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Twilight War: Iran's Proxy War in the Middle East

Updated on June 22, 2019
Mark Caruthers profile image

BA University of Arkansas Fayetteville Geography & History

Israel Surrounded by Enemies

After the world came to the full realization to the horrors of the genocide of European Jews during the Second World War, the demand for a Jewish State developed as the Second World War ended. The Jewish people have a long historical and religious connection to Palestine dating back thousands of years, to when Moses led the Jews out of Egypt in 1406 BC. They believe it was promised to them by God. After the Second World War, Britain decided to let the United Nations decide what to do with Palestine. The United Nations suggested dividing Palestine into two countries, one Arab and one Jewish. The Arab leaders rejected the plan, but the Jewish leaders accepted the United Nations decision so on May 15, 1948, the independent State of Israel was created.

Soon after Arab leaders declared war on Israel. What happened next was a critical moment in Israel's history. The 1948 Israeli war of independence was fought and won giving the Jewish people a great victory. Israeli forces captured what is now recognized as the state of Israel by the international community. The 1948 war of independence was considered by the world as an extraordinary feat of nation building by Israel. But the Palestinian people considered the formation of Israel as the great catastrophe, it has led to over 60 years of exile and dispossession. During the war over 700,000 Palestinians became refugees never returning back to their homes. The Gaza strip where these Palestinians reside today is considered by some as the largest open air prison in the world, a modern day Warsaw Ghetto. The living conditions on the Gaza strip are unimaginable, 80% of its people live on less than $2 a day, 49.1% of the population is unemployed,and it has become a breeding ground for unrest. The surrounding Arab states have been fighting to take back Palestine from the Jewish people ever since Israel claimed its independence over six decades ago.

Israel has F-35 fighter the most advanced fighter in the history of air warfare

Israeli F-35 over the skies of the Middle East.
Israeli F-35 over the skies of the Middle East. | Source
The futuristic flight helmet of the an F-35 pilot.
The futuristic flight helmet of the an F-35 pilot. | Source
A flight of the three versions of the F-35 on version is capable of vertical take-off and landings. All three versions of the F-35 have advanced stealth technology.
A flight of the three versions of the F-35 on version is capable of vertical take-off and landings. All three versions of the F-35 have advanced stealth technology. | Source
The Israeli Air Force also has a squadron of F-15 Eagles the most successful fighter plane in history it had never been shot down in combat.
The Israeli Air Force also has a squadron of F-15 Eagles the most successful fighter plane in history it had never been shot down in combat. | Source

A History of the Middle East after WWII

The state of Israel
The state of Israel | Source

Gaza Strip from Above

Click thumbnail to view full-size

The Gaza Strip

The only way of making sense of the war in Gaza is by understanding the historical context. The establishment of Israel, in May 1948, left over 700,000 Palestinians refugees for over six decades. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations in modern times. Living under decades of Israeli control has done incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip. With a large population of 1948 refugees crammed into a tiny strip of land, Gaza's prospects of a bright future were never good. The Palestinians have become a source of cheap labor for Israel and a captive market for their goods. As so often in the tragic history of Palestine, it has become impossible for them to seek real political independence. A surreal situation has developed where the oppressed not the oppressor is punished by the international community.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and The Party of God (Hezbollah)

Hezbollah is backed by Iran to fight as a proxy against Israel.
Hezbollah is backed by Iran to fight as a proxy against Israel. | Source
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah with Bashar al-Assad the leader of Syria. The Party of God has fought alongside Syrian troops to defend Syria from the Rebels in Syria's civil war.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah with Bashar al-Assad the leader of Syria. The Party of God has fought alongside Syrian troops to defend Syria from the Rebels in Syria's civil war. | Source

