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Does Israel plan to defy Iran’s hegemony in Iraq like Syria?

Sunday 20/January/2019 - 12:40 PM
Sada El Balad
Rabea Yehea -Sada El-Balad
Over the last few hours، Israel has hinted at the possibility of striking Iranian targets inside Iraq، especially the Tehran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)، causing a state of uncertainty reflected by the Israeli media، which indicated that Washington informed Baghdad that it would not oppose Israel's attacks against Iran.

During the last few months، Israel faced a crisis، especially following the shooting down of the Russian spy Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft off the Syrian city of Latakia in September 2018. 

Russia has officially laid the blame for the deaths of the 15 personnel on board with Israel and thus، strengthened its defense systems in Syria creating a new restrictions on Israel’s activities there.

Since last October، the Israeli raids against Syria have been suspended، although the recent weeks witnessed many reports of Israeli raids to be waged again against Iranian targets in Syria، in addition to the resumption of joint coordination between Moscow and Tel Aviv on military operations in Syria، in order to prevent any frictions between the two forces.

Israeli media outlets have reported on Saturday a new Russian warning to Israel، calling on it not to target Damascus International Airport، as Russian companies have already begun the development works for the airport and its surrounding areas in light coordination with the Syrian authorities.

The Israeli forces were informed that Russia will not allow any raids against the International Airport of Damascus and its surroundings.

Repeated reports of restrictions on the Israeli air force in Syria are enough to annoy Israeli observers and analysts. 
According to a number of Israeli general and military experts at the army، such restrictions will reduce the number of military operations against the Iranian presence in Syria.

In this vein، Israel looks for another more flexible and less restrictive arena to face the Iranian hegemony، as the recent days have seen US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s talks، in which he had informed Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi that Washington will not intervene if Israel stroke Iranian sites belong to the Tehran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)، inside Iraq. 

According to Israeli mass media outlets، Pompeo cleared Washington’s responsibility concerning any Israeli attack against the PMF’s sites in Iraq، saying it would not intervene to stop it، meanwhile، the Iraqi prime minister expressed his dismay and told Pompeo that such a decision will result in serious repercussions against the region.

Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has previously signaled that Israel could attack suspected Iranian military assets in Iraq، as it has done with scores of airstrikes in war-torn Syria. 

Citing Iranian، Iraqi and Western sources، Reuters reported that Iran had transferred short-range ballistic missiles to Shi'ite allies in Iraq in recent months. Tehran and Baghdad formally denied that report. 
Israel sees in Iran's regional expansion an attempt to open up new fronts against it. Israel has repeatedly launched attacks in Syria to prevent any entrenchment of Iranian forces helping Damascus in the war. 

"We are certainly monitoring everything that is happening in Syria and، regarding Iranian threats، we are not limiting ourselves just to Syrian territory. This also needs to be clear،" Lieberman told a conference hosted and aired live by the Israel Television News Company. 


On Friday، the Jerusalem Post reported that Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi'ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes، Iranian، Iraqi and Western sources said.

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington، already heightened by US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

On the other hand، "News Israel" Hebrew website، reported that Iraq takes the Israeli threats to strike Iranian targets on its territory seriously، pointing out that the Iraqi Prime Minister has recently sent a message to US President Donald Trump calling on him to put restrictions on Israeli Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to the website، the Iraqi Prime Minister’s message confirmed that Netanyahu’s plan to strike Iranian targets inside Iraq serve a political goal، linked to the upcoming Knesset elections in April 2019، warning of serious repercussions on the region، including on US forces operating there.

Translated By Hassanain Tayea

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