Guest Post: Whats the Politics of Israel’s attack on the Iran ‘consulate in Syria?

A guest post by John Stringer:

I teach WWI, WWII and the Cold War. As an historian and classicist, I follow war, both historic and contemporary, with interest.

Motivations for the Iranian ‘consulate’ attack in Syria by Israel this week, might include:

1. A preemptive strike to take out a big group of important Iranian military leaders and thus hobble Iran’s near-future war-making capability.

(Ironically, no one talks about Syria these days, or despot Assad, where atrocities and genocide on a much bigger scale than in Gaza, has been ongoing). Remember the 2013 chemical weapon attacks (tests?) by Assad against his own people?

2. To actually provoke a wider war with Iran so this confrontation can be resolved once and for all, before Iran develops nukes.

3. To keep America in the fold with Israel (ie against Iran) because America is softening in support about the Israeli Gaza action. Any Iranian retaliation will almost certainly include an attack on American assets (Iranian proxies have done this recently, hitting US bases). They might even attack mainland America with cruise missiles, which would be foolish in the extreme (like Pearl Harbour). I think they’ll take out a big American symbol (Statue of Liberty? An aircraft carrier?) and attack US bases in Syria or elsewhere with drones.

4. To provoke an Iranian attack and draw the Saudi’s in on Israel’s side (the Saudis hate revolutionary Iran). ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ It would then be Israel/US/Saudi Arabia, a strong coalition to confront Iran. It might scare off the Arab States rising. Many fear Iran and might quietly support the confrontation. Many Arab States don’t want the 1979 theocratic Iranian Revolution spreading. The Saudis spend almost 8% GDP on military. Huge.

5. Netanyahu’s unity government might need a bigger enemy than Hamas to maintain government. Remember, Israel has been politically unstable in elections recently, very divided, like America, with deadlocked elections before Nety managed to form a Govt of most parties. If it fell, Israel would be very weak indeed, and her enemies would take advantage.


If as is likely, the Middle East conflict expands, watch Putin. Will his gaze move to the Baltics? Perhaps Estonia, where there is a 1/4 Russian minority (vestiges of Hitler’s 1930s re -amalgamations: Sudetenland, Rhineland, Danzig corridor, etc). The prime minister of Estonia is a middle aged woman whose parents were Kulaks, persecuted and murdered by Stalinist Russia -perhaps one of the worlds worst genocides. Expect her to fight hard, and evoke NATO.

The Poles would certainly act against Russia. Poland is ready for war (5% + GDP on military spending, well trained infantry, and now modernised with American hardware, not old Soviet). France is also awakening. Their main focus is nuclear and deterent rather than convention war. But that ramps up the threat of tactical nuclear threats.

If Trump is elected, as is most likely, in October, I suspect he will pull out of Ukraine war support, to force the Europeans to step up (especially Germany and France) and refocus US attention and treasure in the Pacific (China containment) and the Middle-East (the bigger threats to America).

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