Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Iran Prepares For War Against Israel

ANALYSIS: As Bolton and Netanyahu Discuss Syria, Iran Prepares for War Against Israel

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton was in Jerusalem for a three-day-visit this week.
The discussions between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Bolton mainly focused on Syria and on Iran’s entrenchment in the war-torn country.

Bolton revealed that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin had told president Trump he would be content if Iranian regular and irregular forces would be withdrawn from Syria but that he was not able “to do it himself.”
Trump’s envoy suggested the U.S. would work together with the Russian military to achieve the goal of a complete Iranian withdrawal from Syria and said he would bring up the issue with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev during a meeting in Geneva on Wednesday.
“So the point was that perhaps joint US-Russian efforts might be sufficient. Now I don't know if that is right either, but it is certainly one of the subjects I will be talking about with my Russian counterpart in Geneva tomorrow,” said during a press conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Bolton made clear that after the defeat of ISIS in Syria eliminating Iran’s presence in Syria was now the cornerstone of Trump’s Middle East policy.
The US military has thousands of Special Forces in areas controlled by the Kurdish-led  Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria and in the al-Tanf area in the vicinity of the Iraqi border in the eastern Syrian desert.
Those territories make up 30 percent of Syria’s landmass and the fact that the Iranian-backed pro-Assad coalition hasn’t tried to ‘liberate’ those areas up till now is due to the American presence there.
Maintaining control over the Kurdish canton’s in north and north east Syria as well as keeping a foothold in eastern Syria is vital for the new US strategy for Syria and important for Israel which is very concerned about the Iranian activities in Syria.
At the beginning of August Iran finalized the creation of a land bridge which stretches from the Iranian border in the Nineve province, Iraq, via Syria all the way up to the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

This happened after the pro-Assad coalition finished off the last pockets of mainly Islamist resistance along the Jordanian and Israeli border in southern Syria.

“Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias reportedly played a key role in re-capturing the region along the border despite Russian assurances they would be kept away from the Israeli border and denials by the Assad regime the Iranian trained and funded forces were taking part in the battle,” we reported at the time.

This was later confirmed by Orit Perlov of the Institute for National Security Studies who wrote in a recent research paper how the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps has transformed the Syrian military and is calling the shots in every major battle against rebels.

“Iran, not Russia, is the dominant actor in Syria,” Perlov wrote, while adding that the Islamic Republic “controls the Syria- Iraq and Syria-Lebanon border crossings, and tailors the re-organization of areas and communities based on an ethnic element.”

After the return of Assad’s forces to the area along the Israeli border became a fact Israel appears to have changed its strategy in Syria and is now appparently targeting commanders who are working with Soleimani on preparations for a future war against the Jewish state.

Iran, meanwhile, threatened to attack Israel again whenever the Trump Administration decides to embark on a military campaign against the Islamic Republic and continues building up forces which have to consolidate its foothold in both Iraq and Syria.
The Iranian-found Hashd al-Shaabi umbrella organization of predominantly Shiite militias in Iraq has now seized the west of the Anbar province in Iraq which borders on Syria and the main routes to Syria while purging the area of anti-Iranian elements.
The new Hash al-Shaabi operation in Iraq is overseen by Suleimani who last week vowed Iran would crush the United States and was responsible for the founding of a new Syrian force dubbed the “Golan Liberation Brigade”.

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