The United States and Israel are stepping up their secret war against Iran and its allies
In recent weeks, the United States and Israel have carried out a series of strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and elsewhere, paving the way for a dangerous escalation of conflict in the Middle East.
On Tuesday, Israel launched its 24th strike against Syria this year, hitting Aleppo International Airport, damaging the runway and knocking the airport out of service. Warehouses belonging to Iran-linked militias and other compounds were also hit. Syrian state media said air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles, shooting down several. It was the second attack in a week against civilian airports. On September 1, Israel struck Damascus airport, months after a previous attack, as well as the airstrip in Aleppo, forcing an Iranian plane attempting to land to turn back.
State media also reported Israeli airstrikes from the west near the coastal city of Latakia, which the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said damaged a depot of weapons stockpiling Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles in Masyaf and whose production was overseen by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Masyaf has been the target of previous strikes, one of which injured 14 civilians. Other strikes on Damascus and Tartous killed three Syrian soldiers, according to reports.
Israeli strikes are generally unhindered by the Russian air defense system in Syria, although they sometimes provoke protests from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The New York Times reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last year banned Iranian forces from attacking Israel from Syrian soil, a ban in place for three years, to limit tensions between the two countries.
Israel’s strikes are aimed at disrupting Iran’s ability to send weapons to its allies in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, with the United States providing intelligence and military support to Israel. The attacks on Masyaf come after Russia withdrew its S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Syria to a Russian port near Crimea, according to Israeli satellite images, to bolster air defenses against Ukraine. The most advanced S-400 battery remains in Syria.
On Wednesday, Ram Ben Barak, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, threatened regarding the attack on Aleppo International Airport: “The attack meant that some planes could not land and that he message was sent to Assad: If planes intended to encourage terrorism land, Syria’s transport capacity will be affected.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said Israel’s repeated airstrikes on civilian infrastructure constituted war crimes for which Israel should be held accountable.
The latest airstrikes come amid three days of US airstrikes, authorized by President Joe Biden, on the Ayyash depot in the eastern province of Deir el-Zor on August 24. While the US claimed there were no casualties, a local website reported that IRGC-backed Afghan Fatimeyoun Brigades control the Ayyash compound and that 10 militiamen were killed and at least three others injured.
The US said the strikes were in response to rocket and drone attacks on three US-led coalition bases in Syria launched by groups linked to the IRGC in Iraq: the attack on the garrison from al-Tanf on Syria’s southern border with Iraq and Jordan was launched from Iraq, the second on the Mission Support Green Village, east of the Euphrates in the countryside of Deir el- Zor, which provides “protection” for its Kurdish allies, and the third on the Mission Support Site Conoco, in northeastern Syria, on August 15. The strikes follow the US bombardment in June of facilities in Iraq and Syria, according to Washington, used by Iran-backed militias to attack the United States and its proxies in Syria.
Since early 2016, the United States has stationed troops in al-Tanf, located near the strategically important Baghdad-Damascus main highway, and the green village, supposedly to counter the threat from the Islamic State. It is a challenge to Syria, which considers the base a flagrant violation of its sovereignty. Some 900 American soldiers are stationed in Syria, along with American contractors.
The United States and its regional allies have set up a network of unmanned drones aimed at gathering intelligence information and reducing Iranian activity in Middle Eastern waters. US Navy Task Force 59 operates 23ft Saildrone Explorer drones in the Red Sea with cameras that can take 360 degree photos, while Task Force 153 patrols the Gulf of Aden, as the Pentagon diverts some of its forces to the Far East.
The Pentagon aims to have 100 naval drones in operation by next summer with additional countries joining the task force, including possibly Kuwait and Israel. This has led to two incidents in the past two weeks where the US has claimed Iranian forces attempted to seize drones.
The upsurge in US and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets comes as Washington says Iran’s latest proposed text changes to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, unilaterally abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018, will not were “not constructive”. Tehran, desperate to get rid of the increasingly strict sanctions that have destroyed its economy, had largely withdrawn its preconditions for a deal, including that the United States withdraw its designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
The United States and its European allies are using their tried and tested ally, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to criticize and intimidate Iran over its nuclear program, pushing through a resolution in June censuring the Iran for its alleged lack of cooperation with the IAEA. . Director Rafael Grossi said if that doesn’t change in the next three or four weeks, “it would be a fatal blow” to the relaunch of the nuclear deal, which the Europeans had backed but which now appears to have been abandoned by the Biden administration and the European Union (EU) under pressure from Washington.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has warned that any attempt to restore the nuclear deal would force UN inspectors to end their investigations, saying that “without resolving safeguards issues, talking about a deal would have no meaning “.
The clergy-led bourgeois nationalist regime in Iran has always maintained that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only. The major powers, the IAEA and the CIA, have all admitted that there is no evidence that Iran has had any nuclear weapons program since 2003, as the current CIA director has admitted and former Under Secretary of State William Burns in his autobiography.
The nuclear issue has long been a smokescreen. For more than 25 years, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, aligned with the most anti-Iran political factions in Washington, has claimed that Tehran is only a year away from producing a nuclear bomb.
The Biden administration had originally hoped to use the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal as a way to detach Iran from Russia and China and open up additional energy supplies to Europe. As it happens, under Raisi, who hails from the conservative Iranian faction opposed to the 2015 deal, Tehran has sought to take advantage of the Russian-Ukrainian war and Western sanctions against Russia to stress the importance of Iran as a transport hub linking China and Central Asia with Europe and Russia with India, with the aim of making it independent of the fate of the Vienna talks, while keeping all options open.
He signed an agreement with Baghdad for the construction of a rail line between Shalamcheh and Basra, a vital link in his efforts to create a trade and transport corridor from the Gulf to Syria, Lebanon and the Mediterranean via Iraq .
China is considering transport projects linking the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartous in the north with Iraq and a north-south highway and the creation of a free trade zone in Latakia, 100 km north of the Russian naval base of Tartous. Beijing is also investing heavily in Iraq, where Tehran wields considerable political and economic influence, financing $10.5 billion worth of energy and infrastructure projects, while working as a principal or subcontractor in 15 oilfields in southern Iraq. ‘Iraq.
Iran is trying to enlist support from China through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to develop its Makran coast near Pakistan’s new port of Gwadar and build ports and an oil export terminal in the Gulf of Oman, outside the Persian Gulf and the narrow Strait of Hormuz. The role of the United States in monitoring the Gulf threatens not only Tehran but also Beijing’s vital energy supplies.