A US–Iran Confrontation Will Inevitably Include Israel

May 17, 2019

by: Alex Fishman

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A fighter squadron launching from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln for an air exercise as the striker group makes its way to the Middle East region.

Friday, 17 May 2019 | A rare selfie recently released to the world by the commander of Iran’s elite [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)] Al-Quds Force was a warning to the United States and its allies. The image, taken in Iraq, shows [IRGC Major General] Qasem Soleimani with two of his senior officers and sends a clear message: We, the Al-Quds commanders, are here in Iraq, the soft underbelly of your interests, and from here we will deal with you too.

In Israel, this message was taken very seriously. During recent discussions by the prime minister, the head of the National Security Council, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] chief of staff, the head of Military Intelligence and senior IDF General Staff officers, a picture emerged of an imminent confrontation between the Iranians and the Americans in the Persian Gulf.

At this point, it is difficult to assess the scale of such a clash, but Israel must prepare for a gradual escalation, in which it, too, will likely to find itself involved in some way.

It is fair to assume that the first military phase will focus on specific Iranian action against oil routes and oil producers in the Persian Gulf. Indeed, the Iranians have in recent days struck Saudi oil fields as well as their tankers at an oil terminal in the United Arab Emirates, either through their special forces or their Houthi allies in Yemen.

In the second stage of the escalation, the Iranians will apparently target the interests of the United States and its allies. And this [is] where Israel enters the picture. The Iranians will leave a direct confrontation with the US to the final stage.

According to Israeli assessments, there are at least four scenarios for a possible Iranian attack in Israel. The most likely scenario is the launch of missiles from Iraq.

The second scenario includes firing missiles and dispatching armed drones from Syria, alongside terrorist activity along the border fence between the two countries.

A third scenario, which is viewed as less likely, involves Hezbollah military activity from Lebanon. This is seen as a lesser threat, as Hezbollah is at present at one of its economic low points, and it is doubtful that its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, would give Israel the opportunity to best him.

The fourth possible scenario, and the least worrying from an Israeli perspective, is the use of terror attacks by Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip.

Each of these scenarios, however, could be folded into another on a different front, depending on the depth of the crisis.

Posted on May 17, 2019

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 15, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: MCS3 Garrett LaBarge/US Navy/flickr

Photo License: Flickr.com