Washington – Tensions between Iran and Israel have sharply exacerbated after the Israeli airstrikes on the Iranian positions in Syria. Dan Coats, the Director of US National Intelligence warned that Iran was likely to retaliate if Israel launched fresh attacks on their positions in Syria, resulting in a full-blown war in the region. According to the US security agencies, analysts from the Middle East have also made similar claims.
During a hearing before the Senate, the US Director of National Intelligence voiced concerns over the risk of escalation of the violent conflict in the Middle East. Dan Coats made the statement based on the information from 16 US intelligence agencies. He further added that ‘Iran has not retaliated against the Israeli attacks on Iranian or Hezbollah locations in Syria so far. However, Israeli strikes that result in Iranian casualties increase the likelihood of their retaliation against Israel with missiles’.
Coats underscored that Iran was firm on its policy to pursue permanent military bases in Syria despite the Israeli attacks on their positions. Iran intended to establish a network of Shiite militias in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, Coats said. He raised concerns over the situation saying that the Israeli attacks which aimed to destroy the network have not succeeded completely.
A few hours before Coats testified, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had also expressed the possibility of Iran striking Israel. Iran had launched missile attacks into Israel, following the Israeli attacks in Syria last week. Nevertheless, the ‘Iron Dome’ missile defence system deployed at the Golan Heights had neutralised the attacks. Although the next time, Iran would likely intensify its responses.
The statements of the Iranian military officials in response to the incident indicate towards the intensification of their responses. Iran would have to strike Israel to stop their attacks on Syria, the Iranian officials claim. In other words, the officials are making an explicit request for permission from Iran’s regime to attack Israel.
As per analysts from the Middle East, if an Israel-Iran war broke out, no country would be able to stop it. Moreover, the war would not remain limited to the two countries. Hezbollah and in turn Lebanon, as well as Hamas and other groups from the Gaza Strip as also other countries, would be dragged into the war. The analysts have, thus, highlighted that the war would have devastating effects.