Escalations between Israel and Iran are sparking concern over a deepening Middle Eastern crisis that is unfolding in Syria. An age-old rivalry between the two nations could lead to a large scale war if the escalations continue.
On May 9th, 2018 Iranian forces in Syria launched missiles into the Golan Heights explicitly targeting forward positions of the Israeli military. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, stated that Israel responded to the attack and that the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted several of the rockets. The Col. Said that he was not aware of any casualties and the damage caused by the strikes was minimal.
If Iran is confirmed to be the behind the missiles strikes against Israel, it will mark the first time that Iran has directly carried out missile strikes against Israel. Previously, Iran has carried out attacks against Israel; however, Iran typically uses a proxy.
The Israeli military responded to the situation and stated that it “views this event with great severity and remains prepared for a wide variety of scenarios.”
After the Iranian strikes, which originated from within Syria, Israel launched a barrage of missiles against Iranian forces within Syria. The Syrian state news agency reported that the country’s air defense systems responded to at least two waves of strikes from Israel.
The escalation comes after weeks of rising tensions between the two foes; Iran and Israel. The strikes and countermeasures led to immediate calls for restraint from Russia, France, and Germany;
“The escalation of the last hours shows us that it’s really about war and peace,” warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Israeli raids against Iran are said to have killed twenty-three fighters in what is being called the largest Israeli military operation in recent years.
Israel’s U.N. ambassador is calling on the U.N. Security Council and the Secretary-General to condemn Iran’s missile attacks against Israeli-forces and demand that Tehran removes it militarized presence from Syria.
Danny Danon said in letters to the council and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres that “the international community must not stand idly by while a tyrannical regime attacks a sovereign nation and continues to threaten the very existence of a member-state of the United Nations.”
Danon said, “Israel is not interested in escalation, but under no circumstances will we allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria whose purpose is to attack Israel and to deteriorate an already fragile situation in the region.”
The UN Security Council which is deeply divided on the aforementioned Middle Eastern crisis, especially in regards to Syria is not expected to issue a statement; also, no council member has asked for a meeting on the missile attacks against Israel and Syria. However, the Secretary-General Guterres has urged “an immediate halt to all hostile acts” to avoid “a new conflagration” in the Middle East.