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Israel and Iran: Inching Toward Armed Conflict

Israel and Iran: Inching Toward Armed Conflict

Israel and Iran: Inching Toward Armed Conflict

Can you hear the drumbeat of war? It is getting louder. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on the final day of the Munich Security Conference that Israel might go a step beyond striking the proxy powers and instead take direct action against Iran. He was especially concerned about the possibility of a land bridge stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea. According to the PM, Iran represents an existential threat and its permanent military presence in Syria is unacceptable to Israel.

The Feb. 10 incursion of what Israel called an Iranian drone from Syria into Israeli airspace has spiraled into a major fight, resulting in the downing of an Israeli jet and a broad wave of strikes against military targets in Syria alleged to be linked to Iran. This was the first time Israel has used force directly against Iran.

If Iran itself is attacked, its sites related to its nuclear program will top the list of the prime targets for Israel’s F-35, F-15, F-16, and Kfir fighters, drones, and intermediate-range Jericho missiles. There are different routes they could take, but all of them would require flying through the airspaces of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, or Turkey. None of these Muslim countries will openly allow Israel to use their airspace, but anti-Iran sentiments are strong in the Sunni-dominated Arab states. Some of them might be willing to look the other way. A clandestine agreement to tacitly allow Israeli aircraft to cross their air space is entirely possible. Anger could be vented publicly once the mission has been completed.

Iraq is not focused on monitoring its airspace – it has many other problems to deal with and Israel could take advantage of that. The route through Iraq looks like it might be the best option.

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