Iran: The War With Israel Gets Hot Or Not

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May 10, 2018: In Syria IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) commanders have gone on the offensive against Israel and early today launched at least twenty rockets at Israeli targets in the Golan Heights. The Iron Dome batteries there apparently handled this attack. In response, Israeli air and missile strikes against Iranian targets in Syria began and will continue until the “Iranian threat” in Syria is eliminated. That may take a while as the IRGC and Quds Force have established a presence in many parts of Assad controlled Syria as well as in southern Lebanon. One of the Israeli attacks against an Iranian base outside Damascus killed at least eight Iranians as even more non-Iranians. These losses (which are reported in Iran as “martyrs” and celebrated as defenders of Iran against American and Israeli aggression) don’t always create the desired effect in Iran. More and more Iranians see the IRGC and Quds Force as a bunch of thugs who are looking out for themselves and not the Iranian people. The Israelis appear well aware of this attitude and seem to have gone after all (at least fifty) the IRGC/Quds targets them have identified in Syria. This is just the first day. Israel also announced that it would go after (kill) Basher Assad himself if any Iranian missile attack hit Tel Aviv (the administrative capital of Israel as opposed to Jerusalem, the official capital and home of many Moslems and Islamic holy places and thus not the best target for an Iranian missile attack).

The Iranian internal tensions have been growing for years and are now becoming more public. The nationwide late 2017 Iranian anti-government demonstrations came as a shock to many government officials but was no surprise to ordinary Iranians. The increased tensions over the 2015 sanctions treaty, the nuclear program and the failure of the Iranian government to deliver on anything (the economy, the destruction of Israel and the United States or anything else). The IRGC casualties in Syria will not necessarily cause Iranians to back their government. Israel believes all these attacks on IRGC facilities in Syria will destroy months of IRGC efforts to build an Iranian military presence in Syria. Replacing all these losses will be expensive and that cost will not be popular with most Iranians either. By attacking so many targets on the first day Israel is also seeking to intimidate the IRGC, who thought they were hiding their presence in many of these locations.

Small, Silent And Surprisingly Effective

Apparently, the Israelis are carrying out a lot of their airstrikes with the American SDB II (GBU-39B). This can be seen from some of the bomb fragments Syria has displayed. The SDB (Small Diameter Bomb) is basically an unpowered missile which can glide long distances. This makes the SDB even more compact, capable, and expensive (about $70,000 for SDB I and four times that for SDB II). The small wings allow the SDB to glide up to 70-80 kilometers (from high altitude). SDB also has a hard front end that can punch through nearly three meters (eight feet) of rock or concrete and a warhead that does less damage than the usual dumb bomb (explosives in a metal casing). That’s because the SDB warhead carries only 17 kg (38 pounds) of explosives, compared to 127 kg (280 pounds) in the 500 pound bomb. While the original SBD would land 5-8 meters (16-25 feet) of the aiming point the SDB II had guidance system options that enabled it to land within a meter (three feet). The SBD II began mass production in 2016 and this version of the SDB was designed to be carried internally by the F-35.

The SDB was supposed to be a revolutionary weapon and in many ways it was. But there was not as much demand as expected because there so many other small, precision weapons available. Even the availability of the SDB II, which can hit vehicles going at high speed and in bad weather, did not boost sales as much as anticipated. SDB II has an encrypted data link that enables the F-35 pilot to guide the SDB, with great precision, to hit moving targets. This communications capability enables the SDB movement to be controlled via the air force's airborne Internet (Link 16), which means the “bomb driver” can be anywhere, even another aircraft or on the ground. The SDB II has three different guidance systems: radar, heat seeker, and homing on laser light bounced off the target. That means no matter what the weather or time of day there is a guidance system that will find the target. Even without human intervention, the three sensors enable SDB II to find targets in a cluttered and obscured (by weather or darkness) environment. Israel has apparently found SDB II useful for attacking targets in Syria without risking Israeli aircraft (which can stay 50 kilometers or more from heavily defended targets). The 130 kg (285 pound) SDB entered service in 2006 and is surprisingly compact (170mm in diameter and 176cm/69 inches long). It is a difficult target for air defense systems to spot and even for difficult for anti-aircraft missiles to hit.

