Ugly protests have once again broken out in Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. Unguided high-explosive rockets are flying across the Gazan border into Israel with indiscriminate concern while Israeli F-16s, F-15s and Apache helicopters are striking back in Gaza with precision guided munitions. All deadly.

Thing is, to the 24/7 media this crisis is no different than past clashes in the Holy Land: an overaggressive Israel bullying stateless Palestinians. But this time, it’s not what it seems. This time, it’s a war with Iran.

Israel and Iran have been waging a low intensity conflict in the battle-scarred aftermath of the Syrian civil war for over a year. Two US presidents, Obama and Trump, troubled by the insurgencies of ISIS and Al-Qaeda there, blindly acquiesced to the involvement of Russia on the side of Bashar al-Assad, and seeing little Western protest a hubristic Iran moved in on the side of Assad too.

It was Obama’s no-nukes-for-cash agreement that emboldened Iran in this way. The result has been an interference in the Levant on a scale unseen since the days of Iran’s involvement in Lebanon in the 1980s that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of US Marines in Beirut. Yet, in Syria Iran has now stayed.

We’ve seen this proxy war between Israel and Iran play out in occasional snippets on the news. Israeli air strikes have openly hit Iranian targets in Syria—a once risky unilateral move. Only the other week, the story broke of another Israeli cyber-attack on Iran’s nuclear program.

The Middle East couldn’t be happier with Israel. No one wants an Iran armed with A-bombs.

Iran therefore, is losing its conventional struggle in Syria and is now trying a classic military manoeuvre shifting its focus to Israel’s Mediterranean flank. Gaza has woken this week brimming with an Iranian-supplied missile arsenal in the making for well over a decade. Gaza is Israel’s back door and the army knocking is not Hamas as we’re being told per se. Rather it’s the Pasdaran. The world might know it better as the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

The Pasdaran, while also being a massive business enterprise, is Iran’s highly sophisticated, well-funded global military arm. In Gaza it functions under the guise of Hamas and Islamic Jihad; in Lebanon as Hezbollah, and in Syria as itself.

Today’s news then, has nothing to do with “Palestinian liberation”. Short and medium-range rocketry capable of striking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem did not suddenly appear in Gaza from the sweat of Palestinian labourers. What we’re seeing unleashed right now is the fruit of a sophisticated Pasdaran-run insurgency: one I wrote about in the media in 2013.

Indeed, this new Gazan “war” is not what it seems. And it may for the first time culminate in a military strike against Iran.

This is not 1990s Saddam Hussein the era of Scuds versus Patriots and of Allied multinational coalitions spread along the Kuwaiti border. This is something more, something paradigm shifting.

This may just turn out to be a high stakes game of regime change in Israel or Iran. Many on both sides will die. And there can only be one winner.

© 2021 Adam Parker.

Picture credit: “Then and Now: A Numbers Game”, a strategic analysis of the military picture facing Israel 40 years after the Yom Kippur War. © 2013 AJN.