Israel’s general election is coming up on April 9th and it could possibly facilitate a new era of politics in the region. Despite the fact that popular opinion still generally favors Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling center-right coalition, an opportunity for center-left challenger Benny Gantz rises in the midst of growing discontent. Whoever wins, however, will need to deal with brewing threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine that could escalate to a major conflict as well as increasing criticism from U.S. Politicians regarding Israel’s ties with China.
The Syrian state media reported on Monday February 11th, 2019 that Israel bombed a demolished hospital and observation post in Syria’s southern Quneitra province near the border between Israel and Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on February 12th, 2019 that Israel did in fact strike Hezbollah targets in Syria the previous day. "We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region," Netanyahu stated as he set out to attend an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.
On Friday, Jan 11th, 2019, Israeli warplanes launched multiple missiles towards Damascus. According to a Syrian military source, the attack took place at 11:15 PM (2115 GMT) when Israeli warplanes coming from the direction of the Galilee fired several missiles towards the vicinity of Damascus. The source claimed most of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian air defense system and that the airstrike caused damage but no casualties. said a “ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus International Airport” was hit.
On Dec 19th, 2018, Wednesday, Donald Trump announced that he’ll be pulling US troops from Syria and declared victory over ISIS. According to various reports, Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily without consulting his security advisers nor any US allies. The US president reportedly made this decision following a phone call with Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan on Dec 14th.
On September 17, 2018, Russian and Turkish presidents agreed to create a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib along the line of contact between the Syrian government forces and the armed opposition. The agreement fell apart following a chemical attack targeting Aleppo and reigniting clashes between Turkish-backed rebel forces in Idlib and the Syrian Army supported by Russian forces.
Idlib Chemical attack. (Nov. 24, 2018)
On Tuesday July 24th, Israeli Security Forces (ISF) intercepted a Syrian fighter jet that allegedly penetrated two kilometers deep inside Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights while carrying out air raids targeting militant positions in southwestern Syria. After two Patriot missiles were fired, reports indicated that the aircraft crashed inside militant-held positions in South Syria and that at least one out of two pilots supposedly died as a result. Later on, ISIS-affiliated militants released images of the downed plane on social media.
Residents of Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria have been shaken, quite literally, during the past week by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks beginning in Jordan on Wednesday, July 4, and most recently experienced in Israel on Monday, July 9. Seismic activities are not abnormal for the area, occurring primarily in the Great Rift Valley, which extends from northern Syria to Mozambique. The area lies on the Dead Sea Transform fault system, a boundary that separates two major plate systems.
According to reports, on Saturday February 10th, an Iranian surveillance drone allegedly took off from Syrian territory in an attempt to infiltrate Israeli airspace and monitor the area. Israel perceived it to be a an Iranian aggression and as such, the Israeli army assigned a military attack-helicopter (Apache) to intercept and down the drone which later reportedly fell inside Israeli controlled areas. A spokesperson for the Israeli army said that the Iranian drone will be carefully studied as it considered to be very advanced.