Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Growing Tensions On Israel's Northern Border



The Great Middle Eastern War of 2019

[You can see the framework for both Ezekiel 38 and Isaiah 17 below]



Growing tensions on Israel’s northern border have raised concerns about yet another Israel-Hezbollah confrontation or a war between Israel and Iran in Syria. Such a war may not be limited to the original participants, but could involve an array of Shi’a militias and even the Assad regime, and could span the region—thereby affecting vital U.S. interests.
Two factors are driving these tensions: efforts by Hezbollah and Syria—with Iran’s help—to produce highly accurate missiles in Lebanon and Syria that could cripple Israel’s critical infrastructure and make life there intolerable; and Iran’s efforts to transform Syria into a springboard for military operations against Israel and a platform for projecting power in the Levant. 
Iran, however, while pursuing an anti-status quo agenda that has often brought it into conflict with Israel and the United States, has shown that it seeks to avoid conventional wars and consequent heavy losses to its own forces. Instead, it relies on proxy operations, terrorism, and non-lethal shaping activities. Yet it has occasionally been willing to venture high-risk activities that entail a potential for escalation. (Example: Iranian forces in Syria launched an explosives-laden UAV into Israeli airspace in February; it was shot down, but the incident sparked a round of clashes.)
Israel also seems intent on avoiding war, though its actions show that it is willing to accept the risk of escalation to counter these emerging threats. Indeed, since 2013 it has carried out more than 130 strikes in Syria on arms shipments destined for Hezbollah, and since late 2017 it has expanded this “campaign between the wars” to target Iranian military facilities in Syria—without, thus far, sparking a wider confrontation.
Complacency is, however, unwarranted. The two major Arab-Israeli confrontations of the recent past (Lebanon 2006, Gaza 2014) resulted from unintended escalation. The emerging dynamic between Israel, Iran, and the “axis of resistance” is a formula for a third major “accident,” and so deserves careful analysis.

The potential for yet another war—one of unprecedented scope and complexity—is an outcome of the Syrian civil war, which has enabled Iran to build a military infrastructure in Syria and to deploy its Shi’a “foreign legion” to Israel’s borders. 

War is now possible on multiple fronts and in far-flung theaters, fought on land, in the air, at sea, and in information and cyber domains by fighters from Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and even Yemen. The widened scope of a possible war will create new military options for Iran and Hezbollah, and stretch Israeli capabilities to their limits.

The potential for yet another war—one of unprecedented scope and complexity—is an outcome of the Syrian civil war, which has enabled Iran to build a military infrastructure in Syria and to deploy its Shi’a “foreign legion” to Israel’s borders. 

War is now possible on multiple fronts and in far-flung theaters, fought on land, in the air, at sea, and in information and cyber domains by fighters from Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and even Yemen. The widened scope of a possible war will create new military options for Iran and Hezbollah, and stretch Israeli capabilities to their limits.


The next war on Israel’s northern front, whether it starts in Lebanon or Syria, will not be just a more extensive and destructive replay of the 2006 Lebanon War. Developments since then ensure that such a war will likely involve many more actors, a much larger theater of operations, unprecedented challenges for escalation management, warfighting, and war termination—and the possibility of a regional conflagration.




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