Iraq, Lebanon See Israeli Attacks as a ‘Declaration of War’
(August 26, 2019) — A flurry of weekend attacks by Israeli forces hit various targets in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. Syria is attacked so commonly it’s gone virtually without reaction, but Lebanon and Iraq both issued separate statements saying they view what happened as a “declaration of war.”
Lebanese PM Saad Hariri warned of the risk of a dangerous escalation, and called on diplomats to do something to stop things getting worse. Israeli forces on the border are on high alert, though there is no sign of any fighting there so far.
Iraq’s ruling coalition also said they consider the attack a declaration of war on Iraq, adding that they ultimately hold the US fully responsible for the Israeli aggression, despite the US disavowing involvement.
Top Iraqi officials, as well as the leadership of the PMF militias met on Monday related both to Israel’s Sunday attack, and to what have been a spate of Israeli attacks on Iraqi soil over the past several weeks, all targeting militia forces.
Israel has long accused Iraqi militias of being “Iranian forces,” and is keen on starting a proxy war in Iraq. They have done materially the same thing in Syria and in Lebanon.
Iraq’s presidential office issued a statement saying that they consider Iraqi sovereignty and the well-being of Iraqi civilians to be “a red line,” and vowed to take all necessary steps to deter further aggressors.
Netanyahu Hits Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon in Desperate Reelection Bid
(August 25, 2019) — The weekend marked a precipitous escalation in Netanyahu’s promise to attack all perceived “enemies.” From Saturday evening into late Sunday afternoon, Israel carried out strikes against three separate nations, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. By Monday morning, he had also attacked forces from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as well as Palestinians from the PFLP-GC. That’s a lot of enemies to wage war against all at once.
Rumors of Israeli attacks against targets in Iraq over the last few weeks came to a head last week, when US and Israeli officials confirmed that the attacks were taking place. This led to some complaints from Iraqi officials, but Israel is hardly backing away from this policy.
Indeed, with Israel’s election less than a month away and Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies trailing substantially in most polls, it appears the policy is to escalate its attacks across the region, hoping to secure more votes from the hawkish right.
The biggest attacks came Saturday, when Israel launched a series of attacks against a village near the Syrian capital of Damascus. The attacks were drone bombings, with Israeli drones laden with explosives flying into the target, crashing and detonating.
Israel attacking Syria is common enough, but the real news was the Israeli military commenting directly, claiming they’d attacked an Iranian site, intending to preempt an Iranian attack on northern Israel on Thursday. Iran denied everything, including that they’d been hit in the strikes.
It makes sense why the Netanyahu government would want to make this the case, as while he’s got mounting political opposition, he likely believes war with Iran is still a platform that would benefit him in the election. Indeed, if the war actually was ongoing against Iran and basically all Shi’ites, it would probably guarantee his reelection.
But it didn’t stop with an attack in Syria, nominally on Iran. On Sunday, Israel carried out attacks against the Lebanese capital of Beirut, targeting Hezbollah. Israeli drones also slammed into Western Iraq, killing at least one member of a Shi’ite militia there.
That bought Israel into engagements in three distinct countries, targeting Iraqi Shi’ite militias, Hezbollah, Syrian, and Iranian forces. Adding a fifth faction, early Monday morning Israel attacked a Palestinian base in northern Lebanon.
That’s almost everyone in the region that Israel could attack, but this week will probably see a continuation of such strikes. Israel has also indicated an interest in starting to attack the Shi’ites in northern Yemen, even though they are not the same type of Shi’ites, so that too is likely to be a priority target.
So far there has been no reaction from Israel’s opposition parties, and it puts them in an awkward position, as historically attacking anything is relatively popular in Israel, and it is considered unthinkable for the opposition to chime in on that in anything but enthusiastic support.
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