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Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Israel Fabricates Evidence to Show Iran's Military Presence in Syria

Israel Fabricates Evidence to Show Iran's Military Presence in Syria

On Tuesday morning, the IDF released aerial photos of Iranian bases in Syria showing the scope of Iran's military presence in the neighboring country.

However, an Israeli security official seemed to acknowledge the leak was sanctioned, telling Reuters that it provided details about "the IRGC air force (which) the Israeli defence establishment sees as the entity that will try to attack Israel, based on Iranian threats to respond to the strike on T-4".

The targets include Damascus International Airport, through which Iranian transports weapons and other military equipment for its militia proxies on the ground; the Sayqal air base; the T-4 air base; an airfield near Aleppo; and a base in Deir Ezzor.

Israel has long said Iran was expanding its influence in a belt of territory that stretches from the Iraqi border to the Lebanese border, where Israel says Iran supplies Hezbollah with arms. In public statements as indeed in its diplomatic contacts, primarily with the U.S and Russia, Israel made it clear that its concern is the attempt by sub-state organizations and Iran exploiting the situation and establishing permanent bases in Syria.

Only two weeks ago, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with his Russian and Turkish counterparts to celebrate their presumed "victory" in Syria, but now the tables have turned. In February, Israel launched a wave of airstrikes in Syria after it intercepted an Iranian drone that had infiltrated its airspace, and an Israeli F-16 was downed upon its return from Syria.

Iranian forces operate out of the T4 base and seven Iranian military advisors were killed in the attack. Scores of previous such raids went unanswered but Israel worries that changing conditions may now embolden Iran.

A complete recording of the call is available here.

"We saw the Syrian children who were massacred with chemical weapons". While Israel wants to prevent a violent front along the Golan and prevent Iranian control over the country, the USA red lines are much more permissive. From Iran's perspective, these are a threat.

The Iranian Supreme Leader's top foreign policy adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, met with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in Damascus last Thursday when the prospect of American-led military action against targets in Syria loomed large after the April 7 toxic gas assault in Douma.

If the US retaliates against Syria later in the week, Israel's choice of timing is brilliant, because in a few days no one will likely remember Israel's attack on Syria's T-4 military base except Iran, as the attention will be focused on what is expected to be a much larger attack by the USA. Israel's military spokesman declined to comment. The Iranian rial has lost one-third of its value just this year, which a wider confrontation with Israel would only exacerbate.

Seth J. Frantzman is the executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis and a writing fellow at Middle East Forum.

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