According to the Lebanon based Daily Star newspaper, an Israeli attack against a number of vehicles on the Syrian side of the Golan heights killed seven people, among them senior members of Hezbollah and an Iranian field commander.
Why would Israel undertake such an operation? And why now?
There are a number of possibilities:
1. It appears that in his recent interview on the fifteenth of January, Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah set a red line for Israel, telling Beirut-based Arab news TV that “the repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation, and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria.”
The “axis of resistance” that he mentioned is made up of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. In other words, any attack against Syria will now be considered as an attack against Hezbollah and Iran, as well as Syria. This declaration would be considered a new red line for Israel.
When it comes to Syria, Israeli security officials seem to have an allergic reaction to red lines being drawn for Israel. For example, at the end of January 2013, Iran drew a red line for Israel around Syria. According to foreign reports, it took Israel only a couple of days to cross that line.
2. We are getting close to elections in Israel. There is the possibility that Netanyahu may lose. At the beginning a Likud lead government headed by Netanyahu looked certain. But as time has passed, Netanyahu’s challenger Isaac Herzog from the Labour party has started to catch up.
So a war just before elections could boost Netanyahu’s chances. And let’s face it, it would not be the first time that a war was started just before elections here in Israel. And Netanyahu would not be the first Israeli leader to do this.
3. In his interview with i24 news last tonight, Amir Oren of Haaretz noted that we are getting close to the anniversary of the assassination of former Hezbollah commander Imad Mighniye who was killed on the 12 of February, 2008. Hezbollah may have been planning to retaliate, and Israel may have decided to take the initiative.
4. Perhaps Hezbollah was planning to place some of its Iran made Fatah 110 missiles and its other new missiles which Nasrallah bragged about in his recent interview on Israel’s border with the Syrian side of the Golan heights.
These are all possibilities. Lets not jump to conclusions. We just finished a war in Gaza based on the assumption of some people in Israel that the Hamas central command in Gaza had ordered the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers.
It turns out that it had not.