Friday, October 5, 2018

The Hidden Message of Iran’s Syria Strikes: A View From Israel

Atlantic Council

“An unusual strategic event took place this week in the Middle East. For the second time in over a year, Iran fired ballistic missiles on targets in Syria, a country that borders Israel.

The first Israeli reports were dramatic. This was because of an erroneous initial report that Iran used Shahab-3 missiles with a 800 miles (1,280 km) range, which would be capable of reaching targets within Israel. The official Iranian announcement that it fired Zolfaqar missiles with a much shorter range—which wouldn’t be capable of reaching Israel—immediately lowered the threat and fear threshold.”
 Zolfaqar missiles
Did Israel intentionally and falsely report the Shahab was used?  Keeping the domestic populace in terror?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who never misses an opportunity to respond in the strongest terms—usually within hours—to any Iranian testing of its ballistic missile capabilities, chose a relatively muted response.

Instead, the prime minister focused on reports from Iran that one of the missiles was inscribed with the words, “death to Israel.” This prompted Netanyahu to comment: “Iran’s attempt to tie Israel to the terrorist attack in southern Iran is ridiculous. The fact that ‘death to Israel’ was written on the missiles launched at Syria proves everything.

Fear mongering and victimization reinforcement.

“Not a word was said about the Iranian threat which he is so fond of claiming, or the strategic meaning behind the firing of Iranian ballistic missiles on targets outside its own country. It’s worth noting that Netanyahu and the Israeli media used the term “terror attack” when discussing the incident in Ahvaz.

The Iranian decision to fire ballistic missiles was likely made by the highest political level. What may have made Iran’s strategic decision to fire ballistic missiles at another country easier is that both scenarios were a retaliation against clear aggression. From the Iranian perspective, this was merely a defensive action. Tehran wasn’t perceived as the initiator and the international community found it difficult to rebuff the defensive claim. This may in part explain the relatively moderate Israeli and US reactions.

The message of a defensive-deterrent use of conventional missiles comes to the forefront against the background of the intense diplomatic confrontation between Iran and the United States. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu view Iran’s testing of missiles that it carries out from time to time as a blatant violation of the JCPOA, though this is incorrect since  the tests aren't part of the nuclear accord. They both insist that Tehran completely dismantle its ballistic missiles program”

Trump and Netanyahu are outrageous in their demands. Simply outrageous.
Keeping in mind yesterday’s post - that reports on the fact the Obama administration deal, fulfilled by Trump, is a war makers bonanza!

The author of the Atlantic Council piece continues on with that Israel-centric point of view?
“it seems Israeli deterrence in Syria works and that Tehran isn’t eager to get caught up in an all-out confrontation with Israel. “

Or not?
”The Iranian firing of missiles on Syria could be seen as a form of communication by which non-verbal messages are transmitted to the other side. According to this interpretation, the strikes were carried out in a way that wouldn’t be perceived by Israel as a threat against Israeli targets, despite the “death to Israel” messaging.”

The missiles were a message... I can accept that. However, the message is not specifically just about Israel to my mind. And more about Iran messaging in general- we will take care of business. As needed.

"Tehran signaled this by using missiles that don’t have the range to hit Israel. This was also done by choosing a launching site that didn’t put Israel within range of the strikes. In both cases, the launches from Kermanshah to Syria meant that the missiles were on a geographic line to the Mediterranean Sea north of Syria—not on a direct line continuing southward to Israel. This reflects an internal syntax of strategy."
Or they didn’t need long range missiles to hit the intended targets? So they didn’t use them.
They used the missile that was needed.

Finally Shemuel Meir’s last sentence:

Nevertheless, the message are the missiles themselves. No longer are the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps missile testing—they are now firing on another state. Iran has crossed an invisible but very meaningful line.
As stated above- I see the message in the missile as well- Iran stated they will take care of business as needed. They exercised restraint and did what needed to get done- With their extremely precise missiles- 6 launched- 6 landed on target. That says alot. And Israel got that message. So did other nation states. Which may explain the muted Israeli response.

Another thought that crossed my mind?

The Iranian missile strikes coupled with the delivery of the S-300's? Did the combination of these two actions give Israel a moment's pause?

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