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Tensions in the Middle East are escalating as Iran issues a stern warning in response to an alleged Israeli missile strike in Syria.
The strike, which targeted the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus, home to various foreign embassies, including Iran’s, has fueled concerns amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza and regional attacks involving Iran and its proxies.
The Alleged Israeli Strike
Syrian authorities report that the missile strike on the Mezzeh neighborhood originated from the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
Attack Hit Deputy Chief of the Quds Force intelligence
The attack resulted in casualties, including Hojjatollah Omidvar, described as a deputy chief of the Quds Force intelligence unit in Syria, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for foreign operations.
Four More Advisors Lost Lives
Additionally, four military advisers, Ali Aghazadeh, Hossein Mohammadi, Saeed Karimi, and Mohammad Amin Samadi, lost their lives while in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanaani, declared that Israel’s actions against the Iranian government would not go unanswered.
Israel Acting in “Opposition to Peace”
He emphasized that Tehran would respond in its own way, accusing the Israeli government of acting in opposition to peace. Israel traditionally refrains from commenting on international media reports concerning alleged attacks.
Regional Spillover Concerns
Fears are mounting that the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iranian-backed group Hamas, which triggered the October 7 attack on southern Israel, may spill over throughout the region.
Recent Iranian attacks on Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria indicate a shift in Tehran’s approach to projecting power in the Middle East.
Avi Melamed, a former Israeli Intelligence Official and regional analyst, suggests that Iran’s recent attacks raise questions about its strategy.
These actions, although seemingly aggressive, have not yielded the expected benefits and, in some cases, have created more problems than solutions.
The attack by Islamabad on Iranian territory was particularly noteworthy, as it marked the first openly credited attack on Iran’s soil by a sovereign military in years.
Violations of Sovereignty
Iran’s strikes on Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria have prompted concerns about violations of national sovereignty.
Iraq, for instance, summoned Tehran’s ambassador in protest over the violation of its sovereignty.
These actions contribute to an international perception of Iran as an aggressive and unstable state using violence to achieve its objectives.
Melamed notes that Iran’s incursions into neighboring nations divert international attention away from the situation in Gaza, focusing it instead on Iran’s regional aggression, both directly and through its proxies, such as the Houthis.
The international community is increasingly viewing Iran as an aggressor with a propensity for using violence to further its goals.
These developments have implications not only for regional stability but also for global security.
The United States and the United Kingdom recently launched strikes in Yemen in response to attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea.
Tehran condemned these strikes as a “declaration of war against the Yemeni people,” further exacerbating tensions in the region.
As the situation unfolds, concerns persist about the potential for further escalation and its impact on the already volatile Middle East.
Avi Melamed is a former Israeli intelligence official who went on to serve as deputy and then as senior Arab affairs adviser to Jerusalem Mayors Teddy Kollek and Ehud Olmert, operating as a negotiator during the first and second intifadas. He is the author of “Inside The Middle East — Entering A New Era,” and his latest docuseries, “The Seam Line,” available on the Izzy streaming platform, focuses on Jerusalem’s flashpoints and his work during the intifadas.
If you want to have a better understanding of the news and what really drives the unfolding events… Read the latest book of Avi Melamed,
INSIDE THE MIDDLE EAST | ENTERING A NEW ERA, available now >>>
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