With the threat of ISIS subsiding, Israel is becoming the new hostile threat in the Middle East.
According to The Jerusalem Post, an anonymous source revealed a disturbing plan by Israel. They vow to destroy any and all Iranian facilities within 40 kilometers’ of Israel’s own Golan Heights.
The discovery was made after Syrian President Bashar Assad made a surprise visit to Russia recently. During the meeting, President Assad asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to deliver a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The message, which was reportedly delivered, was that Damascus was willing to establish a demilitarized zone of about 40 kilometers on the border of Golan Heights as long as Israel agreed not to remove President Assad from power. Reportedly Prime Minister Netanyahu was willing to accept the deal, but would not be swayed from eliminating Iran and the political militants known as Hezbollah.
The interesting dilemma here is that Israel sees President Assad as an enemy by association, according to the anonymous source. President Assad is seen by Israel as a president of the Alawite community. Alawites are a minority group of Shi’ite Muslims based in Syria that has received support from Iran for many years.
The perceived threat by Israel is that Iran could be using its support to help establish political footholds in neighboring countries to further its power, Hezbollah’s rise to power in Lebanon is one example.
Israel, fearing that Iran is gaining influence and power in Syria and Lebanon, has resorted to aggressive and hostile actions to combat this growing threat. This has resulted in a proxy war between Iran and Israel as they fight for dominance over the neighboring countries.
This hostile conflict between the two nations has been waging for many years. It temporarily subsided as many of the Middle Eastern nations were forced to deal with the mutual threat of ISIS which was laying claim to large swaths of territory and killing many many people of all nationalities.
But with ISIS suffering major defeats at the hands of US-led coalition forces and Russian backed forces, there exists a power vacuum that many nations are hoping to fill, once again resulting in Iran being pitted against Israel in a continuation of the conflict.
During the fighting against ISIS Israel threatened to bomb President Assad’s palace. Syria responded with threats of “dangerous repercussions” should Israel conduct strikes against Syrian positions. Though heated, none of these arguments resulted in major action.
This proxy war could also inflate into a much larger conflict given that the US has allied with Israel and Russia is backing Iran. With ISIS in the mix, both superpowers have been able to focus their efforts on a mutual enemy, but with the terrorists fleeing into the shadows they might find themselves at odds as their smaller partners go toe to toe.
Iran is trying to build a potent influence in the Middle East. Is Israel right in attempting to diminish Iran’s abilities in the region?
The rich oil fields left behind by ISIS forces are also likely adding fuel to the fire as many nations could be hoping to profit from the millions of dollars in revenue these areas would bring.
It’s unclear how the US would respond to an all-out war should Russia chose to get more heavily involved in Iran’s rise to power. It would be tragic to see American forces being forced to remain in the area, not to quell a rising terrorist threat, but to help the locals settle their differences, which historically has not gone well.