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Iraqi airspace is open for Israel to strike Iran

Iraqi airspace is open for Israel to strike Iran

2019/01/24 | 21:25

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-











Ceng Sagnic







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

story. 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

southern Syria. 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. Fayadh,

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

minister. 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

matter. 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

en route. 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

Israel. 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

Iraq. 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.











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