Syria braces for potential war between israel and iran electricity trading jobs

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That shadowy dynamic changed when Iranian forces sent their drone into Israel, setting in motion the retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. Initially, Israel didn’t claim credit for the April 9 attack, which came just five days before the U.S., Britain and France launched missiles against three Syrian chemical weapons facilities in response to an alleged Syrian poison gas attack on a Damascus suburb. It was Russia that identified the Israelis.

But since then, Israeli military officials have admitted they launched their attack in response to what they deemed to be an attempted Iranian strike against Israel. The evidence: According to The New York Times, further Israeli study of the film of the Iranian reconnaissance drone that penetrated Israeli airspace back in February showed it was carrying explosives. “The one who takes this path must know that it ends with a difficult war,” said Amidror.

Newsweek has been unable to confirm the veracity of the Israeli claim, but events on the ground have rendered it a moot point. Iranian officials have vowed revenge. The big question now is how General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force will respond.

General Qassem Soleimani (center), commander of Iranian Quds Force, attends a meeting with Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (not seen) with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in Tehran, Iran, on September 18, 2016. Pool/Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Eisenstadt, who has closely studied Soleimani’s tactics, says he expects the Iranian military leader will press ahead with his strategy to turn Syria into a missile platform against Israel. The role of the estimated 2,000 Iranian troops now in Syria, he adds, is to set up the military infrastructure for that endeavor, including factories to produce sophisticated GPS-guided missiles with increased accuracy to hit high-value military and economic targets in Israel. Once this has been accomplished, he said, Soleimani will turn these bases over to Hezbollah and allied Shiite militias. “The goal is to surround Israel on almost every side with proxies equipped with rockets to be able to bombard Israel,” Eisenstadt says. “He wants to do in Syria what he did for Hezbollah in Lebanon and, to a lesser extent, for Hamas in Gaza.”

As Israel braces for Iran’s response, its military officials have vowed they will not allow Iran to do in Syria what it did in Lebanon, which was arm Hezbollah with enough missiles so that the Lebanese Shiite militia presented Israel with a serious threat. Israel eventually went to war against Hezbollah in 2006, resulting in massive damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure, a stinging blow to Hezbollah’s political popularity in Lebanon and an enduring state of calm along Israel’s northern border. Still, Israeli military intelligence estimates Hezbollah now has more than 120,000 missiles in southern Lebanon that could be unleashed in any war between Israel and Iran.

As Iranian forces populate forward air bases in Syria, Israeli military officials recently indicated they are drawing up target lists for counterstrikes against a broad range of Iranian military installations in Syria. These officials recently publicized satellite images and a map showing five air bases in Syria that Iran allegedly uses for its drones and cargo aircraft. The officials also provided the names of three senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers allegedly commanding missile units and related projects in Syria. Eisenstadt says the disclosure was a clear warning to Iran. “The message is ‘You’re totally exposed. If you retaliate, these targets are next,’” he said.

Last year, Israel’s land, air, naval and intelligence forces also conducted their largest military exercises in two decades along the country’s northern border in what was seen as preparations to invade Lebanon in the event of another war with Hezbollah. The aim of any invasion, Israeli military officials said, would be to “vanquish Hezbollah” so that it “either has no ability or desire to attack anymore.”

Another danger is the threat that Israeli and Russian forces in Syria could come to blows during any future Israeli airstrikes against Syria. Russian officials recently announced that Moscow will soon supply Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with advanced S-300 air defense missile systems. They add that if Israel attacks these missile systems, it will suffer what an official called “catastrophic consequences.”

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threw the threat right back at the Russians. “One thing should be clear,” he told Yediot Ahronot. “If someone fires on our planes, we will destroy them. What’s important to us is that the weapons systems that the Russians transfer to Syria are not used against us. If they are used against us, we will act against them. It doesn’t matter what system—S-300, S-700 or something else.”

Dennis Ross, a former Middle East adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents, notes that while Israel, Iran and now Russia are rattling their sabers, Trump has publicly stated his intention to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, an announcement that Ross says has “emboldened Iran and Russia and signaled Israel that it’s on its own.”

“As time goes by, the potential for war increases, and it increases precisely because the U.S. is on the sidelines,” Ross tells Newsweek. “And with the U.S. on the sidelines, Israel can’t send its signals with words; it has to send them with actions.” He adds that Trump’s threats to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran play into the hands of Iranian hard-liners like Soleimani, who never trusted the United States in the first place and sees the Quds Force as the spearhead of Iran’s drive to dominate the Middle East and confront Israel.

Ever since Israel’s founding, in 1948, its defense forces have followed a dictum found in the Babylonian Talmud, the fourth-century compendium of Jewish religious law and theology: “When an enemy awakes in the morning to kill you, wake up earlier and kill him first.” As the tensions with Iran escalate, that advice appears, once again, to be Israel’s order of the day.