In one of the most stunning and unprovoked attacks on an American ally in years, Iran launched a rocket attack on Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights region this week. The Iranian forces fired off approximately 20 rockets at the front line of the Israeli military, making this the first time that Iran (or the Syrian government, for that matter) has launched a direct attack on sovereign Israeli territory.
Israel did not hesitate to respond with a forceful retaliation on Thursday, unleashing a torrent of fighter jets and missiles that struck Iranian military compounds, ammunition stores, and intelligence operations facilities. According to Fox News, the counter-attack was “Israel’s largest air operation in Syria since the 1973 war.”
“The IDF will not allow the Iranian threat to establish itself in Syria. The Syrian regime will be held accountable for everything happening in its territory,” Israel said in a press release. “The IDF is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios.”
Thanks to Israeli defenses, including the Iron Dome, none of the Iranian rockets managed to do any damage to the nation or its military forces. But in their retaliation on Thursday, Israel let their geopolitical foes know that any attack would be met with “fire and fury” the likes of which Iran has not seen before.
And, of course, they have a very powerful ally in their corner.
“The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attack from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East.”
Even taking the U.S. out of the equation, Iran would have to be nearly suicidal to antagonize Israel further. Though the Islamic nation boasts more than twice the military manpower as their Jewish enemies, they are far behind when it comes to what matters most in modern warfare: Basic hardware. Iran’s military is backed up by a roughly $6 billion annual budget. That’s not nothing, but it doesn’t compare to the $20 billion a year spent by Israel. Furthermore, Israel has an extraordinary tactical advantage in any war that Iran has to wage from Syrian ground. We don’t imagine that Bashar al-Assad or Vladimir Putin will care to get involved, either.
More than likely, this was a one-off shot by the Iranians just to test Israeli defenses. They found much what Russian mercenaries found when they attacked U.S. forces in Syria a few months ago – defenses are, ahem, just fine.