Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, Israel has been hyping the threat of Iranian retaliation and warning that an attack could happen anywhere. Adding to the hysteria, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said Israel expects that an Iranian attack could come from Iraq or Yemen.
In an interview with the Saudi newspaper Elaph, IDF Spokesman Hidai Zilberman said Israel is monitoring Iran’s activity in Iraq and Yemen, calling the two countries Iran’s “second circle” after Lebanon and Syria.
The US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia falsely label Yemen’s Houthis as an Iranian proxy. Houthi attacks inside Saudi Arabia are often framed as Iranian operations despite the five-year US-backed Saudi-led siege on Yemen that has killed hundreds of thousands.
In Iraq, the US generally blames any violence on what it labels are “Iran-backed” militias. Last week, President Trump blamed Iran for a rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone and said he would hold Iran “accountable” if any Americans are killed in Iraq.
Iran denied any role in the Baghdad attack and has warned its allies in Iraq not to provoke the US, hoping to avoid a military confrontation before President Trump leaves office. Some militias rejected Iran’s warning, and there are plenty of groups inside Iraq with their own reasons to attack US forces.
While Iran has urged caution in the region during this sensitive time for US-Iran relations, Israel has stepped up its provocations. Besides being the likely perpetrator of Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, Israel has continued airstrikes in Syria and sailed a submarine through the Suez Canal in a message to Iran. When asked about the submarine maneuver, Zilberman said Israeli submarines are quietly “sailing everywhere.”
Zilberman also addressed Israeli operations in Syria. According to The Times of Israel, Zilberman said Israel had used 500 smart missiles in Syria over the past year. He boasted that neither Iran nor the Syrian government has responded to the Israeli strikes.
Iran has a presence in Syria, but it is overblown by Israel to justify airstrikes. Despite the relentless Israeli bombing campaign in Syria, Israel will almost certainly blame Iran for any attacks on Israeli targets that come from Syria.