Netanyahu reminded his audience at a memorial service for late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Iran is the driving force behind the Hezbollah terrorist group that launched the attack, as well as other terrorist groups that make the Jewish state a constant target. However, Netanyahu did not let off the hook the governments of those countries where such groups operate with impunity. “The government of Lebanon and the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria are responsible for attacks on Israel that emerge from their territory,” he said.
But Iran controlled Hezbollah is frequently described as having at least as much power within Lebanon as the actual government. Furthermore, Syria is increasingly a proxy for Iranian power, with the Assad regime being defended by a National Defense Force that is mostly composed of Shiite militias under the direction of Iran’s Shiite theocracy. Indeed, the inciting incident for the emerging Israel-Hezbollah conflict is related to Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria all at once.
On January 18, an Israeli helicopter killed six members of Hezbollah who were part of a convoy in the Syrian-controlled area of the Golan Heights. Also part of that convoy and also killed in the strike was Iranian General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi. Days beforehand, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah had declared that the terrorist organization would “enter into Galilee and…go even beyond the Galilee.”
This leads The Tower to report that some analysts believe that the current conflict is not merely a series of reprisals but also represents a concerted effort by Iran and Hezbollah to establish a permanent presence in the Golan Heights so that they can strike out against Israel in hopes that the fighting will not spill over into Lebanon or Iran directly.