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Israeli Attacks in Iraq, Lebanon Disclose Tel Aviv’s Worry, Weakness: Expert

Alwaght- The recent Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Iraq have been the main focus of the media and political experts over the past few days. West Asia developments have been moving fast towards shaping a new regional security order. In the meantime, Tel Aviv’s accepting the responsibility for the attacks is a rare and new development with the potentials to affect the quality of shaping of a new security order.

Alwaght has talked to international affairs expert Saadullah Zarei to throw light on the issue.

The first question was why the Israelis have launched such attacks and more importantly why they implied that they were behind the attacks. Mr Zarei replied that if we want to describe the Israeli regime these days, we can call it “unstable.” The actions against Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon suggest that Tel Aviv has reached an unprecedented situation of instability and sensation.

“Now the question is why the Israeli regime has chosen such a path. Have they forgotten how heavily they were defeated by Hezbollah? Have they forgotten that even Hamas defeated them? Are not they sure they will lose any war with Iran? We should not think that such measures are taken by a winner. Rather, they are actions of a floundering actor whose loss is heavier than it looks like.”

He continued that the recent strikes are more indicative of Israeli concerns than its strength because over the past few months the regional developments went to a direction that drew Israeli worries. These are events that worry Tel Aviv: Victories of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement against Saudi Arabia in the war and its procurement of extremely sensitive weapons that are now mass-produced in Yemen. The stabilization of the security situation in post-ISIS Iraq and Iraqi-Iranian strategic relations particularly in the security field. Syria’s movement to unity and the government’s control over the country. And promotion of Hezbollah position at home and abroad within 2018 and 2019. This was the restoration of Hezbollah’s identity and popularity that relatively shrank in the Arab world after the Lebanese movement’s involvement in the Syrian war. After all, the identity of terror is now disclosed to the Arab public and this promotes Hezbollah’s image.

“These are the cause of Israeli concerns. Now the Israelis have come to the scene and are paying a price. They buy small trepidation to avoid the bigger one. The bigger fear for them is the whole region falling in the hands of the Axis of Resistance. In this case, they will have no room to breathe and there will be no room for the Israeli regime’s life. The small fear is sustaining blows and receiving attacks in response to their violations. Naturally, they choose the smaller fear.”

The Iranian expert was asked to what extent the upcoming parliamentary elections influenced the Israeli strikes in the Arab countries. He answered that in the first place the Israeli security mattered. Netanyahu’s opponents now do not criticize the attacks in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza. What they censure him for is his waste of time and declining to act proportionate to the threats at the right time. “So, it is not about the election competition. It is about the security of Israel. Either Netanyahu stays in power or goes out, this situation will continue for the Israelis.”

Netanyahu emphasized on the continuation of the attacks. Alwaght asked how long they can continue and if they undermine the Resistance camp as Tel Aviv expects.

The Israelis are grappling with a big security challenge, Mr Zarei said, adding that as long as they do not reach a point of stability, the attacks will continue. The pace, places, and excuses of the attacks could change, however.

“The essential issue is that they face a security challenge. This is not related to a specific party and is related to foreign factors. So, we should expect further attacks. This issue can lead to the collapse of this regime because a disturbing element in a condition of disturbance can move faster to collapse as repelling its evil felt more by the regional states. So, the comments by Major General Qassem Soleimani who said that these strikes are the last tries of the Israeli regime can be seen from this perspective.”

Concerning the effects of the attacks, Mr Zarei said, those Iraqi parties who were not much anti-Israeli have now developed anti-Israeli tendencies in the recent weeks. “We hear voices from the Iraqi government and political parties talking about the need to respond to the Israeli hostilities. This is a novel development. Furthermore, the region has now concluded that such a disturbing element should be removed. This comes while before that, the theory was that the Israeli collapse will occur from inside. We now have to relatively review our vision, not to the degree of fully ruling out the from-inside collapse but to develop the notion that the Israeli crisis-causing measures necessitate a new political decision on Tel Aviv by the regional countries.

There are reports that Israeli drones used US military bases in Iraq for launching airstrikes on Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq. Mr Zarei commented that in terms of foreign players, there are only two foreign actors in Iraq: The US and Iran. The actions against Hashd, Harakat Hezbollah Al-Nujab, and the Iraqi governments are naturally not an act of Iran. So, Iran cannot be the cause of instability in Iraq.

“We do not say that this is an American action. But the Israelis certainly have attacked from inside. Inside Iraq means from the US military bases because the Israelis have no independent presence in Iraq. So, any actions they take is from the American bases. The US operates over 10 bases in Iraq. Thus, the Americans should shoulder the responsibility and expect consequences.

Commenting on the best strategy that Iraq and Lebanon should take in the face of the Israeli hostilities, Mr Zarei explained first of all they should read the Israeli thoughts. The Israelis think about the time after the attacks once they launch the attacks and they assess the opposite side’s reaction. “We should be careful that extensive inaction, like in Syrian case, will make Tel Aviv grow audacious. On the other side, we should not play in their game. The Axis of Resistance should itself determine its game conditions. In Iraq, this should be done by considering the US accountable for the violations. According to the international protocols, Washington with more than 10 military bases has the direct responsibility to prevent such attacks.”

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