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IDF Intelligence Head: Iran Downgrading Military Presence In Syria

The head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Intelligence Directorate told a parliamentary committee that Iran is reducing its military activities in Syria in response to domestic pressure. Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heiman claimed that renewed American sanctions on the Islamic Republic is having a trickle-down effect on the Iranian population, which, in turn, increasingly is expressing discontent over Tehran’s regional adventurism and the associated price tag estimated in the billions of dollars. Heiman also attributed the development to the deterrence achieved by hundreds of cross-border strikes conducted by the IDF over the past two years targeting Iranian assets in Syria. This comes on the backdrop of Operation Northern Shield, launched last week by the Israeli army in order to destroy cross-border attack tunnels constructed by Hizbullah. The IDF has to date exposed three subterranean passageways built by the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy with a view to dispatching elite fighters to capture Israeli towns and villages. As regards the current potential for war, Heiman ranked the probability as low, pointing to the fact that while Hizbullah has “had the statistical firepower for years, they do not have the industrial ability to convert and manufacture accurate weaponry.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu repeatedly has sounded the alarm over Iran’s ongoing attempt to change this reality by transferring to its underling sophisticated arms and technology that can be used to transform rudimentary projectiles into precision-guided missiles. Israel has vowed to prevent such an eventuality, with Netanyahu warning Tuesday that the IDF retains “tremendous power” and would inflict an “unimaginable blow” on Hizbullah if it attacks the Jewish state.