Tensions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States escalated on Thursday, June 20, when a US military drone was shot down by Iran. Relations between the two countries were already very tense, after several sabotages against oil tankers. The United States and several other countries have accused Iran of being behind the sabotages. Now Israel can also be drawn into the big political game, writes Amos Harel in a comment in the newspaper Ha’aretz.
Iran has been hit hard by the economic sanctions imposed by the United States after withdrawing from the nuclear deal. Now both Israeli and Western intelligence believe that Iran may carry out an operation at the Israeli border. The goal is to pressure the United States to ease economic sanctions.
“Therefore, it is not inconceivable that the Iranians will carry out a provocation along the Israeli border, with the aim of further exacerbating the already tense situation in the region. They hope they can pressure the Trump administration to reconsider their actions, “wrote the Israeli commentator.
Intelligence sources believe the Iranians originally intended to take the time to help. November 2020 there are presidential elections in the USA – the Iranians hope Donald Trump will lose that election. It could lead to easing of the aggressive policies that the United States is now pursuing against Iran’s nuclear program. But economic sanctions have hit Iran harder than expected and they do not have time to wait for Trump to possibly step down. That is why they are trying to pressure the Americans, writes Harel.
«The Iranians have, among other things, attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and carried out drone attacks on Saudi oil installations (both without taking responsibility). It shows that they have changed strategy: Tehran is stepping up its provocations in the hope that the United States will return to the negotiating table. However, the Americans have not reacted with fear, and Trump has not been drawn into a war of words with increasingly serious warfare against the Iranians. “
The oil market has also not become unstable, despite the attacks. Since the Iranian attacks have not had the destabilizing effect they had hoped for, the country may seek to increase tensions further by withdrawing Israel.
«As the crisis is not escalating fast enough, Iran may find itself exacerbating it; for example, by drawing Israel into the heart of events. “This could happen through an indirect scenario involving Iranian-controlled groups such as Shia militias in southern Syria, or possibly an operation by Hezbollah or others in southern Lebanon,” Harel wrote in his analysis.
Israel is fully aware that this is a realistic and highly topical scenario. At a major military exercise earlier this week in which the defense trained fighters against Shia militias in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would respond with full force to any provocation.
– We have the power to wreak havoc – do not test us, he said.