On Wednesday night, Iranian forces in southern Syria launched 20 rockets at Israel in the Golan Heights. Israel, J.E. Dyer reports at Liberty Unyielding, now appears to have launched a counter operation, whose goal is probably to significantly disable Iranian capabilities in Syria. The scope of the targeting, just in the first few hours, indicates a broad-scale, preemptive interdiction.
This operations quick-look will probably be overtaken by events within 24 hours. What is important to establish now is the apparent character of the operation. In my post on the last Israeli strike, on 8 May, I concluded that if Iran didn’t pull in her horns in Syria, Israel would keep the preemptive interdiction going. That looks like what’s happening.
A couple of political-level notes to bound our expectations. One, Netanyahu returned from a very brief trip to Moscow just before the operation was launched. We can read this to mean that he conferred with the Russians and has a (presumably limited) charter from them for this operation.
Interestingly, in that regard, there was little indication at the outset that the IDF was taking the precautions we would expect if Israel weren’t sure what Russia’s posture would be. In a more operationally uncertain environment, I would have expected Israel to concentrate initially on blitzing the Syrian air defense system to completely neutralize it. That wasn’t happening in the first couple of hours. Israel appeared willing, at that point, to deal with Syrian responses as they occurred.
“It was after the Syrian air defense system started trying to engage Israeli platforms that we began to see reports of Israel attacking Syrian air defense sites. In other words, Israel waited to gauge what Assad was going to do, and then attacked the regime air defense systems,” Dyer explains. “That suggests the IDF doesn’t expect to have to contend with Russian weapons. That particular expectation simplifies the combat environment, and gave Israel the latitude to respond rather than acting preemptively against the Syrian air defenses.”
BREAKING: Video of projectiles being launched from Syria toward Israeli targets moments ago. Sirens have sounded in the Golan Heights. Explosions also heard in the Golan region in the past few minutes. pic.twitter.com/WHexWfgXY8
— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) May 9, 2018
Retweeted S. Rifai (@THE_47th):
— أحمد القضماني (@a7madan) May 10, 2018
Here’s more video:
No one was hurt in Iran’s strike which came shortly after President Trump announced his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
Dyer has more — much more — here.
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