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Le Beck talks to The Washington Post about Israel’s response to Iran in Syria

Before the United States made its decision about the nuclear accord, Iran faced a “strategic uncertainty” over what would happen and did not want to take the risk of striking back, said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at Le Beck International, a Middle East-based geopolitical and security consulting firm. “That encouraged Tehran to be careful.”

Israel, meanwhile, was looking for a chance to press its efforts at rolling back the Iranian presence in Syria, he said. “Israel was searching for an opportunity to really escalate its efforts.”

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Le Beck talks to Business Insider about Putin, Israel, and Syria

Russia has typically not acknowledged the Israeli incursions, but the fighting escalated massively on Wednesday night.

The IDF told Israel’s Channel 10 News that more than 50 targets were hit in the strike, making it the largest attack carried out by Israel in Syria since the two signed an agreement following the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

Israel said that around 1 a.m. local time, 20 Iranian Grad and Fajr rockets came streaking intoward northern Israel. The rockets, Israel said, were either intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system or fell short of their targets.

The Iranian barrage was expected. Israel had opened bomb shelters and warned its citizens of an impending attack after several suspected Israeli airstrikes had killed Iranians in Syria and laid waste to hundreds of rockets.

After the salvo, 28 Israeli jets flew over Syria, firing nearly 60 rockets and 10 surface-to-surface missiles, said Michael Horowitz, an analyst at the security consultancy LeBeck International, citing Russia’s defense ministry.

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L’Orient le Jour (FR) talks to Le Beck about Israeli threats against Assad

L’obsession israélienne d’endiguer l’influence iranienne dans la région, notamment en Syrie, ne faiblit pas. Alors que l’État hébreu multiplie les menaces et les opérations éclairs contre les positions de Téhéran en territoire syrien, un responsable israélien s’en est directement pris hier au régime du président syrien Bachar el-Assad, alors que l’Iran est l’un des parrains de Damas, aux côtés de Moscou. « Israël n’a pas été impliqué dans la guerre civile (syrienne) jusqu’à présent », a déclaré Yuval Steinitz, le ministre israélien de l’Énergie et membre du cabinet de sécurité, au site d’information israélien Ynet.

Faisant référence à la présence de troupes iraniennes en Syrie, M. Steinitz a précisé qu’« il est inacceptable qu’Assad siège tranquillement dans son palais et reconstruise son régime tout en permettant à la Syrie d’être transformée en base pour nous attaquer, il doit comprendre qu’il signera sa fin et la fin de son régime ». Et « si le président syrien continue d’autoriser l’Iran à opérer en territoire syrien, Israël le liquidera et renversera son régime », a-t-il menacé. Interrogé sur la possibilité pour Israël d’assassiner le président syrien, M. Steinitz a répondu que ce dernier « pourrait le payer de son sang ». Toutefois, si ses propos sont explicites à ce sujet sur le site internet du quotidien, l’écoute de l’entretien ne « semble pas corroborer » les citations du ministre dans l’article en ligne, souligne l’agence Reuters. M. Steinitz a également précisé plus tard que ses commentaires reflétaient son opinion personnelle et non des plans tangibles de l’administration israélienne.

En adoptant une rhétorique visant directement Damas, « Israël veut à la fois influencer Bachar el-Assad et la Russie en menaçant de ne plus simplement intervenir dans la crise syrienne contre des cibles iraniennes, mais bien contre les capacités du régime elles-mêmes », explique à L’Orient-Le Jour Michael Horowitz, spécialiste du Moyen-Orient à LeBeck International, un think tank basé à Bahreïn. « C’est une stratégie d’escalade qui vise à faire comprendre à Moscou et Damas que le coût de la présence iranienne est élevé », poursuit-il.

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Le Beck talks to the Jerusalem Post about Shiite militias in Syria

According to Michael Horowitz, senior regional analyst at Middle-East-based geopolitical consultancy Le Beck, having Hezbollah carry out the attack would go against Tehran’s plans, which are said to include trying to avoid a full-fledged war with Israel.

“This would defeat the purpose of using Shi’ite militias, which in my opinion, was meant to enable Iran to respond without actually provoking an escalation,” Horowitz told The Post.

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The Telegraph talks to Le Beck about a suspected Israeli strike in Syria

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said the strikes were deeper into Syria than Israeli forces usually venture and that the attack in Hama appeared to involve massive weaponry to penetrate the mountainside.

“The context is very important because we are a few weeks away from the possible collapse of the Iran nuclear agreement and the possibility that Iran will resume its nuclear programme. I think this strikes sends a message to Iran that Israel can strike these underground facilities,” Mr Horowitz said.

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Le Beck talks to the Daily Beast about Trump and Syria

“There’s a lot of confusion in Israel about Trump’s stance,” says Michael Horowitz,  a senior analyst specializing in Israel and Syria at Bahrain’s Le Beck International. “The Israelis are puzzled by the American strategy in Syria and concerned there’s no real commitment to roll back Iranian influence in Syria.”

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Le Beck talks to The Telegraph about Trump’s threats against Syria

Analysts believe the lull in the bombing is a result of Assad’s forces rushing to move their aircraft to Russian bases in Syria, which are less likely to be targeted by American missiles.

“Since Trump tweeted its initial threats the regime has completely changed its military deployments, particularly its air force, which in turn disrupted its air campaign,” said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy.

“In a way, the mere threat of action has already been enough to save lives on the ground,” he added.

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Sydney Morning Herald talks to Le Beck about Western strikes in Syria

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said that the regime would probably move its most sensitive equipment close to Russian forces, in the hope that the US would be less likely to risk accidentally striking Russian troops.

Le Beck talks to L’Orient le Jour (FR) about the Israeli raid in Syria

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Le Beck talks to The Telegraph about Trump, Russia, and Syria

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said that the regime would probably move its most sensitive equipment close to Russian forces, in the hope that the US would be less likely to hit it and risk accidentally striking Russian troops.

“The Syrian military has already had time to take some contingency measures and evacuate some of the potential targets Washington could decide to strike, which could limit the impact of any possible American intervention,” he said.

“The Syrian air force in particular will likely redeploy to Russian or Russian-protected air base, in a bid to limit its exposure.”

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