Signs of War Increasing

The signs of war in the Middle East are clearly increasing. Last week’s attack on the Mercer Street tanker in the Gulf of Oman was a significant escalation in the ‘shadow war’ between Iran and Israel, killing two members of the tanker’s crew.

After detailed analysis of the evidence, the US, UK, Romania and Israel are all certain that the attack was carried out by Iran. Whatever the motivation, that attack indicates an increased willingness for the governing Iranian regime to be aggressive.

In the North

Earlier this week another three rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon. It is unclear which group was responsible but Israel fired artillery rounds into Lebanon in response and launched some airstrikes against rocket-launching positions.

Screenshot from Hezbollah videoScreenshot from Hezbollah video of rocket fire

That prompted Hezbollah to fire a larger barrage of 20 rockets towards Israel on Friday, clearly unwilling to sit back and watch the Israeli response. The group even posted video footage of the rockets being launched from a flatbed truck in the Lebanese countryside.

Alarmed at this new development, the US administration called upon the Lebanese government “urgently to prevent such attacks and bring the area under its control.” It also urged the Lebanese government to facilitate full access for the United Nations Interim Force peacekeepers in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

In the South

Meanwhile, tensions are rising again in the south with fresh incendiary attacks on Israel by Hamas. In response, the new Israeli government continues to treat these in the same way as rocket attacks and the IDF carried out airstrikes against a Hamas camp and a rocket-launching position in the Gaza Strip.

Whilst attacks using incendiary balloons might not sound too serious, the current heatwave in the Middle East and the fires raging in Turkey and Greece indicate that they can cause the Israelis major problems.

In the East

And now Israel faces an increased threat from the east, where Russia has established a substantial degree of control in Syria. For many months the Russians have allowed Israel to conduct airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria without interference.

Now, well-informed sources say that Russia has "run out of patience" with Israel`s strikes within Syria, claiming that the US does not welcome those repeated strikes either.

Indeed, the Russians are said to have begun helping the Syrian government “close Syrian airspace to Israeli planes.” This is a significant setback for Israel, as they now need to find a different way of preventing a build-up of Iranian weaponry in Syria.

Overall, the signs of a major war in the Middle East are clearly increasing.