Israel is keeping a close eye on developments within Syria. Iran has taken advantage of the Syrian civil war to move more troops and military hardware into the region. They are also constructing hardened bases pointing to a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria that will give them a significant foothold in influencing Syria’s future. Israel is also tracking the transfer of advanced weaponry to Lebanon’s terror group, Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has historically received most all of its training, weaponry and financing from Iran and Syria. During the 2006 Israel–Hezbollah War, which was actually an Israeli proxy war with Iran, Hezbollah launched an arsenal of rockets into Israel, and to the outside observer, it appeared that Hezbollah had the upper hand in that conflict. Israel clearly held back, but that won’t happen again. The current Iranian buildup in Syria is much less subtle and poses an existential threat to Israel. Also, the proximity of Iranian forces and Iranian hardware make the shipment of advanced weapon supplies, particularly rockets to Lebanon and Hezbollah, that much easier.
As a current article in Newsweek accurately states: “… the real flashpoints are the potential for a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria and the transfer of precision-guided advanced weapons to Lebanese Hezbollah, both of which are stated redlines for Israel…The Israeli government has been clear that permanent Iranian bases in Syria, Iranian and Hezbollah forces on its northern border, the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah and missile production facilities in Lebanon are unacceptable.” Added to this is the ongoing presence of Russian troops and the Russian Iranian alliance.
Israel considers Iran the biggest threat in the region, and Iran’s stated goal of the elimination of Israel certainly puts Israel on alert. While neither side is overtly suggesting conflict at this time, the tension is there and the conditions are ripe for a miscalculation.