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The allies of the United States continue to create tensions in the Middle East, threatening peace and security in the entire region.
The conflict between Washington’s key ally, Israel, and Iran remains one of the main factors behind instability in the region.
Israel is still attacking Syria under the pretext of fighting the influence of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Airstrikes on military position in Syria were reported on October 21, 24 and 27 as well as on November 13 and 19. The Israeli strikes killed six soldiers and a local Hezbollah fighter.
Aside from the regular airstrikes, a drone attack targeted a shipment of Iranian fuel that was destined to Hezbollah in Lebanon on the Syrian-Iraqi border on November 8. At least ten, including Iranian nationals, were killed in the attack, which was attributed to Israel.
On November 22, tensions rose again when a senior officer of the IRGC Aerospace Force was killed with a roadside bomb in the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Iran said the Israeli intelligence was behind the assassination.
The recent Israeli attacks didn’t go without a response. Attacks on U.S. bases in northeastern Syria were reported on October 22 and 26 as well as on November 17 and 25.
Furthermore, a drone attack that targeted an Israeli-owned tanker off the coast of Oman on November 16 was blamed on Iran. However, Tehran rejected these accusations.
Israel is not the only ally of the U.S. in the Middle East that has been escalating. Washington’s NATO partner, Turkey, has been also making some strong moves under the pretext of protecting its national security.
On November 20, Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, codenamed Claw-Sword. The operation came as a response to the November 13 Istanbul bombing. Ankara blamed the attack, which killed six, on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) who happens to be the core faction of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
So far, Operation Claw-Sword has been limited to air and artillery strikes. However, senior Turkish officials have already warned that a ground offensive against the SDF in northern Syria could start soon.
Turkey’s operation has already killed more than 50 SDF fighters and Syrian soldiers. Despite of these heavy losses, the U.S.-allied SDF is still hindering Russian-led efforts to de-escalate by addressing Ankara’s security concerns.
Kurdish forces in Iraq, some of whom enjoy close relations with the U.S., have been also provoking Iran. Tehran believe that some of the Iranian-Kurdish opposition militant groups based in the Kurdistan region have been supporting a wave of violence and protests on its territory which broke out after the death of Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in mid-September.
The IRGC attacked these opposition militant groups on November 21 and 22. Later, the guards’ Ground Forces began amassing reinforcements near the Kurdistan region for a possible ground operation.
While Israel, Turkey and Kurdish forces appear to be the cause of most, if not all tensions, in the Middle East, other allies of the U.S., like Gulf states, appear to be following a more moderate course.
In Yemen, despite the end of the UN-brokered ceasefire on October 2, the Saudi-led coalition and its local allies have not resumed major military operations against the Houthis yet. From their side, the Houthis are still demanding their share of Yemen national oil revenue and threatening with military action. The group has already targeted three local oil ports on October 23, November 9 and 21.
Overall, the situation in the Middle East appears to be heading towards more escalation, especially in Syria, where Israel will likely continue its attacks on Iranian forces and Turkey could launch a new invasion against Kurdish fighters.