Breaking with its policy of ambiguity, Israel on Thursday fully acknowledged its role in the overnight bombing of dozens of Iranian bases and military installations across Syria.
The series of airstrikes came immediately on the heels of a rocket attack on Israel’s Golan Heights by Iranian forces operating out of southern Syria. None of the rockets managed to land in Israeli-controlled territory. Many fell short of the border, and several were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.
By contrast, the massive Israeli response has destroyed “nearly all” of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria, claimed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Playing on the discrepancy between Israeli and Iranian might, Liberman warned: “If we get rain, you will get a flood. We will not allow Iran to use Syria as a base from which to attack us.”
IDF officials estimated that the broad aerial operation had set back Iran’s military build-up in Syria by months, at least.
Israel Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said he hoped that the severity of the response demonstrated to Iran that the Jewish state is “not playing and not bluffing.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein added in a Twitter post that Israel had sent a crystal clear message to Iran: “The rules of the game have changed.”
Indeed, Israel’s disproportionate response was, for once, not condemned by the international community.
Unsurprisingly, the Trump Administration in Washington fully supported Israel against the Iranian foe. Russia, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently meeting with President Vladimir Putin, signaled that it would in no way hinder Israel in defending itself against Iranian aggression.
There is growing speculation that Iran’s military adventure in Syria is interfering with Russia’s agenda in the region. This, coupled with Israel and Russia growing closer in recent years, has resulted in Iran no longer enjoying outright backing from Moscow.