Iranian rockets fired during war maneuvers in 2006 (Photo Credit: Fars News/Reuters)

 

geopolitics-00806
  Vladimir  Gujaničić

Vladimir Gujaničić 01/25/2021

Between the ultimate goal that is “within reach” of Iran and its allies, Israel’s desire to slow it down, but also the inability to completely prevent it, it can be said that the game enters the very finish on Middle East.

The intensity of  conflict in all fields between Iran and Israel over the further projection of  policy of the two opposing states in the Middle East has intensified in recent months. The topic is, of course, the Iranian nuclear program. Following the assassination of a nuclear physicist, Iran has made it clear that uranium enrichment of up to 20 percent has begun, drawing a red line against further pressures. The basic question that arises here is whether Iran really wants to make nuclear weapons or is it just threatening to break the blockades that the West is imposing on it in the economic sphere? It should be reminded that the great powers (among them the USA and the EU) negotiated a nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, after which the sanctions against that country were lifted. The result was a rapid recovery of the Iranian economy and a significant improvement in the financial situation, which led to the spread of Iranian influence in the region. It turned out that, in the long and short term, non-nuclear Iran without sanctions for American and Israeli interests is more dangerous than Iran, which produces enriched uranium, which is why this game of cat and mouse continues.

The final stage Given that the Arab Spring project has failed to achieve its goals when it comes to Iran and the project behind the Axis of Resistance, and that Iran’s exit by land via the Abu Kamal border crossing has been secured, the outlines of a new Middle East are becoming increasingly common, more visible. Several American bases in Iraq and Syria are on the way to forming a new axis in the Middle East – Iran, Iraq, Syria and potentially Lebanon, and the Kurdish parastate across the Euphrates has no prospects of survival, but is still performing its function. The biggest fear of the realization of this project is certainly Israel, which is constantly trying to stop this project in the media, intelligence and military, still unsuccessful for now.

Iran’s influence on regional policy has never been greater. Expeditionary forces in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, a decades-old ally of the Syrian Arab Republic, and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, speak volumes about Iran’s strength in the event of a potential regional war. The threats made so far by the United States and Israel have not materialized, because all the calculations lead to one conclusion: Iran and its allies cannot be defeated in a conventional regional war. That is why America has switched to a strategy of maximum economic pressure and procrastination with the withdrawal of forces from Iraq. After several years, it is clear that the Iranian people could not fall to their knees like before Iraq, Yugoslavia or some other countries whose population, due to strong external pressure, turned mostly against their government. However, the strategy of “maximum pressure” has certainly left its mark on the population of Iran, one part of which has fallen into apathy due to this decades-long war that has no end in sight. Given that there is no military solution in the Middle East, we have reached the final phase where Iran is slowly but surely moving towards its goal.

Recently, photos were published of the construction of a large missile base “Imam Ali”, which is being built in the desert near the hub point Abu Kamal, where the land route of what they call the place where the “Axis of Resistance” meets passes. Also, Iranian companies in cooperation with Syrian state companies have started the construction of several thermal power plants in the coastal area and the reconstruction of the largest one in the province of Aleppo. The jobs are worth more than a billion and a half dollars.

Recently, the plan to build a railway that will stretch from Iran, through Iraq to the Syrian coast, was revived. Although the economic situation in the “Axis of Resistance” countries is not happy, and when we talk about Syria, it is almost desperate due to the war and many years of severe sanctions by Western countries, infrastructure projects seem to be progressing rapidly. Recent attacks by Israeli planes on Shiite militia positions controlled by Iran and the Syrian army have claimed several lives and caused minor material damage. Thus, Israel continued the continuity of attacks outside the zones of the powerful Syrian air defense, which has so far managed to repel larger raids and not allow access to enemy aircraft in the depths of the territory. In addition to the assassination of the Iranian nuclear physicist, Israel does not stop working in all fields where it can in order to direct poison arrows in the direction of Iran. Israel’s strategy  What is Israel’s long-term strategy? Israel was against the nuclear agreement because, in Netanyahu’s opinion, it gave Iran the means to implement its regional policy, while on the other hand, according to him, it must not be allowed Iran to make nuclear weapons. In other words, Iran should not be allowed to do anything. But the question is, can Israel prevent Iran if it is known that that country with its allies represents a powerful military factor in the Middle East?

  The answer is – no with this cards, that is why this situation is prolonging. A recent statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was sent to Israel with the message “that Israel is not in danger from the territory of Syria”, but on the other hand, several years ago, the Russians stressed that “they cannot influence the expulsion of Iran from Syria “. In other words, the expansion of the “Axis of Resistance” continues in the region, slowly but surely.

 

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Constructions of thermoplant in Latakia province by Iranian company

Syria and southern Lebanon are key to a potential war between Israel and Iran, as there are tens of thousands of short- and medium-range missiles on their territories. It is obvious that this is a long-term strategy of accumulating missile capacities until the enemy overpowers to such an extent that it finds itself in an inferior position. Israel certainly knows that. But what’s next?

The announced withdrawal of US troops by Donald Trump from Syria and Iraq would practically put a noose around Israel’s neck, but despite loud statements by the US president, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq is gradual, while US troops “guarding” Syrian oil via the Euphrates have not reduced their numbers. state. The truth is, as things unfold in Iraq, it is becoming clear that withdrawal from it is inevitable. American troops are stationed in three large bases and number about 2,500 soldiers. Shiite militias, numbering tens of thousands of people, have resumed a series of bomb attacks on American logistics convoys, which, by the way, are not transported by the American army, but by intermediaries.

From the beginning of 2020 until now, hundreds of units of equipment have been destroyed, but practically without any casualties for American soldiers within the fortified bases. Why is it so? In last year’s attack, the American air force hit the airport south of Baghdad, where the Shiite militia camp was located. It was a response to the deaths of several coalition soldiers and the wounding of dozens of them. This made it known to Shiite groups that the American aviation would always respond to further escalation of actions outside the destruction of convoys.

The reason Shiite militias do not use a strategy of total escalation of the conflict is the fragile economic and political situation in Iraq, which is consolidating with huge projects that the Iraqi government signs mostly with China, but also with many other countries in trade that can be called “oil for all”. Therefore, despite the desire to become completely sovereign, they must continue to play the game of cat and mouse with the old “ally”, whose minimal presence is proof that America wants to prolong the withdrawal as much as it can and keep Iran’s influence under control.

Between the ultimate goal, which is “within arm’s reach” of Iran and its allies, and Israel’s desire to slow it down (but also the impossibility to completely prevent it), the game enters the very finish. Many analysts believe that Israel will risk a potential regional conflict by attacking one of the plants. Due to the recent arrival of American B-52 bombers in the Middle East, Iran has started one of the largest military exercises to demonstrate its readiness to “set fire to the entire region”, if such an attack occurs. It remains to be seen who will make the next move.