Washington’s resolve to oppose Assad while attacking Islamic State (IS) has prompted Iran to threaten to attack Israel if the US attacks Syria...
On 11 October, Iran’s deputy foreign minister made clear the government’s decision on a US-led attack on the Assad regime in Syria: should Damascus be targeted by the US or its allies, Iran will strike Israel. Assad seeks Israel’s destruction and maintains his power because of Iranian capital.
Israel and Iran have an inimical relationship, with Tehran having openly advocated Israel’s total destruction and Israel relentless in its opposition to Iran’s nuclear program. Prior to Iran’s statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the world’s media, assessing the West’s possible nuclear-concessions towards Iran as a reward for their support in defeating Islamic State (IS). Netanyahu decried the international climate of diplomacy stating
‘I’ve heard in the press that people are saying… Let's reward Iran for fighting ISIS… What for? They are going to fight ISIS anyway’.As IS’s conquest of Shi’ite Islam is a stated goal of the Caliphate, Netanyahu is right: Iran will fight IS to ensure its own survival. Naturally, as Netanyahu perceives, it will attempt to configure the ensuing international diplomacy to suit its long-term interests.
Earlier in October, a weapons testing facility thirty miles from Tehran was reported to have exploded, either deliberately or by accident, killing at least two Iranians. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not been given access to this site since 2005, leading analysts to believe that it is a warhead-detonation experimental facility. Israel denied responsibility for the explosion and Iran, fearing the embarrassment of having to admit to potential Israeli breaches of their security, declared the incident an accident.
Since Israel is adamant that Iran’s nuclear program has more than just civilian aspirations, it is possible that Israel pre-emptively targeted the site....
For IS, possessing a nuclear arsenal is undoubtedly in their interest. This makes the defeat of Iran a key goal and another reason for Israel to want to limit Iran’s nuclear programme.
During talks in New York last week, officials from Tehran sought permission to keep and upgrade their centrifuge capacity.
In his speech, Netanyahu exposed the ruse of a peaceful Iranian nuclear programme:
‘17 countries around the world… have civilian nuclear energy. They don't have one centrifuge. Because the centrifuge you really need is for one thing: not for civilian nuclear energy, but for making a bomb; for military use’.The USA has long called for the Assad regime to be dismantled, perceiving it to be a client of Iran. Tehran’s propping up of the Shia sect known as the Alawites (Assad’s ethnic group) came as a response against united orthodox Arab (Sunni) aggression towards the Shi’ite Islamic State’s revolution in 1979. After Israel and the USA, Saudi Arabia is Iran’s chief ideological opponent and a militarily and financially strong adversary.
Seeking to establish Iran as the leader of a united Shia Muslim community across the region, the Ayatollahs have funded and armed groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and other groups in Yemen and Bahrain; they also fund Shia doctrine world-wide (much like the Saudis fund Wahhabism).
The question now, however, is whether Iran believes it could feasibly attack Israel.
Nakhijevan in Azerbaijan, on the border with Iran and under 800kms from Tehran and the Iranian nuclear facility of Natanz, now houses a squadron of Israeli fighter aircraft, with drones known to embark from there on intelligence missions. The Israeli presence on Iran’s border is tactically prudent, enabling swift retaliation should Iran strike Israel.
[Also see Israeli Drone Caught Spying on Iran ‘Took Off from Nakhijevan’]
... The situation is now clear. ... attacks on Syria will only add another dimension to a very convoluted war.