Iran denies that it fired rockets at Israel from Syria late Wednesday. Syria claims its air defenses intercepted a considerable proportion of the missiles that Israel fired in its subsequent retaliation.
But even with such assiduous dissemination of fake news Thursday, and even in the fog of almost-war, it was perfectly clear that Iran’s attempt to batter the Israeli north overnight was thoroughly unsuccessful, and that Israel’s counterstrikes were highly effective.
For all that Iran’s semi-state Fars news agency claimed breathlessly that Israel had “come under attack” for the first time in decades by “tens of rockets” from Syria, four of the 20 rockets fired in Israel’s direction were actually intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense systems and the other 16 fell short — landing in Syrian territory….
This round of the conflict constituted a decisive success for Israel. But it was just that: only a round in the conflict — against a regime in Tehran that works relentlessly for the destruction of Israel.
For now, Iran’s own military capabilities in Syria are relatively limited.
For now, Iran has refrained from calling Hezbollah — which has 140,000 rockets and missiles deployed in south Lebanon, all pointing in Israel’s direction — into the action. …
A cornered Iran — losing members of its own military forces in the Israeli strikes, humiliated by Israel’s recent capture of its nuclear weapons archive, threatened by a US president less accommodating than his predecessor — is a serious danger. Outmatched in Syria for now, Iran, apart from Hezbollah, has other options for wreaking harm and havoc.
It has assets in Gaza, where Israeli forces have for weeks been grappling with mass border protests accompanied by Hamas-encouraged violence. In recent weeks, hundreds of Gazans have sought to breach the fence and get into Israel; last week, a mob attacked the Gazans’ own side of the main crossing used for supplies, trashing Gaza’s own fuel lines. More such protests and violence are expected Friday and in the days after that, in the run-up to next week’s opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. …
Before Wednesday night, Israel publicly vowed over and over that it would not allow Iran to build itself a significant military presence in Syria. Israel struck missile convoys and bases — sometimes acknowledging the strikes, sometimes allowing the facts to speak for themselves.
The Iranians were determined not to heed the message. And Wednesday night’s Israeli actions, however decisive, will not change their strategic goals.