The Israeli-Iranian Escalation of the Hidden War: Iran has moved its bases and fortifications underground in Syria.

By Elijah J. Magnier:  

In a tumultuous and intensifying conflict that remains unreported mainly on the world stage, the clash between Israel and Iran has reached a critical juncture, marked by unabated attacks and a firm rejection of mediation efforts. As tensions between the two Middle Eastern powerhouses continue to rise, a closer look reveals a web of covert operations and strategic manoeuvres reshaping the regional landscape. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent claim linking Iran to a series of aggressive attacks on Israeli territory has more than political significance. The complex dynamic between the two nations has escalated beyond proxy skirmishes, with Iran opting to retaliate against Israeli strikes in Syria through asymmetric tactics, lone-wolf attacks and operations designed to inflict pain on the Israeli occupation. At the same time, Iran’s unwavering support for Palestinian resistance groups is underscored by the covert provision of advanced weaponry, effectively levelling the playing field in the asymmetric confrontation. 

The Israeli military has not stopped targeting Syrian sites to counter Iranian influence, culminating in a recent decisive strike. For the first time, Israel destroyed nearly two million litres of Iranian gasoline stored in Syria – a critical source of oil amid Western sanctions. However, despite Israel’s persistent air campaigns against Iranian interests in Syria, the much-vaunted expectation of eradicating Iran’s foothold in the region has repeatedly faltered, inadvertently consolidating Iranian influence within Syria’s national security apparatus. 

Iran’s strategic success in establishing a continuous front from Palestine through Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen belies the initial expectations of regional actors. The failures of the Syrian war, coupled with geopolitical shifts such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the rise of ISIS, inadvertently propelled Iran’s influence to unprecedented heights, alarming Western powers and posing a lasting challenge to Israel’s security paradigm. As a result, Iran’s strategic footprint extends far beyond its borders, an unintended consequence of past regional interventions. 

Its unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause reinforces Iran’s position, which it considers central to its identity and principles. By providing various forms of support to Palestinian organisations and transferring vital expertise and weapons, Iran is positioning itself as a powerful ally of the Palestinian resistance movement, intensifying the clashes in the Palestinian territories. Israel’s entrenched opposition to Palestinian statehood and continued occupation plays into Iran’s hands, strengthening its resolve to champion the Palestinian cause and sustaining its multifaceted support.

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