Omri Ceren writes from The Israel Project with this backgrounder for journalists. He has folded data derived from loads of sources — I’ve deleted the 24 alphabetized footnotes — into the message. I’d add solely that The New York Times has simply reported: “Later Saturday morning, clashes appeared to be continuing. There were new Israeli airstrikes around the capital, Damascus, according to Syrian state media and Damascus residents.” Omri writes:
Overnight Iran launched its first direct navy operation in opposition to Israel, dispatching a drone commanded from the Tiyas Airbase in Syria’s central Homs area.
The Israelis used an Apache helicopter to intercept and down the drone, then despatched 4 jets to destroy the command heart (an Israeli navy spokesperson confirmed “accurate hits of Iranian UAV control facility”). One of the Israeli F-16s was deserted by its pilots over Israel, amid what the Israelis describe as “massive Syrian anti-air fire.” Syrian anti-plane hearth reached Israeli territory, triggering prolonged emergency actions in Israel’s northern communities.
Iran and its proxies had been escalating their threats to assault Israel over the previous few weeks. Hezbollah threatened to assault Israel for a spread of causes, from power useful resource disputes to the Israelis constructing a border fence. Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, one of many entrance-runners to be the following Iranian Supreme Leader, toured the Israeli-Lebanese border and boasted about operations to safe “Jerusalem’s liberation.”
A few issues to look at:
(1) Military — Iran and its proxies have structured their forces in Syria and Lebanon to ensure mass casualties throughout their subsequent battle with Israel — In Syria, Hezbollah says it has 10,000 fighters able to assault Israel and to create a single entrance throughout all of Israel’s north and northeast. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has reworked lots of of villages into “military strongholds,” in response to the AP, successfully conscripting human shields who will develop into civilian casualties blamed on Israel, in response to the NYT. They’ve stockpiled roughly 150,000 rockets and missiles, permitting them to saturation bomb Israeli inhabitants facilities with 1,500 rockets and missiles per day for over three months, and Hezbollah chief Nasrallah says the group will use these projectiles in opposition to Israel’s civilian nuclear installations and chemical amenities, triggering tens of 1000’s of casualties. Hezbollah leaders additionally say their Syrian battle expertise will permit them to launch a floor invasion of Israel, in half via superior hardened navy tunnel infrastructure.
(2) DC politics and coverage — The exchanges contact nuclear and non-nuclear Iran points — On nuclear, current reviews confirmed that elements of the windfall Iran obtained from the nuclear deal flowed to Hezbollah. On non-nuclear, the Trump administration this month focused Hezbollah with sanctions. Differing proposals to fold missile restrictions into the nuclear deal are on the core of the talk over President Trump’s request for Congress and Europe to “fix” the deal.
Omri provides this be aware by way of Twitter.
The Israelis say the navy drone utilized by Iran in final evening’s assault was extremely subtle and emulated Western expertise. Somehow in the previous few years the Iranians bought the respiratory room, assets, and information to construct and deploy these items. https://t.co/xQvTTv700u
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) February 10, 2018