Analysts stated neither facet wished to escalate right into a full-fledged warfare, which may shortly spiral right into a regionwide conflagration, and by daybreak, quiet had returned. But the danger of a broader warfare couldn’t be dominated out.
“We may be O.K. for the next month or so, but we have a big structural problem,” stated Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group, a political danger consultancy in Washington. “Iran wants to build infrastructure in Syria. Israel is dead set against that. So it’s a real witches’ brew. This is a preview of a serious long-term flash point.”
His fear was echoed by Ryan C. Crocker, a former United States ambassador to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and different nations.
“There is real potential for a much bigger fight than we have seen so far, led by Israel,” Mr. Crocker stated. “And will anything good come of it? Not at all.”
Iran would wrestle to defend itself in opposition to a direct, multifront assault by Israel, the United States and the Gulf nations.
As a Persian, Shiite-led state, it’s a sectarian and ethnic minority in a predominantly Sunni, Arab area. Spurned internationally since a revolutionary Islamic authorities seized energy in 1979, it has no entry to Western weapons. And Iran’s poor economic system implies that its regional foes have outspent it on standard weapons.
Instead, Iran has invested the place it may: in relationships with substate actors that largely share Iran’s Shiite religion and sense of underdog standing.
The prototype for that technique was Hezbollah, which officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps helped create in Lebanon within the early 1980s. Supporting Hezbollah gave Iran a way to struggle the Israelis close to Israel’s northern border, and later gave Iran a hand in Lebanese politics. Hezbollah, which Israel and the United States have lengthy thought to be a terrorist group, has since grown into a regional force in its own right.
“Iran is actually not as strong as we think,” stated Bassel F. Salloukh, a political-science professor on the Lebanese American University in Beirut. “Its economy is quite weak, it is surrounded, so it has to project power in order to protect itself, and that strategy has worked very well, so they are duplicating it elsewhere.”