The secrecy is unveiled: a race to destroy Iranian facilities in Syria


The IDF revealed on Tuesday that as of the beginning of 2017, more than 200 Iranian or pro-Iranian targets were attacked across Syria.

An entire system of pilots, officers, analysts, and officials has been working around the clock to execute the strikes.

The attacks included the dropping of 800 bombs and missiles by the Israeli Air Force—an amount that adds up to half used in a “real” war. Some were launched to long ranges. In almost all such operations that are meant to take place under the radar, all participants know very quickly or even in real time whose fist gave the punch, hundreds of kilometers from Israel.

And so, one of the purposes of these inter-war attacks is to send a message of power through the Middle Eastern arena, alongside establishing Israeli deterrence, postponing the next war and preventing Israel’s enemies from arming themselves with advanced weapons.

Behind heavy secrecy, that was lifted yesterday, the IDF has been trying to eradicate Iranian presence in Syria even at the cost of an incident that could trigger a war on the northern border. This agenda is led by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot who was the commander of the northern border in years when Hezbollah was growing stronger.

According to the IDF, the Iranian plan to establish its presence in Syria was discovered two years ago by intelligence officials. Back then, the Russian blitz on the rebels was strengthening Assad, and in Tehran leaders were already looking forward to what is to come after the war.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards concocted a long—range plan: the establishment of army bases, naval and air bases around Syria. These bases were supposed to include, according the the IDF, thousands of soldiers and local Shiite militias, faced as an army in from of the Zionist enemy.

The “Yamanite model” of this plan, which is already allowing the launching of missiles to Riyadh, is proving successful for the Iranians. They have an old-fashioned poor army, but advanced technologies and intelligence capabilities, alongside drones and an ambitious missile program.

The IDF’s recommendation for government officials was clear: destroying any Iranian move in the Syrian arena, without claiming responsibility. Secrecy worked up until February of this year. Then, circumstances lead to the surfacing of this secret confrontation, when an Iranian drone penetrated Israel and was shot down above Bik’at HaYarden by an Apache helicopter.

The IDF then openly attacked the T-4 base in the Tadmor region in Syria, from which the drone was launched. Shortly after that came an intensive 24 hours, when an Israeli F-16 was shot down over the Galilee by Syrian Anti-aircraft warfare.

The confrontation between Israel and Iran became public, violent and dangerous, and reached its climax when three months later over 50 Iranian targets were destroyed around Syria, in Operation House of Cards.

The excuse for this vast operation, of the largest scope since 1974, was the launching of 32 rockets towards the northern Golan Heights, most of which falling in Syrian territory and several intercepted by the Iron Dome.

Following the nightly commotion, the Quds Forces lead by Major General Qasem Soleimani stopped for assessment. However, it wa a short stop, and ever since then Tehran has been galloping through Syrian territory and trying to work its way around Israeli intelligence.

Evading tactics included trafficking weapons in civilian airplanes, entrenchment in the seam line between Syria and Iraq and acquiring Syrian knowledge about precision guided missiles.

With or without relation to all this, it was reported last night that fighter-jets bombed targets around Wadi al-‘Uyun in the Hema region in Syria. Syrian media blamed it on Israel.

Amir Hatami, Iranian Defence Minister, during a visit to DamascusAmir Hatami, Iranian Defence Minister, during a visit to Damascus

The IDF has a reason to be pleased regardless of its efforts against Iran: US forces have been pushing Iranians out of the 55 kilometer strip along the Syrian-Iraqi border around the Euphrates river. They are also more vigorously active against Iranian moves in the region.

However, Russia is competing with Tehran over reconstruction contracts for war-torn Syria, and have thus pushed Iranian forces to at least 80 kilometers from the Israeli border.

According to the IDF, they are “sometime performing these operations a few times a week, also throughout Cyber tools. The Iranian understand that they have poor infrastructure and an intelligence gap, and our response to their entrenchment in Syria has caught them a year to a year-and-a-half too early.

“Still”, said the IDF report, “Iraq is more important to Iran then Syria, since 64 percent of Iraqi population is Shiite, and they are thus organizing more militias there.”YNET

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