The Islamic Republic of Iran is building a protected SCUD missile factory in northern Syria, Israeli media reports.
The missile factory reportedly resembles similar installations in Tehran and is producing long-range SCUDs capable of striking targets inside Israel. Israeli missile experts consulted by Channel 2 news believe the factory will be completed by the end of 2017. Israel could strike the factory if it deems it a threat to its security, which could spark a larger conflict.
Iranian missile development in Syria and Lebanon has been a longtime fear of the Israeli government. Iran’s revolutionary regime actively sponsors Lebanese terror group Hezbollah in its war against Israel, and is a longtime sponsor of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Iran has expended billions of dollars and thousands of men fighting on his behalf in the nearly six-year-long civil war.
Iran is also substantially involved in the ongoing conflict in Iraq, where experts fear it is trying to establish a reliable land bridge that stretches all the way to Lebanon. Such a land bridge across “would provide a larger platform for projecting power and establishing an uninterrupted Iranian presence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon,” Hanin Ghaddar of the Washington Institute noted in November 2016.
Israel has long feared that the true purpose behind its years-long malign influence campaign in the Middle East is to turn Iraq and Syria into client states.
Israel, however, does not intend on sitting idly by. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was caught on a hot mic in mid-July admitting “dozens” of Israeli Defense Force strikes on Iranian arms convoys. “I have one message for Iran: Don’t threaten Israel,” he declared July 19.
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