WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Iran has claimed that the ballistic missiles launch into Syria on Monday was in response to the Ahvaz military parade attack, but the message was directed at its enemies: the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
- Iran declared that the ‘terrorists’ targeted in Syria are supported by its enemies.
- The mounting tensions could eventually escalate not just in Syria but in multiple other locations.
Iran launched ballistic missiles into Syria on Monday, but its message was aimed at its powerful foes: the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
According to the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, the targets were militants blamed for a recent attack on a military parade that killed at least 24 and wounded dozens in Ahvaz in south-western Iran.
However, a missile shown on state TV Monday bore the phrase “Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to Al Saud,” referring to Saudi Arabia’s ruling family.
As a missile roared into the night sky, an Iranian state TV reporter stated, “In a few minutes, the world of arrogance — especially America, the Zionist regime and the Al Saud — will hear the sound of Iran’s repeated blows.”
Tehran’s relationships with the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel have not been good since the revolution that ousted the Shah of Iran in 1979, but tensions have intensified recently.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran, slapped painful sanctions on the country, and threatened to stop it from exporting oil.
Sunni Muslim regional power Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf monarchies, views Shiite Iran as deeply hostile and are engaged in a number of proxy conflicts in other countries such as Yemen.
Israel considers Iran its biggest threat and has already launched hundreds of airstrikes to keep Iranian forces away from its northern border.
The U.S., Israel, and Gulf monarchies are also resisting Iran’s moves to entrench in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Syria, which is one of President Bashar al-Assad’s main supporters.
Sanam Vakil, an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Europe, explained, “Iran generally has a model of asymmetric attacks. It doesn’t respond kind-for-kind, but a bit like whack-a-mole in another theater. It wouldn’t respond directly to Saudi Arabia or directly the United States, but the messaging goes out to U.S. or Gulf opponents.”
Iran has blamed its enemies for inciting unrest and violence inside the country, claiming that the “terrorists” targeted in Syria are supported by U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
Ali Fathollah-Nejad, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center and an associate with the Iran Project at Harvard University, pointed out, “Iran has been using those incidents to test its ballistic missiles, thus circumventing international criticism as its strikes are considered responses against terrorist perpetrators of those attacks.”
Vakil warned that the overlapping interests and tensions could spin out of control, with “possible escalation” occurring not just in Syria but in other multiple locations.
Source: NBC News