The coming month of May looks set to contain an unusual number of potential escalation points, which could converge to create a highly explosive period. I spoke to Brig. Gen. (Res) Nitzan Nuriel, former director of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior scholar at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism, and Professor Uzi Rabi, a Middle East expert from Tel Aviv University, to get their takes on what May could have in store. Click here to read their assessments: Middle East braces for a tense May.
Check out my interview with Lt.-Col. A, Commander of the 101 Israel Air Force Squadron of F-16s, about what the latest Independence Day flyby meant for him.
Here is an excerpt: “We usually do not do something to be seen. We usually act so that the population experiences quiet, not to deliver a show of force. If, once in a while, like today’s 70th Independence Day, we do something to be seen—to transmit the message that there is a strong air force and military that knows what needs to be done, that takes responsibility and guards what needs to be guarded—if this message is sent in a modest and clear way, then this is perhaps what we’re aiming to achieve.”
I also spoke to Lt.-Col. Ofer David, commander of the Red Sea Arena in the Israeli Navy, which put on its own show for Independence Day. He described how the navy stopped some security incidents just in time. Full story here.
Tensions between Iran and Israel have risen significantly, following a military strike on an airbase in central Syria this month that targeted an Iranian military presence. For a big picture look at what Iran has planned for Syria, check out my piece here.
It includes comments from top Iran expert Doron Itzchakov, a research associate at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He tells me that while Iran relies heavily on Khomenei’s fundamentalist tenets to justify its actions. But also, that the program to spread Iranian hegemony stems “from geopolitical and geo-strategic motivations, which illustrate its ambition to lead the Muslim world.”
My latest paper for the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies focuses on the appointment of a new Military Intelligence chief, and the challenges he is set to face.
Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heiman takes up his post just as Israel’s low-profile campaign, to disrupt the force build-up process of its enemies, is reaching a critical juncture. An escalation by Iran will jeopardize its Syrian and Lebanese projects.