Deter, degrade: Why Israel keeps bombing Iran in Syria - Washington Examiner

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Israel has again shown its determination to deter and degrade Iran’s missile threat to its territory. It has done so with new airstrikes overnight Sunday, focused on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps positions in Syria.

No one should be surprised with Israel’s action. From an Israeli security standpoint, Iran’s positioning of advanced rocket platforms in southern Syria is wholly unacceptable. Those weapons are seen as an exigent threat to Israeli civil society and thus to Israel’s democratic health. Still, the Israeli military response here is proportionate. The latest airstrikes were only authorized following a failed Iranian missile attack on Tuesday. And Israel has a determined purpose here beyond punishing Iranian malfeasance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to urgently make clear to Tehran that its benefits from missile activities will be outweighed by severe costs.

It’s a legitimate understanding. The commander of the IRGC warned on Monday that Israel “should only know that you are playing with lion’s tail. You should fear the day when Iran’s precision-striking missiles rain down on your heads roaring.”

Yet the need for and morality of these airstrikes is clear. Netanyahu has previously attempted to win Russian President Vladimir Putin’s constraint of Iranian activity. But that effort having failed, Israel is taking confidence from its advantages in long-range striking capability. While the Russians are embarrassed that Israel is striking Iranian positions right under the nose of Russian-enabled air defense networks, Moscow is unlikely to activate those networks against Israeli jets. To do so would be to invite Israeli annihilation of the networks.

That leaves us where we are. With Iran determined to harass northern Israel, and Israel committed to altering Iran’s interest in that effort. Considering the resolve of both sides, these latest airstrikes will almost certainly not be the last.