The War At Home

Back in Iran president Hassan Rouhani (a cleric himself) is not afraid of accusing the senior clergy of not dealing with the very real problems most Iranians live with. The senior clergy and their IRGC protectors repeated their ultimate defense against criticism; that the senior Shia clergy are infallible in religious matters and Islam is all about religion controlling all aspects of life. Most Iranians care more about practical matters, like having a job or a least enough money to live. Most Iranians can do the basic math required to see why 80 percent of Iranians are, technically, living in poverty. The 20 percent who are not includes a lot of clerics and their families. IRGC officers and their children tend to do quite well. Another troubling statistic is how much the government has been spending on the war in Syria since 2012. Long before Israeli agents made off with details of the Iranian nuclear program there were Iranians collecting data on what the Syria war was costing Iran. The government downplayed the cost and declared the Iranian presence in Syria as a religious duty and a crucial step in the effort to destroy Israel. But now most Iranians understand that Syria was costing Iran $10-20 billion a year, which is about twice what the government spends to help the poorest Iranians (which happens to include a majority of Iranians). Iran’s religious leaders know this is why the late 2017 nationwide demonstrations included many groups that had long supported the religious dictatorship but were not in opposition because their leaders were making it clear that the welfare of the Iranian people, including those who long supported the clerics, was less important than propping up a murderous dictator in Syria who happened to be Shia. Then there was the issue of blaming all misfortunes on Israel or the Americans. The United States has always been a popular place for most Iranians and many still would move to America if they could get out of Iran. The Internet makes it easy for the Iranian-Americans to let the folks back in the old country what the U.S. (the “Great Satan” according to the Iranian clerics) is really like. There is still mandatory “death to America” demonstrations in Iran but all concerned have noted that most Iranians just go through the motions and would rather go to America than stand around shouting “Death to America.”

Rouhani and the members of parliament are elected, but only candidates approved by the senior clergy can run for office. These same senior clerics (or “Guardians”) can veto any decision Rouhani makes or law that the parliament passes. Despite that, a lot of critics (of the Guardians) get elected and increasingly are more frequently calling out the Guardians for failing the Iranian people.

IRGC leaders were particularly harsh in criticizing Rouhani and other senior clerics who describe the IRGC as a corrupt organization. There is an element of self-interest here because Rouhani had agreed with most Iranians that the IRGC controls too much of the economy. Iranians also accuse the IRGC of backing the expensive Iranian effort to support the Assad government in Syria and the expensive effort to create another threat to Israel. Most Iranians don’t want to fight Israel and believe all the recent troubles (Mossad stealing secret documents from a government warehouse, Israel bombing numerous, and expensive, Iranian weapons shipments to Iran and killing some IRGC troops in the process) puts all of Iran in danger, not just the IRGC. Moreover, the IRGC is a wealthy organization and less likely to suffer as the Iranian economy stalls because of the possibility of war with Israel and the return of heavy sanctions.

The 2015 Treaty

The Americans abandoning the 2015 treaty was not a violation of the treaty because the U.S. used a provision of the treaty to exit the deal. The American president, as required by the treaty, had to regularly certify to the American legislature that the terms of the treaty were being met. For a number of reasons, including the recent Israeli revelations, the most recent certification was not made and Iran was accused by the U.S. of all sorts of bad behavior. The other nations that signed the treaty say, for now, they will continue to support the treaty. This is important for Iran because it means they can still sell their oil and import a lot of industrial and consumer goods. Longer term the situation is not so good. The Americans and Israelis are on a roll and intent on exposing much more Iranian bad behavior. In some cases, Iranians will be a source, but in all cases, Iranians will be consumers of such news and that weakens the control the Iranian clerics have over the Iranian government.

President Rouhani has offered to continue the 2015 treaty with the other participants if those countries, especially the European ones, can ensure that Iran does not suffer from the American withdrawal. This puts the Europeans on the spot because they have to consider this proposal at the same time more and more evidence of Iranian bad behavior surfaces. This is largely because Israel is allowing the European nations to send their own intel and nuclear weapons experts to examine the huge trove of Iranian documents. So far these documents have been toxic for Iran and any Iranian claims to never having had a nuclear weapons program.

