Tensions in the Middle East are at a constant high. Israel launched missile attacks on Iranian targets in war-torn Syria in response to missiles sent to the Golan Heights. The “Who’s on first” style fire brigades bode the question: what’s next for the region? What is the history of Israel and Iran? Why are they in conflict?
Israel vs. Iran
Iran has made it clear about its feelings towards the “Zionist entity” and their desire for full removal of the Jewish State. Its long support of radical groups in the greater Middle East now finds itself practically in Israel’s north-eastern border as a consequence of Iranian involvement in Syria. The victory of the Assad regime is pivotal for the Iranians, as they see his rise as their regional opportunity for dominance in the region. Tehran’s eagerness to establish itself as a military power in Syria poses a huge fundamental threat to Israel.
As both countries – admittedly or not – are military powers, the entire world is urging caution. The two are on a fast collision course, irrespective of other players in the region. Russia for example, has turned a blind eye to Israeli use of Syrian airspace, as they do not see the interests conflicting. America’s rapidly diminishing diplomatic influence in Syria provides fodder for a strong Israeli presence.
Escalation of Conflict
What are the red lines? Israel considers transfer of weaponry by Iran to Hezbollah members in Lebanon to be particularly threatening. The two have officially been at war since 2006. Main concerns include acute long-range missiles, anti-ship and anti-armor weaponry reaching the Shi’a forces.
The scope of Iranian influence is becoming increasingly established in Syria. Targets neutralized by Israeli military forces included Iranian Revolutionary Guard installations, not pro-Iran militants or any other proxy force. Bilateral talks between Iran and Israel are highly unlikely. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, partnership between the two countries dwindled to a standstill.