Making Sense of Iranian Threats to Attack Israeli Cities

Sept. 21 2022

In a recent press conference, the commander of the Islamic Republic’s regular army, General Kioumars Heydari, announced the introduction of a new model of drone, which, he said, was developed with “attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa” in mind. Amir Taheri questions the prudence of such saber-rattling, examining both its unusual character and its possible causes:

To start with, the general made no mention of the “supreme guide” Ali Khamenei, who is supposed to be the ultimate decision-maker on all major issues, especially war and peace. Khamenei has always said he would love to see Israel “wiped from the face of existence.” But he has never said that his own Islamic Republic is going to launch a direct war to destroy the “Zionist entity.” Almost ten years ago, he prophesized that Israel would disappear within 25 years. In the meantime, however, his Islamic Republic won’t take any direct action against Israel, instead using Lebanese and Palestinian surrogates in a low-intensity proxy war.

For the past six years, Israel has been attacking Iranian positions in Syria and even hitting targets inside Iran without being attacked in response. The question now is simple: has the “grin and bear it” policy changed? Should we assume the Iranian military is now in the driver’s seat on such high-risk issues? Traditionally, the military in Iran was required to obey the “silence is golden” rule. Even after the mullahs seized power, that tradition was largely observed. The military did make boastful speeches but never threatened any country with any specific course of action.

The irresponsible boast also comes at a critical point in the dicey negotiations to revive Barack Obama’s nuclear deal and to recognize the Islamic Republic’s supposedly peaceful intentions.

Did part of the Khomeinist establishment write the Heydari puppet-show script to derail President Joe Biden’s efforts to undo Donald Trump’s policy on Iran? Is the same faction not aware of the fact that there is not, and will not be, Iranian popular support for any war waged on purely ideological grounds? Or is the beating of war drums a ploy to divert attention from the regime’s economic, diplomatic, and social failures?

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Ali Khamenei, Iran, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Syria

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank