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Gaza as a Military Testing Ground for Iran

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Homajon

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Gaza as a Military Testing Ground for Iran

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah

May 27, 2021

Gaza as a Military Testing Ground for Iran

A member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard photographed in southern Lebanon several years ago. He wears a Hizbullah tag on his uniform. (Twitter)

Whoever thinks that the last campaign between Israel and Hamas and the Islamic Jihad was a geographically limited campaign on a limited battlefield is wrong. Upon examining the course of the 11-day war, we cannot help but understand that it was a rehearsal for what is expected on Israel’s northern front. This war in the Gaza Strip was nothing more than a military testing ground for Iran and Hizbullah. They were able to measure Israel’s firepower, its interception capability, and its limitations of power as expressed by the almost irrational care of avoiding harm to population centers. Israel’s concern for innocent lives was borne out of the fear of the world’s reaction and being accused of crimes against humanity, its dependence on the United States, and the drift that undermined Israel’s position in world public opinion, especially among the U.S. Democratic Party, the party of President Joe Biden.

Decision-makers in Israel, as well as politicians, army officers, and academics often repeat a statement attributed to the Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. He allegedly said after leaving his bunker following the 2006 Second Lebanon War that had he known that his decision to provoke Israel would cause such destruction, he would not have started the war at all. Accordingly, analysists conclude time and again that the lack of Hizbullah’s military action against Israel and its hesitancy to do so in the foreseeable future stems from Israeli deterrence. Accordingly, analysts conclude time and again that the lack of Hizbullah’s military action against Israel and its hesitancy to do so in the foreseeable future stems from Israeli deterrence.

In practice, since 2006, Hizbullah has embarked on an unprecedented reorganization and re-arming effort with Iranian funding and training while accumulating a rocket arsenal of more than 140,000 missiles, some of which with extremely high accuracy. [By contrast, Hamas in Gaza had an estimated 15,000 rockets when it launched its war in May 2014.] Hizbullah analyzed Hamas’ battles against the IDF and will adopt a doctrine of warfare adapted to the new reality. Hizbullah also publicly announced its plan to capture the Galilee by mobilizing its elite units – the Radwan units – for the construction of a network of underground assault tunnels, command bunkers, and an extensive maze of fortifications of which only a fraction was exposed some two years ago on the Lebanese border and subsequently neutralized by the IDF. Hizbullah has developed its drone corps and naval units that are prepared to attack Israel’s gas rigs southwest of Lebanon’s coast. In addition, as Iran’s proxy force in the region, its combat units have gained valuable operational experience in urban warfare following battles in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, where it was sent to fight by its commanders in Tehran.

Iranian caricature
“Fulfilling our promise.” Iranian caricature in a publication close to the Revolutionary Guards. (Tasnim, May 23, 2021)

All of the above elements have been implemented in the Gaza Strip by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is, therefore, no wonder that Iran is behind the Palestinian war effort. Ramez Halabi, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was interviewed on Iraqi television on May 8, 2021. He explained that every weapon in his organization’s possession was purchased with Iranian funding and that all his men were trained in Iran. Mocking Israel, he added that every missile bears the signature of the late Qasem Suleimani. What a wonder that after the fighting subsided, Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who resides in Qatar, thanked Iran for the financial assistance and weaponry it has extended to Hamas!

From the Palestinian perspective, the war proved that the “Israeli demon” was not as frightening as it used to be. In fact, Israel’s last military victory was in 1982, which eventually resulted in the withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 under Hizbullah’s military pressure. The result of the war in 2006 was seen as Hizbullah’s victory over Israel, while 2014 demonstrated the extent to which Israel refrains from initiating a massive ground entry into the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s policy of divide and rule between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has boomeranged. The weakening of the PA eventually led to the strengthening of Hamas and its becoming the dominant factor vis-à-vis Israel. Furthermore, Hamas realized that Israel had wrongly assessed – until the last minute – that Hamas lacked interest in a military confrontation and was deterred. This assessment is paired with the constantly reiterated statement that Israel has no interest in a ground attack on Gaza in order to bring down Hamas. Thanks to the “Iron Dome,” the assessment continues, Israel can be satisfied by action against Hamas from outside of Gaza boundaries.

