Yesterday was a strange day. I wrote an article for Newsweek in the early afternoon, prompted by Israel’s deployment of the Iran Dome system in a number of cities. The article centered on the unpredictability of life in Israel. I filed the article at 5 PM and then at 5:40 missiles were fired into Northern Israel from Syria. Certainly an unexpected event. We were concerned about missiles from the South instead we received them from the North.
It turns out the weapons were fired by Islamic Jihad, supposedly under the direction of the Iranians from one of the few places on the Golan Heights that the Syrian Army still controls. The big questions of course is why. The simple answer was that it was a retaliation for an Israeli attack a couple of weeks ago. That could be the case, but this attack was not the firing of a few mortars toward the Israeli part of the Golan Heights, it was the firing of missiles that landed much deeper in Israel. It was an act that was sure to bring about a significant Israeli response- one that took place. The question remains why? One can only speculate- but I have one potential answer. Hardliners in the Iranian regime who are interested on in derailing the nuclear agreement by provoking a crisis with Israel. Can I prove it of course not- one of our greatest weakness is how little we understand about internal Iranian politics. Who are the opponents of the agreement and why do the object? Is it idealogical? Or might it be because certain forces such as the Quds forces have been making a great deal of money because of the embargo and will be the biggest losers?
The answer is we simply do not know. Israel responded to yesterday attack with disproportional response both from the air and from artillery fire. The goal was to show the Syrians that if they allowed further attacks from their soil they will price that their regime cannot afford. Of course another thing we do not know is how much the Syrians are still masters in their own house.