Israel and Iran are arch-enemies. While Tehran uses Hezbollah and Palestinian groups, Jerusalem attacks directly.
By Marco Maier
For many years now there has been a war in the Middle East, which has not yet fully escalated due to the fragile security conditions in the region. It is the one between Iran and Israel. Two states that are completely hostile to each other – they are so called arch-enemies.
While Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and is fighting Zionism, the Jewish state has been fighting for its survival – supported by the Americans and the Europeans – since its foundation in 1948. Unlike 2000 years ago, when the whole Levant was multi-ethnic and multi-religious, the region is now dominated by Muslims. And according to the line that every piece of land ever settled or conquered by Muslims is part of the Muslim world, this claim also applies to the whole of Palestine.
On the other side, the Israeli leadership is trying to realize the Yinon Plan and to establish its Erez Israel (Greater Israel) by referring to its own religious texts. These are conflicting territorial interests that inevitably must lead to war.
No wonder, then, that the Iranian leadership, in addition to the Shiite militia Hezbollah (especially in Lebanon), also supports various militant Palestinian groups that repeatedly carry out attacks on Israel. The establishment of a „Shiite crescent“ under the control of Tehran is also part of Iranian strategy.
At the same time, this leads to the Israeli air force repeatedly carrying out air attacks on Iranian troops and Iran-supported Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria. They represent an immediate national threat to Jerusalem. But that is not all.
The Israelis are also targeting the Iranian nuclear program. Although Tehran repeatedly emphasises that it only wants to operate its own nuclear power stations and is only aiming for civilian use, Jerusalem doubts this. Because: although the Ayatollah has branded nuclear weapons as „un-Islamic“ in a fatwa, the Israelis (who, by the way, possess nuclear weapons themselves, contrary to the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty) do not believe a word the Iranians say.
No wonder, then, that Israel repeatedly carries out attacks even on Iranian territory. The most recent incidents (e.g. the explosion near the Parchin military base near Tehran or the recent explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility) are attributed to acts of Mossad or the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
Although the Islamist leadership in Tehran claims that these were „accidents“, this should only serve to prevent further incitement of radical forces in the country. After all, this could be seen as an open declaration of war, which would make the leadership look „weak“ in the eyes of the Iranians themselves. The loss of face would be too great. How is it possible that the Israeli Air Force or the Mossad can operate in Iran virtually unhindered?
But all these actions show that Iran and Israel are already in a state of war, which is, at least for the time being, still limited. Despite the ongoing tensions, neither side currently seems interested in allowing them to escalate completely. Rather, it is a „policy of pinpricks“ to keep the hardliners in both governments happy. External enemies are always welcome if you want to rally a dissatisfied people behind you despite all the odds.
But when will this limited war escalate into a regional conflagration?