The Iranian Way Of War

Until now the Iranian government preferred to retaliate against Israel indirectly. Iran has long used foreign proxies (like Hezbollah, Hamas or other non-Iranian Islamic terrorists) to attack Israel. Iran does not have modern weapons (because of decades of sanctions) and Iranian leaders are smart enough to realize that Iran itself trying to attack Israel would most likely result in another humiliating Iranian defeat. Israel has anti-missile defenses against Iranian ballistic missiles. Yet Iran has enough of these missiles to attempt a “saturation attack” on Israel using explosive or chemical warheads. Iran could also use a “dirty” warhead by adding radioactive material to a high explosive warhead. A few of these missiles landing in Israel, especially in a major urban area, would be a great propaganda victory. But Israel also has ballistic missiles (armed with nuclear warheads) and, worse, hundreds of modern fighter-bombers that could hit two key economic targets using smart bombs. These two targets are Kharg Island, in the Persian Gulf. This is the main export facility for 90 percent of oil and gas exports) Income from these exports pay for over a third of the government budget and these facilities cannot be rebuilt quickly. The other economic target is Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. This is the main container port handling some 90 percent of containers bringing in foreign goods, like items needed to repair damage to Kharg Island. Bandar Abbas is where all the modern tech and consumer goods arrive. Shutting down Bandar Abbas for months, or more would be quickly felt by most Iranians. With Arab states between Israel and Iran now allowing Israeli airstrikes free passage, the Israeli air strikes are certain to succeed and inflict major damage.

If a dirty bomb or chemical warhead were used Iran would be portrayed as the evil (and ineffective) aggressor while Israel hits Iran where it hurts most. The Iranian religious dictatorship is under a lot of pressure to provide some relief for years of poverty and unemployment. The 2015 treaty that lifted sanctions was supposed to help but it didn’t. Instead, the government spends billions on the war in Syria. That effort has not yet improved Iranian capabilities when it comes to destroying Israel. That’s because the Assad government forces (including most of the 50,000 Iranian mercenaries in Syria) are still busy with the remaining rebels and ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) fighters. In Lebanon, the Iranian financed Hezbollah is not very enthusiastic about going to war with Israel. That’s because the two million Lebanese Shia that are the main support for Hezbollah are unhappy with the thousands of Lebanese Shia who have been killed or crippled fighting in Syria. Iran insisted that Hezbollah send forces to Syria in 2012 and even though Iran was paying combat bonuses, death benefits and for extended medical care, the Lebanese Shia were, in general, unhappy about the losses suffered from fighting in an Iranian war. Israel has told Lebanon and Hezbollah that a repeat of the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel would result in even heavier losses for Hezbollah and Lebanon. Hezbollah leaders pretend to be unafraid but the opinion polls in Lebanon say otherwise.

So as humiliated as the Iranian rulers are by the latest Israeli efforts (grabbing all those nuclear documents in February and regularly bombing weapons shipments to Syria) they understand Iranian options are not promising. Given the growing popular opposition the religious dictatorship is facing inside Iran, another major defeat inflicted by Israel is not an attractive option. New ideas are being sought and retaliation is not yet ruled out but retaliation is seen as a move that would make things worse for Iran.

More Embarrassing Iranian Generosity

Iran is financing a resettlement operation in Syria that brings in Shia families from Lebanon, Afghanistan and elsewhere to replace the third of the Syrian population that fled the country during the civil war. Nearly all these refugees were Sunni Arabs and the Assads (who are Shia) don’t want them back. The Lebanese Hezbollah are supervising the resettlement program by bringing in Shia Arab Lebanese attracted by the offer of free land and housing. Actually, the buildings may have suffered some war damage but are repairable. Hezbollah fighters are actively preventing Syrian Sunnis from returning and reoccupying their land and homes.

Semites United

Saudi Arabia reminded everyone that if Iran resumes its work on nuclear weapons Saudi Arabia will do so as well. Most Arab nations, as well as Israel, backed the American decision to abandon the 2015 treaty. One thing all the Semitic (Israel and Arab) nations can agree on is that Iran is a threat to all of them. That said the Arabs see Iran concentrating their fury on Israel as a bonus because the Israelis are the most militarily experienced and powerful of the Semitic nations and most able to defeat Iran. Besides Israel is also the only Semitic nation with nukes. If Iran takes a beating in Syria that would make it easier for the Arab Coalition to end the Shia rebellion in Yemen and eliminate the Iranian influence there.

