The Most Intensive Military Confrontation between Israel and Iran: What Are the Implications?
The tension between Israel and Syria, which is said to be the most intensive military confrontation since the civil war began in Syria in 2011, continues to dominate the world’s attention. Below let us provide a brief review on the sequence of the developments of the events, refer to the reactions of the main international actors and make some predictions how it can affect the situation in Syria in the future.
To remind, on May 10, Israeli missiles struck dozens of Iran-linked military targets in Syria. As said, it was in response to the Iranian rocket strikes in the Golan Heights. According to the Israeli sources it was the first time that Iranian forces have fired directly on Israeli troops. After the attacks, Iran’s foreign ministry, Bahram Qasemi, came up with the statement calling attacks of Israel breach of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, noting that Syria has the right to defend itself "against the aggressors," Independent reports. In its turn Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted: "They need to remember the saying that if it rains on us, it'll storm on them. I hope we've finished this episode and everyone understood," Financial Express reports.
The tensions escalated in the Middle East two days after the US President Donald Trump declared about the US exit from the Iran nuclear deal. After the exit of the deal, the US Treasury Department announced a new set of sanctions against Iran. Acting jointly with the United Arab Emirates, the US introduced new sanctions on a financing network and accused the country’s central bank of helping funnel U.S. dollars to the blacklisted elite military unit known as the Quds Force, the Wall Street Journal reports.
On the contrary, Russia stayed determinant to cooperate with Iran. In particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said the deal between Iran, Russia and other members of the Moscow-dominated Eurasian Economic Union is set to be signed next week. In addition, the Russian official noted that the US move will make Russia and the European countries closer as president of Russia is having discussions with European leaders on the issue, ABC News reports.
As for the Iran-Israel tension the official statement by Russia stated that Israeli strikes marked a dangerous escalation and urged both Israel and Iran to avoid provoking each other, while the White House swiftly condemned Iran's "provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens" and expressed strong support for "Israel's right to act in self-defence," Independent reports.
The UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, called for an immediate halt to "all hostile acts" to avoid "a new conflagration" in the Middle East, CBC News reports, while the European Union called reports about Iranian strikes against Israeli army posts from inside Syria "extremely worrying" and said Israel had the right to defend itself, Independent reports.
The direct confrontation of Iran and Israel in Syria will, unfortunately, further deteriorate the situation on the ground, drawing further dividing lines between the main players involved. In addition, the conflict of interests also raises the possibility of new confrontations, which cannot but cause new human casualties and sufferings, making Syrian people again become the victims of various political interests.
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