In response to Iran’s launch of about 20 short-range artillery rockets from their bases in Syria, early Thursday Israeli warplanes made dozens of strikes on Iran’s military infrastructure in the war-torn country. The disproportionate response by Israel is seen as an indication of their resolve to push Iran out of Syria and back to Tehran, regardless of the threat of a more widespread war in the Middle East. Iran is portraying Thursday’s strikes as an attack on Syria as well as themselves. Israel is unapologetic and has declared its commitment to further disproportionate attacks.
Israel’s recent attacks are the largest ones they have directed at Syria in decades according to BBC. Iran has not claimed responsibility for the short-range artillery rockets that hit Israel. They describe the claim that the historic attacks were in retaliation as being based “on self-proclaimed, baseless pretexts.”
The U.S. and other countries view Iran’s presence in Syria as an exploitation of the country’s instability. Iran is seen as using the situation to establish itself as a greater military power in the region in the same way they have done in Lebanon. Israel wants to prevent that but also has a long-standing conflict with Iran that dates back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979. That revolution overthrew the monarchy in Iran and replaced it with the Islamic Republic. It also brought an end to what had been a friendly relationship between Iran and Israel and triggered their ongoing conflict. The two have never fought a war, but fears that may change in the near future are increasing.
Iran is decrying Thursday’s attacks as a “blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty” and says it supports Syria’s “right to defend itself” according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Their forces in Syria support President Bashar al-Asaad. They are allied with Russia in efforts to fight off U.S.-backed rebels and Islamic militants. Iran is as unapologetic as Israel, voicing a refusal to “disarm ourselves against our enemies.” It’s likely that they will strike back after assessing the damage and then formulating a strategy. Whatever their next move, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has promised another heavy response, saying the Iranians “have to remember, if for us it’s raining, it will be a flood for them.”