Meanwhile, the Saudis are quietly getting American special operations and intelligence assistance to find Iranian ballistic missile facilities in rebel held Yemen. This indirectly involves the Israelis as the American and Israelis have been jointing developing these special operations and intelligence techniques since the 1990s when the ballistic missile threat from Iran and Iraq became a reality in the wake of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war.

The Iranian threat in Yemen is growing worse as Iran introduces new weapons. In April the Arab Coalition encountered Iranian Qusaf-1 UAVs armed with explosives. These come in the wake of Iranian ballistic missiles, naval mines, anti-ship missiles and remotely controlled boats loaded with explosives. A lot of these Iranian weapons are directed at Saudi Arabia.

May 9, 2018: In response to the Americans withdrawing from the 2015 sanctions treaty Iran is using a carrot and stick response. The carrot is offered to maintain the treaty if European signatories compensate Iran for any losses suffered by the Americans imposing sanctions again. That may not work but it will cause tension between the Europeans and Americans which is considered a plus for Iran, China and Russia. This could get interesting because the Iranians may feel a need to shake down the Europeans for as much cash as they can get. That may cause the Europeans to rethink their Iran policy. The stick is the threat to resume their nuclear development efforts (which appears to have already happened) get more violent in Syria (this has already happened) and make more trouble wherever they can. Meanwhile, there is more unrest in Iran, mostly against the Iranian government. Iran also had the Shia rebels in Yemen fire three more ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia. Two missiles were short range and were aimed at targets just across the border in Jizan province. The other missile was aimed at the Saudi capital and all three missiles were apparently intercepted by Patriot missiles.

May 8, 2018: The U.S. announced it was withdrawing from the 2015 deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in return for Iran halting a nuclear weapons program Iran insisted did not exist. While this American action was expected, when it actually happened Iran threatened retaliation. The other nations involved in the 2015 treaty (Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany) indicated they would, for now, try to make the treaty work. That would be difficult given the large role the Americans always played enforcing the sanctions and the threats Iran is making that would definitely violate the treaty. Many Iranians believed the Americans would withdraw from the treaty, especially after Israel went public with the Iranian nuclear weapons programs Mossad had found and got smuggled out of Iran in January. Israel spent months getting these documents authenticated while the news that the documents had been taken slowly went from rumor to reality in the three months between the documents were taken and Israel announced it.

Iranians with cash and especially many businesses are reacting to all this by seeking to convert their rials into dollars. As a result, The Iranian currency (the rial) hit an all-time low against the dollar. By the first week of May, it cost over 75,000 rials to buy one dollar. In mid-April it cost about 62,000 rials versus late 2017 when it cost about 38,000 rials. Compare this to early 2013 when it cost about 40,000 rials and in late 2011 12,000 (long the official rate). The value of the rial (in buying dollars) has dropped sharply before, but never as bad as this. The rising costs of imports (because you need more Iranian rials to buy dollars) means a lot of poor families cannot afford essentials, like medicines. The middle class can’t buy a lot of consumer goods because of this and even the wealthy have to pay more for their goodies. Because of continued hostility by the outside world, most Iranians find that economic conditions have not really improved since 2015 and that is not just a concern of the average Iranian but many of the rich and powerful as well.

While the Iranian government does not like to admit it, most Iranian business owners, especially those who handle imports or exports, realize that the American sanctions are the most crippling because of the impact the United States has on the international banking system. China, Russia, Iran and others have long talked to getting away from this dependence on the dollar but so far have been unable to do so and thus remain vulnerable to this form of American economic sanctions.

May 4, 2018: In the Persian Gulf the U.S. Navy is trying to figure out what has happened to the Iranian navy, especially the naval units controlled by the IRGC. Since the end of 2017 the Iranian ships have basically stayed in port. This may have had something to do with the nationwide anti-government demonstrations that took place at the end of 2017. But those demonstrations ended in January 2018. The last clash between American and Iranian naval forces took place in July 2017 when an American Cyclone class patrol boat opened fire on some aggressive IRGC boats and the Iranians backed off, as they had done in several similar incidents during 2017 when American warships acted aggressively to any threatening moves by Iranian warships.

May 2, 2018: Representatives from Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian Kurdish groups met in Iran to hear Iranian proposals for how it would be more beneficial to accept Iranian support instead of the American backing Kurds have come to prefer. The Kurds cannot ignore the Iranians but apparently still prefer the Americans.

