Iraq emerges as a potential target for Israel as it steps up
efforts to eliminate the Iranian land bridge to the Levant.
Recent Israeli airstrikes prove that air defense systems
supplied to Syria by Russia are not enough to repulse Israeli aggression
against Iranian targets in this country, but this may not be the end of the
Israel may soon change the course of action to strike Iranian targets
beyond Syria’s borders and launch aerial campaigns in Iraq where the airspace
is defenseless and the political vacuum is too deep for the government to claim
territorial sovereignty.Russian S-300 air defense systems are waiting to be tested
in the ongoing Syrian-Israeli conflict, and according to recent news, the
Syrian Arab Army (SAA) did not employ these systems to repel Sunday’s
large-scale air raid by Israel on various Syrian and Iranian positions in
SAA had used S-200 missiles to mistakenly target a Russian jet
in September 2018, and Russia announced the subsequent delivery of the more
advanced S-300 missile launchers along with new radar systems to Syria.
Although the Syrian government and Russia claim that Syrian air defense systems
have successfully concluded the mission by intercepting the majority of Israeli
missiles said to be fired from the Lebanese airspace, it remains obscure
whether the famous S-300 systems are capable of defending Syria against an
advanced and technological nation like Israel.Notwithstanding the continuous story of Israeli airstrikes
on Iranian-affiliated targets across Syria, another interesting claim emerged
in Iraqi media last week that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the
central Iraqi government of potential Israeli airstrikes against Shiite militia
groups in that country.
Iraqi news outlets alleged that Pompeo made it clear to
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi that the US government would refrain from
taking action should Israeli missiles start raining on Iranian targets inside
Iraq.Iraq’s test with Iranian-vetted militia groups that have
gained access to the Iraqi parliament as the second largest bloc in the final
elections of May 2018 has been a rather challenging one for the world and the
central Iraqi government alike.
Former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s last
policy attempt was designed to bring the militia groups closer to the
government as he sought to sack the national security adviser responsible for
militias, Faleh al-Fayadh, and replace him in this position by himself.
who does not see any necessity to hide his connections to Iran, regained this
position under Abdul Mahdi, and was even nominated to become the interior
The dispute over Fayadh created a political deadlock as Iraq is still
waiting for someone to become its interior minister to deal with the world’s
most fragile security situation.
Reports that the US was concerned about a possible Israeli aerial
campaign against Shiite militias in Iraq emerged as the debate on the
government’s control over militias continue.
The only known fact within the
dramatically complicated political stalemate of Iraq is the notion that the
Iraqi government has given up the race to control the militias, and the current
picture is about not losing the government to Iranian militias entirely.Iran’s land bridge to the Levant continues to function
without any disturbances, and it is likely to be more functional in the near
future as US troops are preparing to withdraw from Syria.
The only force that
has created obstacles for the mullah regime’s grand strategic goal of
connecting Beirut to Tehran through secure land routes has so far been Israel.
The Trump administration’s overestimated confidence in renewed sanctions to
curb Iran’s regional capabilities signal that the Jewish state will stay alone
longer in being the sole preventative military force against Iran on this
Hence, the Iranian land bridge is not only about the
transferring of military equipment to the Levant, but a more sophisticated
project that entails the creation, sponsorship and commanding of proxy forces
Iraq enters the picture not only for its geostrategic location
adjacent to both Syria and Iraq, but also due to its Iran-friendly Shiite
population and the willingness of large militia groups to continue the fight
under the Iranian banner.
In this regard, Iraq is safer for Iran than Syria where
the majority of the local population is hostile Sunni Arabs governed by a
rather weaker Iranian client that is no way a substitute for dedicated Iranian
proxies within and in the periphery of the Iraqi government and military
apparatuses.Assuming that Syria will eventually complete the
installation of S-300 missiles and master the use of complicated Russian-made
radar systems to hunt Israeli fighter jets violating its airspace to strike
Iranian targets, Iraq’s airspace will continue to remain defenseless against
Although the calculation that Russian air defense technologies can save
Syria may point to a devastating mistake for Syrians and Iranians alike, the
Iranian land bridge to the Levant makes Israel extremely vulnerable also in
Russia has no intention to meddle with Iraq’s political and
security crises in order to safeguard Iranian-backed militias, and the US
signals messages of inaction in the event of Israeli aerial operations if they
target militia groups.
If Israel decides to strike Iranian proxies in Iraq, not
only will its fighter jets not meet any capable resistance but there will be
many local factions willing to share intelligence on whereabouts of Iranian
clients in the country as well.