Above Photo: From Ahtribune.com
Hard as it may be to believe, at the moment of writing these words I am at the airport about to embark on a trip which will culminate in Mashhad, Iran. At the same time, Israeli army spokesperson is tweeting that twenty rockets launched by Iranian Quds brigades stationed in Syria were intercepted by the Israeli “Iron Dome.” The rockets, so the IDF claims, were aimed at IDF posts in the Golan Heights and sirens were sounded to alert the people living on the Golan Heights to go into bomb shelters. It seems that once again Israel got what it wanted: Its own war in Syria.
The shock that spread around the world as the president of the United States stood and declared that he was going to unitarily pull the United States out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement, was heightened by the fact that in making this decision he chose to disregard the will of the international community, the information provided by international agencies and experts and to rely solely on the word of one man, Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump’s announcement could have been written by Netanyahu himself, though more than likely it was dictated by Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton. This is one more in a long line of reckless, ill-advised decisions taken by Trump. This was also another personal-political favor from Trump to Netanyahu and a green light for Israel to attack Syria.
In September of 2017 an article by Amos Harel in Haaretz was titled, “The Iranian Threat Changed Locations.” Harel claimed that in the future Israel will find itself in a confrontation (will, not might) with Iran. Though Israel still thinks of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah as the enemy, writes Harel, in fact the real enemy is General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force—a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. In other words, war with Iran is inevitable.
It has been many months now that the Hebrew press coming out of Tel-Aviv has been beating the drums of war. A piece in Ynet written by Ron Ben-Yishai, Israel’s foremost military expert, in November, 2017 describes a scenario whereby Iranian forces will be stationed in Syria like Hezbollah is stationed in Lebanon. Thus, Israel will be faced with an Iranian threat on two fronts, Syria and Lebanon, and will be forced to attack and destroy them both. The Iranian presence on Syrian and Lebanese soil will present a strategic threat to Israel and will force Israel to start a war. Ben-Yishai reminds the readers that Israel always makes good on its threats and therefore the Russians and the Iranians would do well to calculate their moves in Syria.
An editorial piece in Haaretz claims that the real threat from Iran is an attack by Iranian forces in Syria using conventional weapons. Israel must engage in an all-out war against Iran in order to thwart its attempts to establish itself militarily in Syria and pose a strategic threat to Israel. Then, in March 2018, a piece by Ron Ben-Yishai in Ynet titled: “A looming Danger in the North, Netanyahu must pressure Trump.” “The new reality in Syria demands new strategic and tactical thinking, in order to determine how to prevent Syria from becoming an Iranian satellite.”
On May 5, 2018 Ynet published a report titled, “Tensions in the North, Israel attacked Iranian missiles prepared for launch.” The report went on to say the Israeli army, the IDF had detected “unconventional Iranian movement” and had instructed Israeli settlers living in the occupied Golan Heights to prepare the bomb shelters. IDF also claimed that loud explosions were heard south of Damascus. It goes on to say that one may conclude that Iranian forces are making attempts to fire missiles towards Israeli targets.
Israel’s Channel 10 news reports that Israel is to expect retaliation for the death of Iranian military personnel during the Israeli attack on T4 base in Syria earlier this month. According to sources sited by Channel 10, fourteen people were killed in that attack including Iranians. The base, Israel claims was operating drones and was controlled by Iran.
The common demand across the spectrum of Israeli news outlets is for war in Syria supposedly to thwart an Iranian threat.
During an interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo, Netanyahu was asked if he will confirm that Israel has nuclear weapons. He did not confirm or deny the existence of nuclear weapons in Israeli arsenals but he did go on to say the Iran lied and that it is threatening to annihilate the state of Israel. We will set aside for a moment the absurdity of Netanyahu calling others liars when his entire anti-Iran campaign is a lie. Instead we will focus on the threat of annihilation Israel claims it fears from Iran. Iran has thus far attacked no one. Israel, however, has not threatened but rather exercised the annihilation of another country, Palestine, and is in the midst of a campaign to annihilate the culture, history, and the very existence of the Palestinian people. Israel engaged in actual annihilation, not a threat but real genocide and ethnic cleansing, yet it is spreading rumors of a threat to itself from Iran.
It is not clear how things will develop. I am hopeful that a visit to Iran will help to dispel the myths surrounding it and will allow me to testify to the absurdity of Israeli and American claims that the eighty million people of Iran deserve to be punished, while Israel is permitted to get away with not only murder, but the annihilation of an entire people.