The IDF has begun a new mission on Israel's border with Lebanon, dubbing it Operation Northern Shield. The Jerusalem Post's Seth J. Frantzman reports that the operation comes amid rising threats from Iran and its terror proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah:
Iran launched a new warship and tested a ballistic missile in the days before Israel launched Operation Northern Shield. Hezbollah released a video threatening sites throughout Israel. In addition, tensions in Syria have risen after a mysterious air strike south of Damascus last Thursday. Hezbollah claimed its fighters were not hurt in that air strike.
In the last year, as the Syrian civil war has wound down and the Syrian regime, backed by Iran and Russia, has largely defeated the Syrian rebels, Iran’s influence has grown. Iran has constructed a corridor of influence stretching from Tehran via Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut. This “road to the sea” enabled Iran to funnel weapons to Syria and its Hezbollah ally.
The IDF revealed in September that it had carried out more than 200 air strikes against Iran in the last year and a half. One of those strikes led to the downing of a Russian IL-20 in September, when Syrian air defense S-200s mistakenly shot down the Russian plane in Latakia while trying to defend against an attack.
Then Russia deployed the S-300 air defense system to Syria and has been training Syrians to use it. The Institute for the Study of War warned on November 30 that Russia’s air defense network was expanding in Syria.
The overall picture in Syria and Lebanon is of increasing Iranian activity, especially amid the Syrian regime’s attempt to consolidate its control...