The attacks between both countries add to a long list of aggressions that threaten to destabilize the region
At dawn on May 10, up to 20 missiles were launched at military targets in the Golan Heights, in Israel's territory. Reports from the State of Israel indicated that the attack came from Syria and was perpetrated by Iranian forces. Thanks to Israel's anti-aircraft defense, the assault did not leave victims or material damage.
Leer en español: ¿Por qué Israel e Irán se están bombardeando?
In response, shortly thereafter, the Israeli air force bombed several positions in Syria with the presence of the Iranian army, including a military base. According to Reuters, witnesses in Damascus, Syrian capital, reported seeing flashes in the sky, corresponding to the deployment of the anti-missile defense system. However, the Syrian government confirmed that the onslaught of Israel left 15 dead.
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Minister of Defense, said that all traces of Syrian presence have become a military target for Israeli forces. He also noted that the attacks respond to a deterrence to reduce violence. "I hope we have finished this chapter and everyone has understood the message," said the Minister.
Why the bombings between the two countries?
The list of aggressions between these countries is long and dates from the Iranian Revolution. In 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini imposed his Islamist movement and deposed the then leader of the country, Shah Mohammad Pahlavi, Iran went from being an ally to an enemy of the United States. The Ayatollah also declared himself against the interests of Israel in the region.
On repeated occasions, Israel and the United States have accused the Islamist regime of financing terrorist groups in the Middle East, including Hamas. This organization has pretensions to establish an independent Arab State (Palestine) with the borders that were defined after the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.
However, since 2012 Iran has suspended support for Hamas after the support they gave to the Muslim Brotherhood, an ultra-conservative Egyptian organization that was influencing Syria.
Another of the major points of dispute between the two countries is Iranian support for Hezbollah, an organization considered terrorist by several Western countries founded after the Israeli intervention in Lebanon in 1982. In 2006 Hezbollah attacked a caravan of Israeli soldiers, which triggered in the War of Lebanon. The conflict ended with considerable casualties for the Lebanese side and the expansion of the Israeli borders, which were then restored with the help of the United Nations.
The murder of four Iranian nuclear physicists between 2010 and 2012 was also the subject of tensions between both countries and the Israeli allies. Considering the debate that has led to the development of the nuclear program in Iran, this case is of special attention. Following the investigations into the crimes, the captured indicated that the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom would be responsible.
Even Israel's current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, supported President Donald Trump's statements by considering Iran as a regime that sponsors terrorism. Among Israel's concerns is that research or nuclear development should not be allowed to Iran, as a measure to prevent the creation of weapons of mass destruction.
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With the development of the Civil War in Syria, Israel has raided more than 100 times with the aim of attacking Iranian weapons shipments to groups like Hezbollah. On repeated occasions, including the most recent attacks, they have also bombed Iranian infrastructure in Syria, with the excuse of preventing the Arab country's influence from being strengthened in the vicinity of Israel.
The situation is not optimal in the Middle East. The withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement with Iran, coupled with the support of this decision by Israel and the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, mean a political and economic fragility that is gradually disintegrating. The United States, the European Union and other powers involved in the development of the events cannot pretend to fix the situation from warlike actions, but neither the negotiation with Russia and Syria seems to be an option, given the tension between both blocks.
There is no way to predict what will happen in the coming months, but it is clear that a first step is the protection of Iran's nuclear pact, which generates the confidence that the Obama administration had accumulated since 2015 with the signing of the pact. If this agreement survives it is likely that the tension decreases and the doors open for the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East.
Latin American Post | Iván Parada Hernández
Translated from "¿Por qué Israel e Irán se están bombardeando?"