THE Iranian effort “to entrench themselves militarily and tie the noose, a ring of fire around the neck of Israel” is slowly threatening to become a reality, a top Middle East analyst has warned.
Veteran Israeli commentator Ehud Ya’ari made the remarks last week while visiting as a guest of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), along with Israeli counterterrorism expert Prof Boaz Ganor.
“The Iranians have managed to forge a network of proxies, alliances, and they are capable of operating in different ways,” Ya’ari said, explaining Iranian influence now extends beyond the Shi’ite world to Christian Arabs – such as Lebanon’s Maronite President Michel Aoun, who he called “an Iranian stooge”– and even into Sunni communities.
He said declining US influence and involvement – citing its lack of action after recent Saudi oil field attacks widely thought to be Iran’s work – meant “there is no umbrella, even if the most spectacular attack takes place you have to deal with it on your own”.
“The conclusion of the Saudis and the smarter people in the United Arab Emirates is ‘let’s try and see whether we can have some understandings with the Iranians’,” he said.
He said Israel had managed to disrupt “about 80 per cent of what Iran has been trying to establish” in Syria with more than 1000 air raids.
But he said “despite the heavy blows”, Iran would not give up and the point would come when Israel will have to take decisive action.
Ganor said after a decade of quiet for Israel in the region, “we are very close to a war”.
He spoke of the cooperation between Iran and its proxies, cooperation with Turkey and Russia’s provision of an umbrella, against the decline of American influence.
“I really don’t remember a more fragile, dangerous time,” he said.
“If this war will start, it will be an unprecedented war in the Middle East and Israel.”
In such a war, he said Israel’s Iron Dome would be swarmed with 3000 rockets per day.
“Once you understand the threat in that way, you understand the number of casualties and the level of damage and destruction that Israel will face,” he said.
Ganor painted an equally grim global terrorism picture, with global jihad groups, home-grown and lone wolf terrorists and Iranian state terrorism “using the proxy of Hezbollah in different countries around the world against Jewish communities and against Israeli interests”.
“I think that the global arena should also wake up to understand that what has been is going to change in the near future, even in Australia.”