Fear that Inhibits Bold Actions
However, these statements are rooted in the Palestinian perception inherent to Israel’s weakness: a reluctance to introduce its forces into Gaza for fear of casualties and refusal to control another two million Palestinians. These conclusions are chronicled in Tehran and Hizbullah because the parallel to the situation in Lebanon is self-evident!

It does not bode well for Israel that its weaknesses were apparent not only to the Palestinian public but especially to Hizbullah and Iran, who studied Israel’s behavior during the 11 days of fighting.

The war in Gaza must serve as a very loud wake-up call and cause Israel to rethink its policy toward its enemies in the Arab world. The rising situation requires a drastic change in Israel’s reactions: no more restraint, which is the source of all evil.

Continuing the same policy of restraint and the hesitation to use force may encourage Iran and Hizbullah to continue their plans to surprise Israel on other fronts. This is possible should they conclude that Israel will strive to avoid any frontal confrontation with Hizbullah and a ground incursion that could result in significant casualties by exposing Israel’s homefront to significant attacks.

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

 

Cash GK

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As a war historian.in my thinking europ n usa trying hard to hold their last strong hold in arab world. Isreal is part of amaraicn army.what this man is claiming. Things are not as simple as he thinks.he must understand succes of new world order which will run by China Russian depends on this very battle ground.arab wold wants protection from Isreal.which is part of usa n Europe like nato.muslim world was bullied n attacked by europe n usa since the fall of ottoman.they are asking grantees from new rising supper powers.china n Russia are willing to help muslim wold as they both know how important is arab world for new world order.Chines n Russian know the importance of Palestinian and they know fall of Israel is fall of usa in arab world.if usa fell in arab world then next 100 years usa will not be allowed in arab world. Things are changing fast n they are going out of control of usa..weapons n money don't win wars for you..you can see recent examples in Afghanistan Syria Iraq Libya. Israeli were force to stop.it was very simple. Hamas one rocket cost them some thousands and dome's one rocket cost usa n Isreal millions. Stopping 14000 rockets how much it will cost Isreal n usa especially when covid the biological weapon took away advantages of miltry myths. If this thing keep happening Israeli n Americans economy can not hold it long after pandemic. I believe it is just start of a end for colonial powers. If China n Russia wants to rule the world. They have to force out usa to withdraw its forces name Isreal from arab world. Other wise their dream to rule the world can not be fulfilled. You guys have right to differ.
 

Falcon29

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This is garbage article. Iran has no interest in war with Israel. Not even Iranian allies.

What happened was simply Hamas drew red line for Jerusalem, followed through, and ignited a local and regional uprising. No one in Iranian camp has courage to do what Holy Hamas did. No one in Iranian camp can take credit for what Hamas culture has produced. No one in Iranian camp can replicate Hamas's culture and product.

Hezbollah and Iran are in business of killing Muslim baby's in region and they don't need any more 'studying' to open front with Israel. They can do it anytime but are too coward and rather kill Muslim baby's in Syria/Iraq/Yemen.
 

aryobarzan

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All Iranian PDFers:
We know that Israel has infiltrated Palestinians movements to a large extent..they wear palestinian clothes and speak palestinian dialect of Arabic..they are more "Palestinian Like" than the originals ones..
the above fellow who is flashing a Palestinian flag is one of those ..his job is obvious...I do not need to elaborate...Until someone prove to us Iranians that this fellow is a real Arab (the sectarian variety)...consider him an agent of MOSSAD or CIA doing a his job.:azn::azn:..
 

Falcon29

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All Iranian PDFers:
We know that Israel has infiltrated Palestinians movements to a large extent..they wear palestinian clothes and speak palestinian dialect of Arabic..they are more "Palestinian Like" than the originals ones..
the above fellow who is flashing a Palestinian flag is one of those ..his job is obvious...I do not need to elaborate...Until someone prove to us Iranians that this fellow is a real Arab (the sectarian variety)...consider him an agent of MOSSAD or CIA doing a his job.:azn::azn:..
The Zionists are you guys arguing against Jihad against Israel all over every forum. Any time opportunity arises for clash with Israel you all argue against getting involved in it. While going in region killing Muslim babies and Iraqi activists who protest against your influence. Of course has to be done with US and Russian backing, otherwise you won't be able to step foot in any Muslim nation. All your presence in Iraq/Syria is a result of US/Russian intervention on your behalf.
 

