Iranians burn a US flag and portrait of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2-R) during a rally marking Qods Day (Jerusalem Day), in support of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation, in Tehran, Iran, 01 July 2016.
Each year Iran marks the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan as a solidarity day with the Palestinians / picture alliance

Political Journeys - Israel and Iran Prepare for Conflict

Shortly after Donald Trump announced he would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Israel and Iran carry out mutual attacks. The risk of war is increasing in the region


George Friedman, 74, ist einer der bekanntesten geopolitischen Analysten der Vereinigten Staaten. Er leitet die von ihm gegründete Denkfabrik   Geopolitical Futures  und ist Autor zahlreicher Bücher. Zuletzt erschien „Der Sturm vor der Ruhe: Amerikas Spaltung, die heraufziehende Krise und der folgende Triumph“ im Plassen-Verlag.

So erreichen Sie George Friedman:

Liebe Leserinnen und Leser,

wir freuen uns, mit George Friedman einen der bekanntesten geopolitischen Analysten für uns gewonnen zu haben. Ab sofort wird der US-Politologe und Leiter des Thinktanks Geopolitical Futures regelmäßig seine gleichnamige Kolumne „Geopolitical Futures“ hier auf Cicero Online veröffentlichen. Seine englischsprachigen Texte sollen nicht nur Ihnen einen Blick über den hiesigen medialen Tellerrand hinaus ermöglichen, sondern auch Leser und Leserinnen aus dem Ausland erreichen. Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Spaß beim Lesen und kluge Erkenntnisse.

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Diese Kolumne erscheint regelmäßig auf Cicero Online in Kooperation mit der Publikation Geopolitical Futures.

It didn’t take long, once U.S. President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, for Israel and Iran to move around their military assets. The Israel Defense Forces reported irregular Iranian troop movements inside Syria shortly after the announcement. Anti-missile systems are being deployed in northern Israel, and regional governments in the Golan are being instructed to ready bomb shelters for residents. According to an IDF statement, the army is at a high state of readiness for potential attack. An IDF spokesperson told Reuters that Israel was mobilizing some reservist forces but was unclear about the numbers being called up. Reshet 13 reported Israeli Air Force activity over the Syrian Golan Heights, and there are unconfirmed reports of an IAF attack on Iranian missile stores in Syria.

Israel understands that Iran might retaliate for Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria. Perhaps Israel even expected it. Now that the nuclear deal is all but dead, Iran may be prepared to respond in kind, likely by activating proxy groups on the ground in Syria and Lebanon.


Biggest threat to Israel

Meanwhile, the Israeli defense minister is holding security consultations with other defense chiefs in Tel Aviv, according to Ynet. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to travel to Moscow on May 9 and may use the visit to ask Russia to keep Iran in line or else.

The heightened posture may just be precautionary. Still, calling up reserves is a major tripwire, indicating Israel may be readying itself for more than just airstrikes. According to Israeli intelligence reports released to open-source outlets, Hezbollah has about 150,000 rockets and missiles, thousands of which can reach Tel Aviv, and the Israeli defense establishment has made no secret that it considers Hezbollah its biggest and most imminent threat. Israel would have to go in on the ground to eliminate Hezbollah if it fires on Israel. (Israel has recent unrest in the Gaza Strip to worry about as well.)


Risk of war increases

A major attack is not imminent. Israel would need at least 48 hours to have reserves in place, and Netanyahu has not canceled his trip to Russia. But reports of Iranian movements in Syria and Israeli reserve call-ups – in addition to the presence of a U.S. carrier strike group in the Eastern Mediterranean, whose planes sortied against the Islamic State as recently as May 3 – mean this is a highly volatile and fluid situation that could escalate quickly. War is not certain, but risk of war has increased markedly.

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Holger Starkendorf | Do., 10. Mai 2018 - 22:10

Ich respektiere den gedruckten Cicero sehr, aber die Online-Ausgabe wirkt auf mich wirklich völlig konzeptlos. Ein wild zusammengewürfelter (meist kaum recherchierter) Texte

Günter Fischer | Fr., 11. Mai 2018 - 15:57

Nothing against Israel and the right of their country, even if they don´t make it easy for the Palestinians.
Nothing against Israel when it is defending itself against attacks.
But Israel is not the first time ignoring the general rules of normal coexistence and political action. Not only because it is supported by the USA, but also the USA allows them to act as “henchmen” of the World Police.
That was already the case during the 6-days war and continued through various actions to this day, and now rockets has been fired to the certainly not only innocent Iran.
But if I want to prevent aggression because I fear nuclear violations, yes, who kicked the Israelis in the brain that they now shoot missiles when this danger exists. Do you want to take consciously the risk that uncontrolled radioactive material will scatter?
Who takes the Trump on the curb, that he finally stops to twitter his nonsense? Who will knock Netanyahu at his fingers finally?
EU still keeps sleeping. Germany too