Are Israel and Iran heading to war?

Unlike Iran’s conventional military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reports directly to Iran’s fundamentalist supreme leader Ali Khameni, who calls for Israel’s destruction.

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News

US Defense Secretary James Mattis who hosted Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, warned of a direct conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria. The American defense chief believes that a war between Jerusalem and Tehran is “very likely,” since Iran continues its military buildup on Israel’s northern borders. Meanwhile, Liberman warned that if Iran strikes Tel Aviv, Israel will hit Tehran.

So are Israel and Iran heading to war? The Islamic revolution in 1979 transformed Iran from an ally to a fierce enemy of the Jewish state. Iran has for decades been waging a proxy war against Israel and the West through Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations. Hezbollah attacked Israel in 2006 and was responsible for the attack on US marines in Lebanon in 1983, the attack on the Israeli embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994. Iran’s preference for proxy wars stems from the Islamic Republic’s inferior military capabilities, preferring to avoid direct confrontations.

The Iranian military largely consists of obsolete Soviet weaponry. Israel’s modern air force is larger and qualitatively superior to Iran’s air force. However, Iran has an arsenal of thousands of missiles that could hit Israel. The Jewish state has multiple capabilities to strike Iran with conventional and unconventional weaponry.

Some experts believe that Iran’s military leaders are fully aware of Israel’s superior military and intelligence capabilities. However, the ideologically driven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is in charge of the Iranian military buildup in Syria. Unlike Iran’s conventional military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reports directly to Iran’s fundamentalist supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who calls for Israel’s destruction. Since the Islamist regime is more driven by ideology than rationality, a direct war between Israel and Iran could become a reality if Iran continues to threaten Israel from Lebanon and Syria. At the same time, the ayatollah regime likely seeks to avoid a full-scale conflict with the Jewish state that would jeopardize Iran’s exposed military assets in Syria.

Iran has 3 options

Iran vowed to respond to an alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian military base in Syria earlier this month. From a military point of view, Iran has three realistic military options towards Israel. Teheran could order a limited or more comprehensive Hezbollah attack on Israel. Iran could also send another drone armed with explosives into Israeli air space. Alternatively, Iran could launch a missile attack against the Jewish state. Israel’s response would be determined by the extent of the Iranian attack. Iranian missiles on Tel Aviv would unleash an unprecedented Israeli military response that Iranian leaders are likely seeking to avoid. The ball is in Iran’s court. However, Israel has already showed with deeds that it will extract a heavy price from enemies threatening the Jewish state.