Four days ago I relayed to this hallowed page Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's throwing down of the gauntlet to the Islamic Empire of Iran by exposing their wholesale flouting of the insane Iran nuclear "deal" - leading, dragging Donald Trump to his sluggardly belated withdrawal from it yesterday - and vowing to draw the Jewish State's own "red line" regarding any further Iranian encroachments on Israeli territory via Syria. Just as that column was going to press (i.e. right before I clicked the "publish to public" button) emerged the story that the Iranians were preparing to launch a barrage of missiles against Israeli positions in the Golan Heights using Shiite militias already deployed in Syria along with experts from Hezbollah.
It took them a few days and a bit of reshuffling, but last night they finally let fly - with less them optimal results:
Iranian forces in Syria shelled Israeli army outposts on Thursday but caused no casualties, the Israeli military said, and the Syrian military was later quoted as saying its air defences had confronted Israeli rocket fire on its territory.
It came a night after Syria accused Israel of striking one of its military bases south of Damascus, an attack that a war monitor said killed fifteen people including eight Iranians....
Conricus said that, in Thursday's attack, around twenty projectiles, most likely rockets, were fired by the Quds Force, an external arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, at around 12.10 a.m. [local time]
"A few of those rockets were intercepted" by Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, Conricus told reporters. "We are not aware of any casualties. The amount of damage that we currently assess is low."
Asked if Israel retaliated for the salvo, he said, "We have retaliated but I have no further details about this."
Israel launched repeated rounds of rocket fire into Syria early on Thursday, Syrian state media reported, after Israel's military said Iranian forces in Syria had shelled one of its outposts near the border.
The scale of Israeli rocket fire appeared to be far higher than in previous incidents and Damascus residents described seeing explosions above the city from air defence systems.
Israeli strikes on several areas of Syria overnight killed at least twenty three fighters, including five Syrian regime troops and eighteen other allied forces, a monitor said Thursday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an officer was among the regime troops killed in the strikes and that the casualties included foreigners.
Israel's army said it hit dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria.
The Russian defense ministry, whose country has forces in Syria supporting the regime, said twenty eight Israeli warplanes took part in the raids and around seventy missiles were fired.
Areas near Damascus and in the southwest of Syria were among the targets, the Observatory said.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli counter-attack against Al-Quds forces took out "nearly all" of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria.
It would seem that this round goes to Israel. Largely because the Iranians appear to have been unprepared for the scope of the response their attacks provoked. Let's stop and remember the substance of those attacks: uniformed Iranian forces directly bombarded Israeli forces on Israeli territory. Not terrorist strikes; not proxy forces; no "six degrees of separation". A direct act of war. That in and of itself is an escalation of the long war of words waged by the mullahgarchy into a war of lead. And Tehran got owned.
This exchange illustrates several things. One, Bibi says what he means and means what he says. He backed up his words from last weekend and he will continue to do so. Two, it sure looks like the Iranians were outclassed. Perhaps there's a reason why they typically hide behind proxies and use "asymmetrical" tactics (and are seeking nuclear weapons): their regular forces are no match for a modern, well-equipped Westernized military. This is why I would expect them to go back to their tried & true avenues and revive the old Hezbollah/Hamas two-step by ordering sustained ballistic missile strikes deep into Israel from Lebanon and Gaza. They'd got to tie Jerusalem down in order to regain a free hand to pursue their objectives in Syria. Clearly direct engagement isn't working. Might as well "dance with the one that brung ya".
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran had crossed a "red line" by firing rockets at Israeli forces from Syria, leading to major Israeli air strikes on Thursday in the neighboring country.
"Iran has crossed a red line. Our reaction was a consequence," the Israeli leader said in a video posted on social media.
"The Israeli army carried out an extensive attack against Iranian targets in Syria."
"We are in a prolonged campaign and our policy is clear: We will not allow Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria," Netanyahu said.
Which is to say, directly on Israel's northwest border.
Good thing Donald Trump has Bibi to do his fighting for him, isn't it? What will be Trump's reaction when our ally is again besieged from its northern and central fronts for its efforts? We'll probably soon find out.