Hezbollah and Iran Support the Palestinian Extremist in Gaza

Today in Lebanon the largest militia is the militant political movement of Hezbollah with over 100,000 members. The Hezbollah in Lebanon is a state-within-a-state, with an army of several thousand men, an extensive social service network, a popular satellite television station called al-Manar ("the Beacon of Light"), and an annual budget in excess of $100 million, much of which comes from Iran, Hezbollah's major patron. Its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is one of the most important men in Lebanon. Hezbollah, "The Party of God" regards Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as its ultimate leader, and maintains close ties to Iran's leadership, especially to the hardline clerics who helped organize the party in the early 1980s. Nasrallah is one of the most resourceful adversaries Israel has ever faced, and his successful guerrilla war against Israel in Southern Lebanon has strongly impressed the Palestinians and made him a hero in Gaza, particularly in the refugee camps. Hezbollah has provided logistical support and training in the use of explosives and anti-tank missiles to the various extremist groups that operate in the Occupied Territories. Nasrallah defends and praised suicide bombings of Israeli targets by members of Palestinian extremist groups in Gaza for "creating a deterrence and equalizing fear." He's stated that Hezbollah is trying to find a way for suicide bombings to become more developed, effective, and capable, leading the resistance movement in Palestine to a new and exceptional phase. One can only guess what a monster like Nasrallah means by this statement, but with all the chaos in Syria Hezbollah might have obtained chemical weapons or even some kind of dirty bomb. Hezbollah's announced long term objectives are the establishment of an Islamic republic in Lebanon, and the elimination of the state of Israel. Hezbollah defeated the Israeli army in southern Lebanon by attacking them from a series of tunnel complexes, a tactic they now have put in motion in Gaza. The Palestinians store thousands of rockets in these tunnels which they use to attack targets deep in Israel. It's a type of guerrilla warfare the North Vietnamese used against the United States with great success during the Vietnam war 1960-1973. The Israeli withdraw from southern in Lebanon in May 2000 was seen as a major Hezbollah victory, the first Arab victory in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Gaza Tunnel Complex Stores Thousands of Hamas Rockets


The 50 Day War in Gaza Summer 2014

Half a year after devastating hostilities, life in Gaza seems worse than ever, thousands remain displaced, internal violence is increasing and the extremist inside Gaza are preparing for another battle. Last month Palestinian extremist opened training camps for over 17,000 young men from Gaza teaching them to shoot Kalashnikov rifles, jump through hoops of fire and preform basic first aid in preparation for the next battle with Israel, and their eventual slaughter. In almost every way, the Gaza strip is much worse off now than before last summer's war between Israel and Hamas (Palestinian Extremist supported by Hezbollah). Scenes of misery are one of the few things in abundance in the battered coastal enclave. Reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes damaged and destroyed in the hostilities will take decades to rebuild. Gaza's economy is in deep recession without billions of dollars in aid Gaza could unravel. Hamas still remains in control of the 1.8 million Gaza residents, preparing for war. The 50-day war between Israel and Hamas has left Gaza near collapse "a powder keg" that could "explode at any minute. Residents of Gaza, after previous wars expected life would always get better, at least for a little while, but now have come to the realization it won't. The Jews will be back to kill again. Since Hamas took over in 2007, Israel has restricted imports into Gaza, fearing Hamas would use building materials to build rockets, bunkers and tunnels. These restrictions will have little impact on Hamas, but does prevent civilians in Gaza from rebuilding their homes. Hamas continues to smuggle rocket making materials into Gaza. Since the war ended Hamas has been manufacturing rockets as fast as they can for the new war with Israel.

Gaza today is something like the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland during the Second World War, the question is when will Israel move in and exterminate them all. Since the summer of 2014 Israel has basically locked the doors on Gaza not allowing most residents to leave this open air prison.

The War on the West Bank

1973 Middle East War

Israel Middle Eastern Power House

In case you didn't know Israel has perhaps a hundred nuclear weapons, possibly as many as three hundred, and has the capacity to launch them from underground silos which are hardened to withstand a nuclear attack, submarines and F-16 fighter bombers. Outside the Israeli defense ministry very few people know precisely how many nuclear-armed missiles the country possesses. The London based Institute of Strategic Studies states Israel has up to two hundred warheads loaded on land-based Jericho 1 and Jericho 2 short and medium range missiles. Jane's the defense information company, estimates that the total number of warheads is between a hundred to three hundred, some of them are thermonuclear weapons which are a thousand times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima , which puts the Israeli nuclear arsenal roughly on par with the British and French nuclear strike forces. And some of these warheads are widely believed to have been loaded onto the Jericho 3 intercontinental ballistic missile, which has a range of up to four thousand five hundred miles. Also, Israel is believed to have an offshore nuclear navy second strike capability, using the Israeli Navy's Dolphin-class submarines nuclear-capable cruise missiles. The Israeli nuclear program has been an open secret since a disgruntled technician, Mordechai Vanunu, blew the whistle in 1986. The Israeli government put him in prison for 15 years, 8 of that in solitary confinement for blowing the whistle on their nuclear program.

Israel's Jericho Missile System. The most Advanced in the Middle East.

