As the IS - the common enemy – gets weaker, the evolving battlefield in Syria and Iraq is drawing the United States and Iran towards a collision. The British Guardian cites Ilan Goldenberg, a former state and defense official, who said that «the tolerance that Shia Iranian-supported groups and American-supported groups have shown for each other» may disappear as the IS disappears off the map. He believes that with the IS gone «You can see it all going haywire pretty quickly».
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army simulated battle conditions with live rounds in Tibet over the weekend, as Indian and Chinese forces remain at a standoff over the disputed area of Sikkim.
Beijing and New Dehli have both accused each other of intrusion in Sikkim, which is roughly where Bhutan, India and Tibet meet. Troops have confronted each other in the area several times since June 16. Bhutan claims that China intruded on Bhutanese soil when it began construction on a new road, a claim India supports, while Beijing argues that it was building on its own territory.
In China’s view the contested area is part of its Donglang region. India calls the land Doka La; Bhutan recognizes and claims the area as Dokalam.
Beijing hoped to show "it could easily overpower its Indian counterparts," analyst Zhou Chenming told the SCMP. The point of projecting power in such a fashion, Zhou says, is to reduce the chances that a larger conflict erupts.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier in July. While they claimed to have spoken about a range of issues, the Sikkim confrontation surely arose, and tensions were said to have decreased following the two leaders’ discussion. Nevertheless, “the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese troops has several dimensions,” Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Srikanth Kondapalli told Sputnik at the time.
"Although it started with road construction activities by China, it has more strategic ramifications. China is more concerned with growing India-US alliance," Kondapalli noted.
On July 11, the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group joined the Indian and Japanese navies for joint exercises US Navy Cmdr. Rear Adm. William Byrne described as a “strategic message to China.”
One day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his opposition to the Russia-US brokered ceasefire in parts of Syria, the nation’s former National Security Council chief called for Israel to examine military options that would keep Iran and Hezbollah from setting up permanent bases in the country.
"We will not let the Iranians and Hezbollah be the forces that will win the very brutal war in Syria" Yaakov Amidror said Monday, lest they then shift their attention to Israel from camps within the war-torn country just over Israel’s border.
The Israeli Defense Forces then might have to "intervene and destroy every attempt to build [permanent Iranian] infrastructure in Syria," he warned, the Jerusalem Post reports.
"At the end of the day it is our responsibility, not the responsibility of the Americans, or the Russians, to guarantee ourselves," Amidror said. "We will take all measures that are needed for that."
"Israel has always viewed Iran and Hezbollah as the main threat on the northern border – not the salafist terrorists. So, whenever Israel has intervened militarily it has been to fight against this enemy," Max Abrahms of the Council on Foreign Relations told Sputnik on Monday. "Conversely, Israel has taken into their hospitals fighters from the opposition and works with them in a variety of other ways as well, including with some intelligence-sharing."
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