It is believed that Iran will continue to attempt to establish a presence in Syria with Hezbollah, and potentially open a second Syrian front against Israel, as Tehran presently has 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria, and the IDF believes that the Islamic Republic also controls over 10,000 fighters from Shiite militias. Additionally, Hezbollah also has several thousand troops in the country to assist Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in his war against rebel groups.
PressTV recently reported that Iran announced it successfully tested a new missile with a 1,250-mile range, capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the Gulf. However, the Israeli military agrees with the US that video footage of a ballistic missile test released by Tehran was, in fact, recycled footage from over nine months ago.
State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, where it was displayed at a military parade in Tehran on Friday, as well as in-flight video from the nose cone. According to a Fox News report, two US officials claimed that the video was more than seven months old, and was from a failed launch in late January, when the missile exploded shortly after lift off.
The Israeli army believes that while Iran is upholding the 2015 nuclear deal to the letter, it is not necessarily keeping to the spirit of the agreement. Their assessment is that Tehran is preparing itself for the day the agreement ends, and will begin working on developing an atomic weapon as quickly as possible.
Hezbollah is believed to possess approximately 120,000 missiles and rockets in Lebanon at this time. The IDF estimates that the Iran-backed group could launch over a thousand rockets a day at Israel, in the event of a future war. The fear is that the group will have increasingly accurate missiles to aim at strategic sites in Israel.
The IDF and the Defense Ministry have invested significant resources in aerial defense, but army officers have said that these anti-missile systems will not be able to stop all projectiles. Their assessment said that more accurate missiles would allow the terrorist group to launch a quick, focused attack on Israel, very different from the prolonged 2006 conflict.
Israel has repeatedly warned of Iranian entrenchment in Syria, and of the Iran’s efforts to establish hegemony in the region.
The Israeli military is also concerned that in the future, ties between Iran and Russia will fall apart, as their relationship is based on shared short-term goals, and not necessarily ideological similarities.
Israeli officials have said that they will take whatever measures necessary to prevent Iran from establishing a Shiite-controlled land corridor stretching from Tehran, through Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.
It is believed that Israel has has carried out airstrikes on advanced weapons systems in Syria, including Hezbollah positions, but it rarely confirms such operations on an individual basis. Still, in August, remarks by Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, a former commander of Israel’s air force, suggest that it had carried out dozens of airstrikes on weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah over the past five years.