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ANALYSIS: How will the looming war between Israel and Iran play out?

Experts say the region will see a surge in conflict and fighting within Syria and Lebanon as Tel Aviv seeks to confront Iran with the support of Trump.

A fully-fledged war between Israel and Iran is no longer a question of if, but when.

The confrontation has already begun with Israeli aircraft recently bombing a Syrian air base, which killed a number of Iranian military personnel, an act of defiance against Tehran.

There have been two rounds so far in this direct confrontation. The first took place on February 10, when Iran sent a drone over Israeli-controlled airspace and was downed. The second was when Israeli aircraft raided the T-4 base in Syria on April 9.

Many observers expect Iran to retaliate against Israel, as its silence about killing Iranians in Syria could be perceived as weakness and therefore encourage Tel Aviv to carry out more strikes against it, and perhaps encourage other parties to do the same.

When and where?

At present, Tehran is believed to mulling over what it deems to be an appropriate response to Israel. But the most important question in Iran and the international media is the timing and place of the response: when and where will it be?

VIEW:Iran must prove Israel is lying

Israeli military analysts have revealed that shipments of heavy Iranian weapons that were meant to be sent to Hezbollah in Lebanon are no longer crossing the Lebanese border and are remaining in Syria.

This has generated Israel’s belief that they are being used to strengthen Iran’s military presence in Syria and that Tehran’s response to Tel Aviv will be on Syrian territory.

Why is Iran hesitating in its response?

According to Iranian officials, Iran wants a confrontation that Tehran determines its framework, not Tel Aviv.

What can Israel fear?

The Israeli army supports Netanyahu in his current escalation of the conflict against Iran.

If Iran decides to push Hezbollah to the battlefield, the party will try to use its arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets

But at this time, according to analysts, Israel is prepared better than before to exploit the exhaustion of Hezbollah forces so that fighting on the ground in Lebanon does not come at a heavy price.

Pompeo’s support for Israel

In reference to the extent of US support for the Israeli government, a Haaretz writer recently wrote in an analysis piece: “One might think that if US Secretary of State Pompeo could only have stayed in Israel a few more hours, they'd have suggested he clamber into a cockpit and fire some missiles himself.”

Experts say the region will see a surge in conflict and fighting within Syria and Lebanon as Tel Aviv seeks to confront Iran with the support of Trump.

All the while, a rare series of events has taken place, that many may perceive as a rare coincidence: The attack on the T-4 base, the attack on a base in the countryside of Hama, Netanyahu's presentation of Iran’s secret nuclear program files and Morocco severing relations with Tehran.

Hezbollah and a ‘war against genuine enemies’

In a speech on May 1, Hezbollah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said that "the war in Syria with proxies is coming to an end, and the second war with the genuine enemies may soon begin," alluding to a confrontation with Israel and wanted to say that the war and the United States after he would end a war with their agents, armed Syrian opposition groups.

It is certain that Iran's implementation of any military action against Israel through Lebanese territory means dragging Beirut into a devastating war similar to that of July 2006, which will cost Hezbollah a lot, both politically and militarily.

Why is Syria the most suitable to respond?

The Syrian response is more logical. Syria has tens of thousands of fighters affiliated with Iran, and the Russian presence will limit any Israeli escalation against the Syrian regime or against the bases of the Syrian army, in which Russian advisers are present.

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Last Update: Sunday, 6 May 2018 KSA 11:58 - GMT 08:58
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