Thursday, July 19, 2018

Iran Using Gaza Rocket Campaign To Threaten Israel Over Syria

Iran Using Gaza Rocket Campaign to Threaten Israel Over Syria

There can be little doubt that the massive escalation of projectile attacks from the Gaza Strip the last two days was a transparent attempt by Iran to utilize its Palestinian terrorist proxies in Gaza to impact the current talks between the U.S., Israel and Russia about countering the Iranian presence in Syria.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he agreed with Trump on the need to eventually demilitarize Israel’s border with Syria in keeping with the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement that ended the Yom Kippur War. Putin touted his “very successful” one-on-one meeting with Trump, during which he said the U.S. president emphasized the need to maintain Israel’s security.
Without mentioning Iran specifically, Trump stated at a joint press conference that “President Putin also is helping Israel.” Trump said both he and Putin had spoken recently with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “and they would like to do certain things with Syria having to do with the safety of Israel… We absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel, and Israel will be working with us. So both countries work jointly [for this purpose].”
Those statements had Iran written all over them.  Israel has been strongly lobbying both the U.S. and Russia to rid Syria of Iran’s destabilizing military presence in that country.
Rewind to Saturday night.  Hamas, which does not have a strategic interest in prompting major Israeli retaliation, worked with other Gazan terrorist groups to launch the largest volley of rockets and mortars since the 2014 Israel-Gaza War, which was started after Hamas violated a ceasefire and unilaterally attacked the Jewish state.
More than 200 projectiles were fired from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilian population zones, injuring four family members in the nearby town of Sderot when a rocket smashed outside their home.  Another terror rocket struck near a synagogue there.
In response, the IDF carried out the biggest attack against Hamas targets inside Gaza since the 2014 war. In reacting as it did, Israel was attempting to send a message to Hamas that Gaza’s terrorist rulers will pay a heavy price for doing Iran’s bidding. Hamas must have known that Israel would hit back hard when they escalated their rocket war, indicating the terrorist group either doesn’t care or is so influenced by Iran that it has no choice but to act when their paymasters in Tehran dictate orders.
This likely explains why Israel on Sunday reportedly struck a military base near Syria’s Aleppo that is known for ties with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The same base was hit purportedly by Israel last April. Israel wanted to send a message to Iran that the Jewish state will continue to counter Tehran’s presence in Syria militarily. This after Iran has already been humiliated and strategically devastated by Israel’s repeated strikes against Iran-run military bases in Syria and has been feeling the pressure.

The latest Hamas rocket campaign demonstrates that Iran seems to be attempting to divert Israel’s attention to the Gaza Strip, signaling to Israel that Iranian proxies can be turned on at will.
Iran will continue to feel the heat as the U.S., Israel and Russia strategize on Syria. There is fear that Iran’s next move may be to order Gaza’s terrorists to launch rockets into central Israel, prompting the IDF to deploy the Iron Dome anti-missile system around Tel Aviv.  As Iran becomes increasingly desperate and isolated, it may resort to instigating an all-out war between Hamas and Israel. In such a war, the Israeli home front will suffer but it is Hamas that risks destruction.

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