Trango Towers

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What a bs article.
1. Israel is a fascist state that murders without impunity.
2. Iron Dome worked well but the shear volume of rockets that are cheap and readily available showed that interception is extremely expensive. Next conflict. Fire lots of the cheap ones and wait then fire the accurate missiles and drones at valuable targets.
3. After years of Palestinians suffering fear we saw Jews running and screaming for their lives. This is excellent psychologically as if Palestine doesn't live in peace the Jews won't.
4. Anti semtism doesn't work
5. Media war was won by Palestine. More and more nations question the Israeli nazi fascist tactics of forced evictions.
6. Exposes Jews as thieves.
7 exposes mainstream media bias towards Israel.
8. Exposes arabs as complicit in the murder of palestianin Muslims.
9. Hamas won the battle as Israel agreed to an unconditional ceasefire. Additionally Israel unable to enter gaza.
10. After hostilities ended. Hamas stated it would not hesitate to retaliate.
11. Hamas remains in tact and will get stronger and especially now it was able to hit Israeli airbases
 
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Homajon

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Iran’s role in the latest Gaza conflict | The Strategist

18 Jun 2021|
Oved Lobel



References to Iran have been glaringly absent from commentary on the clash between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza, even though two primary terrorist organisations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have effusively praised Tehran and its regional proxies for providing their military capabilities and finance.

Moreover, the way the conflict was framed both by the Gaza groups and by Iran’s broader regional network, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen, makes it clear that they all view their regional battles as mere fronts in an integrated transnational jihad directed against Israel by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

As Islamic Jihad and Hamas have repeatedly asserted for years, they would have little capacity to start these wars against Israel without IRGC training, funding, arms transfers and expertise. Not only does Iran provide arms and rockets, but it has also established local production capability for all its proxies and trained operatives externally in the technical aspects, even custom-designing cruder rockets like the Badr-3 that can be manufactured with ease in Gaza.

One Islamic Jihad official, Ramez al-Halabi, declared: ‘The mujahideen in Gaza and in Lebanon use Iranian weapons to strike the Zionists. We buy our weapons with Iranian money. An important part of our activity is under the supervision of Iranian experts. The contours of the victories in Palestine as of late were outlined with the blood of Qasem Soleimani, Iranian blood.’

Hamas’s Gaza chief, Yahya Sinwar, said that his group’s ‘complete gratitude is extended to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has spared us and the other Palestinian resistance factions nothing in recent years. They have provided us with money, weapons, and expertise. They have supported us in everything … They weren’t with us on the ground, but they were with us through those capabilities.’

Hamas’s overall leader, Ismail Haniyeh, thanked both IRGC chief Hossein Salami and the leader of its Quds Force, Ismail Qaani, and both Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah wrote letters of thanks to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

None of this is particularly new. In 2018, Sinwar said that Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRGC ‘work together and coordinate and are in touch on an almost daily basis’. During the latest fighting, he asserted that there had been ‘a high level of coordination’, which was underlined by Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem. The Hezbollah-linked Al-Akhbar daily even claimed that a joint military operations room was established in Lebanon to oversee the conflict, staffed with officers from Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRGC.

What was new in this round was the very open support of the Houthis, both practically and rhetorically. Once a ceasefire was declared, representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad gave glowing speeches in Sanaa praising the Houthis for their role in the ‘victory’, and the local Hamas representative bestowed an award on the Houthis for their financial and logistical support.

During the conflict, the Houthis were fundraising for the war effort. In Syria, the Houthi representative reportedly met with Islamic Jihad’s representative to confer about the fighting.

