dreading and trying to put off — a direct Israeli/Iranian conflict. As the 70th anniversary of Israeli Independence approaches the symbolic value may be too good for the Iranians to resist.
The second story is that a missile has been fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia. The Saudis reportedly intercepted a missile over Riyadh and shot down two drones. The Houthi have claimed responsibility for the attack.
This isn’t surprising as Iran has no play in Syria other than to fight the Americans in the east or the Israelis to the south so it makes sense harassing the Saudis in Yemen where they research and develop their drones and missile technology and suffer no consequences for it.
This situation in the region is coming to a head and the problem always circles back to Iran. Assad? Iran propped them up on the ground effort for the Russians. Israel? It’s been Iranian foreign policy to destroy Israel for 39 years. Houthi? Iran is providing them with weapons and technology. The list goes on and on.
Spring is here and it could turn into a cruel one for some.