May 1, 2018: Throughout the country, people were outside protesting the government ban on the using the encrypted messaging app “Telegram” in Iran. It is believed that about half of all Iranian Internet users regularly employed Telegram to communicate. The company that runs Telegram refused to provide any government with a way to read encrypted Telegram messages. The government issued the order on April 30th and within a week most Iranian Telegram users had found ways to get around the government ban and continue using Telegram.

On April 23rd Russia ordered hundreds of IP addresses blocked, believing that would prevent Russians from using Telegram. It did, but not for everyone. An unexpected side effect of this censorship campaign was to disrupt a lot of vital (for many Russian users) Google services. Telegram was founded by a Russian entrepreneur after he fled Russia in 2014 because of disagreements with the government over censorship and corruption. Telegram had been temporarily blocked in Iran during December and January to help suppress nationwide protests against the government. But the permanent ban has brought forth complaints from many senior government officials and the permanent ban has a lot of oppositions among the senior government leadership. These officials, like their Arab counterparts throughout the region, recognize that Iranians are very resourceful and those talents can be used against Iranians as well as non-Iranians.

April 30, 2018: The Israeli prime minister went on TV to show the huge number (over 110,000) of documents Mossad (Israeli intel) agents had taken from a warehouse in Iran. Mossad used Iranian smugglers to get it across the border to Azerbaijan and then to Israel all in less than 24 hours. The Mossad operation, which involved moving half a ton of documents, took place in at the end of January and the Iranian effort to send a bomb laden UAV into Israel on February 10th is seen as a response to the Mossad operation. Since the documents arrived in Israel American, Israeli and other foreign experts (on intelligence, nuclear weapons and Iranian technical capabilities) translated and scrutinized the huge haul of information and concluded that the documents were authentic and proved that Iran does have a nuclear weapons program, something they have always denied. Opinion polls conducted in Israel after the prime minister’s revelations showed that 58 percent of Israeli Jews support how the government is handling the Iranian threat.

The Mossad operation in January that got top-secret Iranian nuclear weapons program documents out of Iran has provided Iranian leaders with multiple aftershocks. For one thing, most Iranians don’t care about the document theft. No Iranians were injured in the operation, it was assumed to have been made possible by the widespread corruption in Iran and an Iranian religious dictatorship that seems to care more about destroying Israel than improving the lives of Iranians. When news of the Mossad operation were made public by the Israelis at the end of April the public opinion polls in Iran showed that most Iranians didn’t care and those that paid any attention to the matter felt it was just another example of how incompetent their government was and why change was needed. The Iranian government was justifiably concerned that publicizing these documents, as Israel was now doing, would lead to the cancellation of the 2015 treaty that lifted sanctions on Iran. The stolen documents show that the nuclear program did exist and apparently is still underway disguised as many different scientific research projects.

Iran always insisted that it never had a nuclear weapons program even though the Israelis had uncovered much evidence that the program existed and the attitude of most Iranians was that the program existed and why not because Iran had long been the regional superpower. But since the 2015 treaty went into effect the promised economic improvements for most Iranians have not happened and at the end of 2017 that triggered widespread public protests against the religious dictatorship. The Shia clerics who run the government have been arguing openly about how to deal with these problems and now the hardline Shia clerics, who insist that destroying Israel be the main priority of Iran, are humiliated by the nuclear documents theft going public. Some of the hardliners want to do whatever it takes to strike back at Israel but most Iranians see Israel as an unofficial ally in the popular effort to get rid of the religious dictatorship in Iran. This is nothing new. In the wake of the American-British invasion of Iraq in 2003, and quick (three weeks) overthrow of the Saddam Hussein government, many Iranians openly called for the Americans to come invade Iran and get rid of the religious dictatorship that had been ruling Iran since the 1980s on the promise they would one day “get Saddam” for invading Iran in 1980 and starting a war that neither side was able to win. That counted as an Iranian defeat to most Iranians and to make matters worse the chaos of the war allowed Shia clerics to take, and keep, control of the government. Before that Israel and Iran were allies and a growing number of Iranians seeing that as a better arrangement than the current one. All this gives little comfort, and not many options, for the Iranian leadership.

In Iran, the government had to respond to this Israeli revelation and did so by ordering the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for guarding the stolen documents.

