Is Israel Winning Its “War between Wars”?

For over a decade, the IDF has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, in a campaign to prevent the buildup of Iranian and Iran-backed forces that could be used to attack the Jewish state. These strikes, many of them on weapons shipments and armaments factories, appear to have peaked in 2020 and 2021 and declined slightly in 2022. The “war between the wars,” as it has been dubbed, has also included cyberwarfare and other covert actions. Surveying the campaign as a whole, Eden Kaduri draws some conclusions about its success:

[R]ecent years have seen a number of strategic processes that increase Iran’s influence in Syria in a way that is not addressed by the war between wars. Iran is working to reinforce its civilian entrenchment, infiltrating many aspects of Syrian life—the economy, education, culture, and tourism. In 2022 Iran worked tirelessly to extend economic cooperation, including increasing trade between the countries, launching joint economic projects, and removing regulatory restrictions. According to the Tehran regime, Iranian exports to Syria doubled last year, and Iran is exploiting the economic crisis in Syria to increase Syrian dependence. It has reinforced cooperation in the field of energy and electricity, implemented joint construction projects, and promoted the involvement of Iranian companies in the rebuilding of Syria.

Moreover 2022 saw the revival of the “axis of resistance” to Israel, which includes Iran, Hizballah, Syria, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. Renewed relations between the Assad regime and Hamas strengthen Syria’s status as an important element in the radical axis. Iran regards all these activities as strategic processes designed to exploit the civilian and political situation in Syria, while hardly being affected by the air attacks, . . . which are focused on preventing Iran’s military empowerment in Syria.

Israel should extend the range of tools at its disposal against the Iranian presence and influence to include diplomatic, economic, and cognitive efforts, possibly in collaboration with relevant countries, above all the United States, Jordan, Turkey, and the Gulf states, as well as sectors in Syria, such as the Druze and the Kurds.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Syria

 

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security