Integration among all of Iran’s proxies reportedly went even beyond this. According to Al-Akhbar, the Houthis contacted Hamas to ask for coordinates inside Israel in a bid to target them with Yemeni missiles and drones. However, Hamas informed Sanaa that the situation in the battlefield was ‘very good’. An unverified report by IRGC-linked Mashregh News claimed that a Yemeni from the Houthi stronghold of Saada was killed in Gaza during the conflict, becoming ‘the first Yemeni martyr in the fight against the Zionist enemy’.

The Houthis, a longstanding Iranian proxy, view their war in Yemen as part of the regional IRGC jihad to destroy Israel, hence their slogan, adapted from Iran’s own: ‘Death to America! Death to Israel! Curse on the Jews! Victory to Islam!’ Comments like those of Houthi politburo member Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Mahbashi (‘The only path is the path to Jerusalem, the path of Jihad against the Jews’) are ubiquitous, and the Houthis openly recruit Yemenis to ‘liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque’ in Jerusalem.

Rockets and drones were launched from Lebanon and Syria, and possibly Iraq, by Iran’s proxies, indicating coordination across all the fronts. Islamic Jihad’s al-Halabi summarised this coordination, saying: ‘The axis between Jerusalem and Beirut, the axis between Jerusalem and Baghdad, the axis between Jerusalem and Damascus, the axis between Jerusalem and Sanaa, and first and foremost, the axis between Jerusalem and Tehran—it is a victorious axis.’

Al-Akhbar observed that this new round of fighting was different because of the intertwining of the efforts of all of the IRGC’s regional clients and proxies. That, said the report, was ‘a new equation established by the resistance forces in the last battle’, something recently reiterated by the IRGC’s Iraqi proxy Kataib Hezbollah, which declared its ‘entry into deterrence equation’ against Israel should there be another war.

Given how integrated the Palestinian terrorist factions are in the IRGC proxy network, and how operationally dependent they are on it, it’s not clear why media and other commentary almost universally failed to mention the central Iranian role.

The longstanding aim of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad is to destroy Israel and to establish an Islamic state. Their war has little relation to tensions in Jerusalem, though many promote this linkage. Rather, it is an outgrowth of Iran’s ongoing pan-Islamic crusade against Israel’s existence.

Author
Oved Lobel is a policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.


 

Falcon29

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Bullshit fake garbage, there was no joint coordination of any kind. Just Hamas attempting to persuade them to fight alongside for sake of Jerusalem. Hezb-AlShaytaan cowards rejected, Hamas made some of its own men fire from Lebanon and was gonna continue it if conflict continued. It actually made relationship more tense, but Hezb-AlShaytaan can't do anything about it. They and Iran rely on Palestinians for their 'resistance' image farce and they are screwed if they try to publicly oppose Hamas in any way.

Hezb-AlShaytaan cowards are cursed ever since Nasrallah with cooperation of Assad and Iranian regime took out Imad Mugineyeh on purpose because he refused to allow the group to be used in regional conflicts to advance Iranian nationalist interests. Ever since, they never got into one conflict with Israel and Lebanon is literally on verge of collapse and mass revolution at the moment.

Iran need Hamas for resistance image. Without Hamas, Iran is rendered into a Persian expansionist nationalist state and regime which will be confronted in unified manner across the whole region.
 
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SalarHaqq

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Hack-Hook

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Thanks for these interesting pieces of news, brother. Hamas' ties with the Resistance are as solid as ever. This recent visit to Beirut by Haniyeh is further proof. Documented facts speak louder than gratuitous, unsubstantiated rants.
Hamas ties with resistance is strong as ever, it means they attached themselves to resistance till GCC open the coffer and start giving them money.

well its my belief based on my previous experiences and no amount of argument can change that. I saw them backstabbing us again and again and again.
 

