JULY 7, 2020 BY JOSEPH FITSANAKIS INTEL ORG tHere is growing speculation that Israel’s intelligence services may be behind a spate of blasts that have damaged military and civilian industrial sites in Iran in recent days. Citing a “Middle Eastern intelligence official”, The New York Times reported on Sunday that Israel was behind at least one of the blasts, which struck […]
By Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael OfekJuly 6, 2020e Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,628, July 6, 2020 – THE BEGIN – SADAT ENTER FOR STRATEGG STUDIES – ISRAEL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Three incidents, including two explosions at nuclear facilities, have shaken Iran in recent days. Were they connected? Were they caused by accidents or were they carried out […]
This analysis is co-published by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project(CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute.
Key Takeaway: Iranian proxies in Iraq have sustained attacks since the killing of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in an attempt to provoke a US response that will lead to the expulsion of American forces from the country.Iranian proxies began a campaign of rocket attacks on US positions in Iraq in October 2019. These attacks are intended to goad the US into responses that will bring political pressure on Iraqi leaders to expel American forces. Iraqi proxies have conducted at least 14 attacks since early January, indicating that Soleimani’s killing did not cause a de-escalation. An Iranian proxy instead escalated on March 11 with the largest rocket attack since Soleimani’s death, causing two US casualties. The scale of this attack—like theDecember 27th attack that caused the first US casualty—indicated heightened effort to cause American casualties. Its timing indicates an attempt to incite a US response that will make the US presence politically untenable for Iraqi politicians days before thedeadline to elect a new prime minister in Iraq.The USresponse on March 12 accidentallykilled non-proxy Iraqi citizens, prompting Iraqi leaders—including Iraqi President Barham Salih—to *accuse the US of violating Iraqi sovereignty. The Iranian regime may also welcome heightened tensions with the US as an enemy other than its own ineptitude amid its failure to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.