Israel's Jericho missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It is estimated Israel could have as many as one hundred nuclear weapons.
Israel's Jericho missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It is estimated Israel could have as many as one hundred nuclear weapons. | Source
A Jericho missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead over 4600 miles.
A Jericho missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead over 4600 miles. | Source

Israel's Nuclear Capable Dolphin Class Submarine and Missile Frigates


The Attack on Iran's Nuclear Sites

Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel believes the Iranian nuclear program is not only a threat to Israel, but to all of Western Civilization. President Obama has stated that a nuclear armed Iran would counter the national security interest of the United States. It is almost certain that other nations in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the most violent regions on the planet. As each day passes it appears Israel is willing to take the step to destroy Iran's nuclear program. Some of the sites in Iran are hardened to the point it would take nuclear weapons to completely knock them out. But Israel seems willing to do whatever it takes to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Another indication that Israel is planning an attack is that Azerbaijan is allowing Israel to use four of its air bases near the Iranian border. Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Safar Abiyeu has not explicitly said his country would bar Israeli bombers from landing there after an attack on Iran. Nor did he rule out granting Israel permission to station search and rescue units in his country. The world should be very concerned with what Israel is up to in Azerbaijan. The Israelis are using four abandoned, Soviet-era airfields in Azerbaijan to prepare for an attack on Iran in the very near future. U.S. Intelligence and diplomatic officials are certain that after the attack on Iran, Israeli jets will land on the airbases in Azerbaijan. Its quite possible that Israel could use these bases to rearm their bombers for a second attack on Iranian sites if needed. Israel has been forging a relationship with Azerbaijan for decades. In February 2012, Israeli defense officials confirmed the completion of a $1.6 billion deal to sell drones and anti-aircraft missile defenses systems to Azerbaijan, bringing sophisticated Israeli technology to Iran's doorstep. Israel has been planning the attack on Iran and has set up a sophisticated air-defense system to protect it planes from counter-attacks by Iranian fighter planes. The relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan keeps U.S. military leaders up at night. The Middle East is walking a tightrope and the winds of war are pushing it toward war.

Iranian Nuclear Sites


Azerbaijan puts Israel at Iran's Front Door

Israel the Rogue Superpower of the Middle East

The three year Israeli blockade of Gaza has brought has brought its 1.5 million inhabitants to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. The record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that Israel has become a rogue state who's real aim is not a peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza, but military domination. Israel continues compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. To make matters worse the leaders of Israel are obsessed with Iran's quest to obtain a nuclear bomb. Iran is a danger to Israel by continuing to export terrorism to Israel's doorstep and stating the destruction of Israel as a future goal, thus further complicating an already hopeless situation. With the lack of communication between President Obama of the United States, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, events in the Middle East could spiral out of control. Israel seems poised to attack Iran's nuclear facilities in the very near future, with or without United States support militarily. It not as if Israel has not done something like this in the past. For instance Israel's Osirak attack was a surprise Israeli air strike put in motion on June 7, 1981, which destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor 10 miles southeast of Baghdad. Israel claimed it acted in self-defense, and that the reactor had less than a month before it might have become critical. The attack was strongly criticized around the world, including inside the United States, and Israel was rebuked by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in two separate resolutions. The Israeli military has been planning the attack on Iran for at least 2 years and the neo conservative Republican base in America seems ok with it. Since Senator Tom Cotton's letter to Iran letting them if they should reach a deal with the Obama administration, they would strike it down once he's out of office. Opening the door on a scale of violence that the Middle East has yet to witness in its very long violent history.

Attack on Osirak Nuclear Reactor

Israeli Air Force F-16a, Flown by Colonel ILAN Ramon During the Attack on the Osirak Nuclear Reactor 20 Miles Southeast of Bagdad on June 7, 1981

Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel and in charge of the Osirak Operation, disembarks from an aircraft upon arriving in the United States.



Ansari, Ali M. Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy And The Next Great Conflict In The Middle East. Basic Books A Division Of Perseus Book Group. New York NY, USA. 2006

Claire, Rodger W. Raid On The Sun: Inside Israel's Secret Campaign That Denied Saddam The Bomb. Broadway Books & Random House. New York NY USA. 2004


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    • profile image

      Kevin Goodwin 

      3 years ago

      Wow that is a lot of pictures and videos. Israel was placed in the area which is now surrounding them after world war II. I also believe iran will hate israel as much as they hate iraq. Iran will always support Hezbollah as long as their enemy is Israel.


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