April 29, 2018: Israeli warplanes attacked a Syrian base near Aleppo containing a large number of Iranian missiles that had recently been flown in from Iran to the Hama airport. The presence of these missiles was obvious because of the intensity of the secondary explosions as the Israel missiles detonated some of the Iranian missiles which set off a chain reaction and a series of explosions so large that it registered as a mild (2.6 on the Richter scale) earthquake on sensors as far away as Europe. All these explosions killed 40 people, including 18 Iranians and 22 Iranian mercenaries. Another 60 people were wounded. At least 13 buildings, including some large warehouses, were destroyed or heavily damaged. The next day satellite photos were released showing the extent (considerable) of the damage (massive). In response of the attack, the Israeli parliament voted to give the prime minister to declare war because it was obvious Iran was supporting preparations for another attack on Israel by Hezbollah and Iranian mercenaries in Syria.

April 26, 2018: An Israeli commercial satellite photo company released recent photos showing renewed activity at the underground Iranian Fordo uranium enrichment plant. As part of the 2015 treaty to lift sanctions Iran agreed to use Fordo for something non-nuclear. But now major changes are taking place at Fordo.

April 24, 2018: Iran is openly pressuring the Iraqi government to stop taxing Iranian goods exported to Iraq and instead tax similar goods coming from Saudi Arabia. The problem is that many Iraqis feel more comfortable increasing trade with Saudi Arabia, which does not seek to control Iraq like Iran does.

April 23, 2018: Israeli defense officials have repeated warnings to Russia about delivering S-300 anti-aircraft systems to the Syrian government. Iran already has some S-300 systems. Israeli opposition is something the Russians have to take seriously. The Israelis recognize that the S-300 is a modern system that has capabilities. What is not said is that Israel can defeat the S-300 but would prefer not to do so in Syria. That would expose some of the techniques Israel has developed to deal with the S-300 and enable Russia to create and install S-300 upgrades that would force Israel to develop new countermeasures. That would take time and meanwhile, S-300 systems in Iran would be more dangerous to Israeli warplanes. But in the midst of all this Russian would be taking a hit as well because if the Israelis demonstrated in Syria that the S-300 could be defeated it would be much more difficult for Russia to sell these systems to export customers.

April 18, 2018: Iran and Iraq signed an agreement whereby Iran will assist Iraq in rebuilding its military industries and production facilities.

April 17, 2018: In the southeast, across the border in Pakistan (Baluchistan) several Iranian Baluchi separatists based in Pakistan crossed the Iranian border at night and clashed with Iranian border guards. Three Baluchis were killed as were three Iranians. The surviving Baluchis apparently fled back into Pakistan and Iran urged Pakistan to look into the matter.

April 16, 2018: Iran has threatened to retaliate against Israel for the latest attack on Iranian facilities at the T4 base in Syria. These threats were not unexpected but so far Iran has not been able to carry out an attack on Israel itself. Iran has been supporting efforts from its allies in Gaza but there has been nothing but failures so far. Israel recently revealed that the Iranian UAV shot down on February 10th as it entered Israeli airspace was armed with explosives. The UAV incident prompted the attack on Iranian UAV bases in Syria. Another reason for the T4 attack was also revealed; Iran had just set up a new air-defense system that might have made a later attack less successful. Meanwhile, the Iranian inability to strike a blow against Israel is making the Iranian radicals (IRGC, Quds) back in Iran look bad at a time when they are under attack for corruption and brutally suppressing widespread protests by Iranians against the misrule of the Iranian radicals and the religious dictatorship the radicals serve. To make matters even worse the radicals campaign against Saudi Arabia and other Arab oil states has resulted in the Saudis openly siding with Israel and reveling in the apparent Iranian inability to hurt Israel. All this makes for a dangerous situation as the Iranians are notorious sore losers and far more adept with technology than the Arabs.

April 14, 2018: There were reports of explosions at an Iranian base outside Aleppo. Iran denied that this was the result of another Israeli air strike and insisted the explosions were part of rebuilding the base. Earlier in the day the United States, Britain and France launched 105 missiles at three Syrian facilities that developed, produced and stored Syrian chemical weapons.

April 11, 2018: Iran denies any involvement with providing ballistic missiles to the Yemen Shia rebels but has, again, offered to assist the UN in persuading the Shia rebels to discuss peace terms. Iran has done this before and no one expects anything to come of it. For Iran, the Shia rebels are a low-risk/high payoff investment because it keeps their Arab enemies busy and looking bad in the media.

 

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