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Joost Hiltermann @JoostHiltermann
, 11 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Some quick thoughts: It looks like #Israel initiated military activity against Syrian regime and Iranian assets in Syria last night in order to take advantage of favorable political situation in aftermath of #Trump's withdrawal from #IranDeal, and also... /2
/2 to draw a red line against #Iran/#Hezbollah moves southward toward #GolanHeights now that regime has completed takeover of most Damascus suburbs, freeing up forces. Yet the Iranians don't seem to be responding, Israeli claims to the contrary - .../3
3/ or at least not with the ferocity that would enable an even stronger Israeli riposte. Moreover, Israel is constrained by #Russia's two principal red lines: Syrian regime preservation, and no harm to Russian assets and personnel..../4
4/ Hence #Netanyahu's visit to Moscow now, while military operations were being prepared: to gauge Putin's acquiescence to Israeli strikes, and understand the limits. Likewise, the #Saudis and #Emiratis seem to be gearing up for an assault on #Hodeida, similarly realizing.../5
/5 that their moment may be now or never. No one knows how this perfect (to them) alignment of Trump, #Bolton and #Pompeo will last. But they, too, face real limits. Militarily, Hodeida port and city may be one proverbial bridge too far without major US military support....6/
/6 And if and when they take Hodeida, they may discover that now they will own #Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe even more than they already have. In sum: the Washington-Tel Aviv-Riyadh-Abu Dhabi alliance.../7
/7 may well have an opportunity to pursue its priority agenda of pushing back against Iran in the #MiddleEast and #Gulf, but they face real constraints, and much will depend on how Iran responds.../8
/8 If the Iranians are wise, as some Israeli security officials intimated, they would not respond militarily but sit back and negotiate with the Europeans to keep the #IranDeal alive until the Trump misadministration is history..../9
/9 But some of the hardliners in Tehran may have different ideas, and instead go for the bait. In that case, my advice to all of you: Hold on to your seats. /END
Back in February, we warned about an externally-driven escalation scenario in Syria. Iran and Israel are playing a game of chicken in seeking to set their red lines. But are their positions reconcilable? Very likely not. Meanwhile, ordinary Syrians suffer.…
I have argued elsewhere that while Russia is just as much part of the problem in Syria as everyone else leaping in from the outside, it could also help de-escalate tensions because of its unique position in relation to Iran, Israel, Hezbollah and Turkey:
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