Stryker1982

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Bullshit fake garbage, there was no joint coordination of any kind. Just Hamas attempting to persuade them to fight alongside for sake of Jerusalem. Hezb-AlShaytaan cowards rejected, Hamas made some of its own men fire from Lebanon and was gonna continue it if conflict continued. It actually made relationship more tense, but Hezb-AlShaytaan can't do anything about it. They and Iran rely on Palestinians for their 'resistance' image farce and they are screwed if they try to publicly oppose Hamas in any way.
You are missing such a serious point, and stop projecting yourself onto others by continuously using the word "coward" while living in America. It's embarrassing. Have you ever even been conscripted before? Have you ever even fired a gun before Imao. You are the only person on this forum that has continuously used this word.

You keep talking about Persian nationalistic interests, yet Hezbollah did not engage in the war because it PRIORITIZES their own country over Iran. I'm sorry, but did you want Lebanon high rises to also be bombed as to satisfy your hopes and dreams while sitting in your apartment in the USA?

If Lebanese people, or Hezbollah for that matter who has to take Lebanese interests in its consideration choose not to engage, then that is their choice and it's for the safety of their own peoples. Especially when their are people like you that speak harshly like this to the people you demand to risk themselves for you. You call someone a dog, and then get angry when they don't help.

You have a serious case of cognitive dissonance or just very temperamental and uneducated. You give way to much credit to Iran for things they have no control over, and Iran can't force Lebanon into war.
 

Falcon29

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You are missing such a serious point, and stop projecting yourself onto others by continuously using the word "coward" while living in America. It's embarrassing. Have you ever even been conscripted before? Have you ever even fired a gun before Imao. You are the only person on this forum that has continuously used this word.
Yes, because firing gun makes you less of a coward. If that was case, IR regime would have responded to Solimenai killing and Israeli attacks. Meanwhile, your friend @SalarHaqq is using vpn to false flag and hide his location which is USA.

You keep talking about Persian nationalistic interests, yet Hezbollah did not engage in the war because it PRIORITIZES their own country over Iran. I'm sorry, but did you want Lebanon high rises to also be bombed as to satisfy your hopes and dreams while sitting in your apartment in the USA?
What did I tell people of forum, they make all kinds of excuses against jihad against Israel. Even though they proclaim to be resistance bearer of jihad against Israel. They want Yemeni homes and high rises bombarded for sake of bombing other Muslims, but nothing can happen to poor innocent Israel, which to them is much lesser evil than Saudi Arabia. And Israel is Jewish which is partner against Muslims in region, so no reason to fight them.

If Lebanese people, or Hezbollah for that matter who has to take Lebanese interests in its consideration choose not to engage, then that is their choice and it's for the safety of their own peoples. Especially when their are people like you that speak harshly like this to the people you demand to risk themselves for you. You call someone a dog, and then get angry when they don't help.
Hezb-AlShaytaan and Iranian regime need to keep silent about 'resistance' and stop killing Muslims in name of 'resistance against Israel' if they are as you describe, a bunch of cowards who only looking after their interests. I don't think you see what other IR supporters spreading here on the forum, suggesting IR is fighting on behalf of God and is gonna end Israeli regime any second now.

Anyhow, next conflict we do not care, whole region will be forced in if they continue resisting God's will.
 

SalarHaqq

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Hamas ties with resistance is strong as ever, it means they attached themselves to resistance till GCC open the coffer and start giving them money.
I doubt this will happen again any time soon. The PGCC states have recognized / are in the process of recognizing the zionist occupation regime.

Zionists pose an existential threat to Iran - and to all other nations, in fact, but Iran is their upmost priority because Iran's the only meaningful state actor which dares to resist their domination. They will not rest until Iran is effectively balkanized and in ruins.

So in addition to Iran's principled stance and ideology, even a purely utilitarian cost/benefit analysis will always tend to favor continued support for Hamas, since whatever they could do which goes against Iran's interests, it is nothing much compared to what Iran gains from keeping alive the Resistance against zionist occupation in Palestine. Without Iran, the Resistance would hardly survive for long, and this in turn would only strengthen the regime in Tel Aviv ie Iran's actual arch-enemy.

__________

Meanwhile, your friend @SalarHaqq is using vpn to false flag and hide his location which is USA.
@waz @WebMaster

Could this person be made to stop harassing me by inventing stories about my location? If I responded in kind, the user would probably resort to even more severe violations of forum rules. Thanks.
 
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