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  • Writer's pictureCDR (ret.) Eyal Pinko, Ph.D.

Signs of war?

After several days of rocket fire from three fronts, Syria, Gaza, and Lebanon - are we just a few days before a war will break out against Israel? Was the shooting intended to test Israel's reactions in preparation for a campaign against it? The last few days' signs indicate this may be the case.

This coming Friday, April 14, the last Friday of Ramadan, Iran will celebrate Al-Quds Day. This day is intended to express general opposition to Zionism and Israel's control in Jerusalem. The Al-Quds Day events usually include demonstrations and street rallies in Iran, other Arab and Muslim countries, and among Israeli Arabs.

But will this coming Friday bring with it other news?

In the last few days, signs have accumulated that indicate the Iranian side's readiness for war. A few days ago (April 8), Iran's military forces announced they were on the highest alert. In addition, on the last day (April 9), the Revolutionary Guards Navy is conducting unusual exercises in the Straits of Hormuz; according to the Iranian press, this is to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. The New York Times even published (April 10) that the Revolutionary Guards are prepared to attack any ship in the Persian Gulf that carries the Israeli flag or is Israeli-owned.

On April 10, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "The Islamic countries have primary responsibility in the Palestinian issue. The existence of the Zionist regime is a threat to the stability and security of the region. The Palestinian people are at the forefront of the fight against a regime that will spread terror to all the region's countries. Helping the Palestinian nation is also supporting the oppressed and an action for planning and foresight and preventing the terrorist activities of the Zionist regime and the export of organized terrorism in the region. By insulting the holy places for Muslims, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Zionist regime has demonstrated that it will not spare any opportunity to continue its criminal activities against the Palestinian nation and the neighboring countries. Fortunately, we are witnessing the awakening of the Islamic nation. We are sure that on Quds Day, we will witness the riot of Muslim countries and all the free countries of the world in support of the oppressed Palestinian nation and the rights of the Palestinians."

This announcement comes a few days after the publication of the conversation between the Iranian President, Raisi, and the Syrian President, Assad, who said that "Israel's crimes are a sign of the regime's weakness and proof of the bright and promising future of the resistance front."

On the same day, Hezbollah's central council member, Nabil Kavek, announced that "Israel is experiencing its worst days since 1948 thanks to the equations of the resistance. It is on fire inside and outside." He also said that Hezbollah is at the forefront of aid to the Palestinians and the Palestinian resistance and will continue to do so without hesitation.

Sheikh Kamal Khatib, head of the northern faction of the Islamic movement in Israel, also tweeted this week and quoted a verse from the Koran about the Battle of Badr against the infidels. Then Khatib explains that the Muslims were few against many, weak against strong, yet the Muslims won because Ramadan is a month of victories and full of confidence that salvation will come soon.

The Taliban in Afghanistan was not left empty-handed either. Yesterday, the organization published a message of support for the Palestinians, stating that if the region's countries allow it, the organization will send some of its best fighters to fight on the soil of Israel.

Many publications and their extremism can be attributed to the riots on the Temple Mount and the expression of solidarity in the Palestinian factions involved in the riots.

But at the same time, on April 9, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah met in Beirut with a Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniya in the presence of his deputy Saleh al-Aaruri. According to the reports, the parties discussed "the important developments in the Palestinian arena, the events at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the resistance in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Hassan Nasrallah's statements also indicate a step up, saying that "the Israelis are eating themselves from the inside, and they don't know where the recipe comes from." Furthermore, he noted that the State of Israel would not get to celebrate its 80th Independence Day.

At the same time as the meetings in Beirut, Ismail Ka'ani, commander of the Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guards, arrived on the night of April 10 for unusual meetings in Syria, apparently with representatives of the Syrian army, representatives of Hezbollah, and possibly even representatives of Hamas. Such meetings are often held in extreme military tensions to prevent intelligence exposure of the meetings and their planning.

In addition, the fourth division of the Syrian army, headed by Bashar al-Assad's brother, is bringing military reinforcements and weapons to the southern region of Syria - on the border with Israel. This can be linked to the activity of the Israeli Air Force in the area in recent weeks, but even here, the timing raises questions.

In another attempt to mobilize the Arab world for its goals, in recent days, the Iranian president spoke with his counterpart in Algeria and told him: "We emphasize the need to create a united front of the Islamic countries against the Zionist entity; there is a more urgent need than ever for the cooperation of the Islamic countries and the formation of a united front in front of the conquering entity." The issue of the Iranian president's urgency is unquestionably troubling. The Algerian president replied that he hopes "we can free the Palestinian people from Zionist oppression."

Iran has recently gained strength, especially in light of its security assistance to Russia, its strategic agreements with Russia and China, and even information that "leaked" from Iran, indicating that Iran already has a certain amount of uranium enriched to a military level. That is, it is possible that Iran already has a full military nuclear capability (in low quantities).

Iran's moves are coordinated with its strategic partners - China and Russia.

From the Russian direction, in recent days, large-scale GPS jamming has been detected in the entire Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin. The GPS jamming apparently comes from Russian warships or other vessels operated by Russia. However, such a volume of jamming has yet to be recorded in recent years. The reasons for GPS jamming are yet to be clarified.

From another direction - China, in recent days, has begun to strengthen the military tightening vis-à-vis Taiwan. First, China recently announced that its coast guard and navy are allowed to conduct a security inspection and stop any vessel, military or civilian, that sails in the Taiwan Straits. This declaration, inconsistent with maritime freedom of navigation laws, effectively allows China to impose a naval blockade on Taiwan.

On April 10, China began a large-scale combined military exercise, expected to continue for three days (until Thursday, April 14), in which hundreds of fighter jets practiced and simulated attacking targets in Taiwan, and over 80 Chinese vessels, along with the aircraft carrier, and missile batteries, which were also deployed in Taiwan's territorial waters.

All the Chinese moves divert the attention of the US and NATO from the Mediterranean region. They will allow the Iranian Axis forces to operate in the region with limited American involvement, which can help Israel during a campaign of this magnitude. It should be noted that during the last week, the USA announced that it had sent a submarine carrying nuclear missiles to the Mediterranean Sea to monitor Russia's movements. This is an unusual move in recent times on the part of the USA. Does the US have information about Iranian intentions?

With the Chinese and Russian backs, possible nuclear armament, a formidable amount of weapons, the fact that Europe and the US are concerned about what is happening in Ukraine and the South China Sea, together with the social crisis and the deep divide in Israel - all these, together with the sanctity of Ramadan, apparently encourage The Iranian axis is over motivated. Therefore, they may realize the time is ripe to attack Israel when it is weakest.

Suppose a combined attack by the Iranian Axis (Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, the Shiite militias in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen) will indeed begin; it will probably start with cyber-attacks (in recent days, cyber-attacks have been carried out on the Israeli targets), along with barrages of missiles, rockets, and drones from all directions (Yemen, Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon). The goal is to create chaos, harm the Israeli Homefront, and waste Israel's inventory of interceptors ("Iron Dome" and "David's Sling"). The next stage will already include a ground attack together with the umbrella of air defense systems of the Iranian Axis forces, against which the IDF will be required to comfort, above the ground and below it (with attack tunnels), from the air and the sea.

Finally, I hope this assessment will remain only written words, a misinterpretation of the signs accumulating these days, and a pessimistic view of the state of things in the Eastern Mediterranean area.

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