The incursion on an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace and the subsequent Israeli response on Saturday shows that Israel considers Iran’s efforts “to consolidate their strategic position” in Syria and Lebanon to threaten the Jewish state “unsustainable,” two experts on the Middle East in an op-ed published Sunday in The Wall Street Journal.
Jonathan Schanzer, the executive vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and Tony Badran, a research fellow at FDD, characterized the downing of the drone after it entered Israeli airspace and the subsequent attacks by the Israeli Air Force against targets in Syria as “the most significant clash to date between Israel and the so-called Axis of Resistance—Iran, Syria’s Assad regime and Hezbollah—since Iran began deploying soldiers and proxies to Syria six years ago.”
Schanzer and Badran noted that Iran has been using the cover of “chaos” resulting from Syria’s civil war to “to build up military assets there that target Israel, all the while sending advanced weaponry to Lebanon by way of Damascus, also under the fog of war.” Israel has not been sitting still and launched numerous attacks into Syria, targeting Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah, but “had never entered Syria with the kind of overwhelming force seen on Saturday morning.”
The emerging situation where Iran attempts “to consolidate their strategic position, which will prepare them for a future conflict with the Jewish state,” is, to Israel, “unsustainable.”
Israeli efforts to get support for their efforts to deter Iran, Schanzer and Badran observed, have succeeded in getting messages of support from both the State Department and Defense Department. They also pointed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s speech last month outlining the United States’s strategy regarding Syria. Tillerson said that the U.S. was not only committed to protecting its allies in the region but also in denying Iran the ability “to create a northern arch, stretching from Iran to Lebanon and the Mediterranean.”
The best way for the U.S. to do this, Schanzer and Badran conclude, is to “back Israel’s responses to Iran’s aggression—now and in the future.”
[Photo: RT / YouTube]