The weekend marked a precipitous escalation in Netanyahu’s promise to attack all perceived “enemies.” From Saturday evening into late Sunday afternoon, Israel carried out strikes against three separate nations, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. By Monday morning, he had also attacked forces from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as well as Palestinians from the PFLP-GC. That’s a lot of enemies to wage war against all at once.
Rumors of Israeli attacks against targets in Iraq over the last few weeks came to a head last week, when US and Israeli officials confirmed that the attacks were taking place. This led to some complaints from Iraqi officials, but Israel is hardly backing away from this policy.
Indeed, with Israel’s election less than a month away and Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies trailing substantially in most polls, it appears the policy is to escalate its attacks across the region, hoping to secure more votes from the hawkish right.
The biggest attacks came Saturday, when Israel launched a series of attacks against a village near the Syrian capital of Damascus. The attacks were drone bombings, with Israeli drones laden with explosives flying into the target, crashing and detonating.
Israel attacking Syria is common enough, but the real news was the Israeli military commenting directly, claiming they’d attacked an Iranian site, intending to preempt an Iranian attack on northern Israel on Thursday. Iran denied everything, including that they’d been hit in the strikes.
It makes sense why the Netanyahu government would want to make this the case, as while he’s got mounting political opposition, he likely believes war with Iran is still a platform that would benefit him in the election. Indeed, if the war actually was ongoing against Iran and basically all Shi’ites, it would probably guarantee his reelection.
But it didn’t stop with an attack in Syria, nominally on Iran. On Sunday, Israel carried out attacks against the Lebanese capital of Beirut, targeting Hezbollah. Israeli drones also slammed into Western Iraq, killing at least one member of a Shi’ite militia there.
That bought Israel into engagements in three distinct countries, targeting Iraqi Shi’ite militias, Hezbollah, Syrian, and Iranian forces. Adding a fifth faction, early Monday morning Israel attacked a Palestinian base in northern Lebanon.
That’s almost everyone in the region that Israel could attack, but this week will probably see a continuation of such strikes. Israel has also indicated an interest in starting to attack the Shi’ites in northern Yemen, even though they are not the same type of Shi’ites, so that too is likely to be a priority target.
So far there has been no reaction from Israel’s opposition parties, and it puts them in an awkward position, as historically attacking anything is relatively popular in Israel, and it is considered unthinkable for the opposition to chime in on that in anything but enthusiastic support.