Iran & Israel Engage Each Other Militarily - Noga Tarnopolsky and Nabih Bulos
An Iranian drone incursion into Israel early Saturday spiraled into a major confrontation that included the downing of an Israeli fighter jet and an extensive attack on Iranian military assets in Syria.
(Los Angeles Times)
Open War with Iran Has Begun - Ronen Zvulun
What happened in northern Israel on Saturday is the beginning of the overt and direct war between Israel and Iran. The infiltration and interception of an Iranian drone over Israel, the downing of an Israeli F-16 and Israel’s retaliatory strikes against Syrian and Iranian targets that followed, are apparently just the opening scenes of a potentially wider conflict that could erupt if Iran continues trying to fortify its presence in the new Syria.
This was long in the making. Years ago, the Iranians came to the rescue of Bashar Assad in Syria and, together with Russia, ensured his survival. The problem is that they haven’t left. On the contrary – even though Assad is today in control of the majority of Syria, Iran is staying put and trying to establish an even greater presence within the country. On Saturday, we saw how determined it is to do just that.
It is too early to tell what lesson Iran has learned from the clash on Saturday. On the one hand, it succeeded in infiltrating a drone into Israel, even though it was ultimately intercepted. Its ally Syria succeeded in shooting down an Israeli fighter jet. On the other hand, Israel carried out its most widespread bombings in Syria since it destroyed almost all of Syria’s air defenses in 1982.
Israel’s retaliation was important for two reasons – it needed to neutralize the Syrian batteries that were used to down the F-16, but also to exact a price from Iran by bombing the control center used to operate the drone as well as other Iranian targets in Syria – the nature of which we will likely learn over the coming days.
The question will be whether Israel succeeded in boosting its deterrence. That depends on what Iran decides to do next. Will it keep on building its presence in Syria? Will it attempt another violation of Israel’s sovereignty down the road?
While the downing of a fighter jet is a heavy blow to Israeli morale, it was not totally unexpected and needs to be viewed through the wider context of what has been going on for the last five years. Israel has carried out more than 100 strikes in Syria, and in war there are always wins and losses. The fact that a plane hasn’t been shot down until now is the real story and speaks volumes of the IAF’s superior capabilities.
Israel Destroyed a Significant Portion of Assad's Air Defense
Oubai Shahbandar, a fellow at the New America Foundation [said] "the Assad regime's military suffered a major blow as a result of Iran's military incursion. The Israeli airforce counterattack destroyed a significant portion of Assad's long-range SA-5 integrated air defense network outside Damascus."
(Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
Iran Setting Up Air Base outside Syrian City of Palmyra - Judah Ari Gross
An Israeli military official said the T-4 base is being used by Iran to transport advanced weaponry to Syria, Hizbullah, and Shiite militias in the region. "It is part of a process of a force build-up against Israel," he said.
(Times of Israel)
Iranians Pushing for New Status Quo in Syria - Ron Ben Yishai
The Iranian drone was launched from Tiyas military airbase (T-4), one of Syria's largest airfields, which is routinely used by the Russian Air Force as well as by Iranian agents.
The attack on the base needed to be carried out with surgical precision to avoid hitting any Russian military aircraft or personnel.
White House: Israel Has Right to Defend Itself
The balance sheet on the day of fighting with Iran and Syria was clear: Israel demonstrated its ability to defend its skies. It struck Iranian forces in Syria directly and exacted a price from Iran. It destroyed many Syrian SAM sites and left Damascus exposed to future attacks.
The writer, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, heads the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Nuclear Deal Linked to Iranian Gains in Syria - Jonathan S. Tobin
The conflict heating up on Israel's northern border is a direct consequence of the Iran nuclear deal.