In recent weeks, tensions in Iranian-Israeli relations have worsened. Iran is increasing its presence in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government in their mission to combat a foreign invasion backed by Israel. The operations of volunteer Shiite militias from many countries and the Hezbollah movement have Israel concerned about the integrity of its military.
Recently, Iran, according to various and conflicting sources, bombarded Israeli targets in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights region of Syria. However, Israel’s response was very quick: 28 Israeli Air Force planes attacked 50 Iranian targets in Syria – anti-aircraft systems, bases, headquarters, and subunits of the Special Forces of the Guard Corps of the Islamic Revolution, according to their claims.
Israeli officials have repeatedly insinuated to Syrian President Bashar Assad that the expulsion of Iran from Syrian territory would be a basis for good relations with Tel Aviv.
Many experts around the world are wondering if violent operations could spill over into Israeli or Iranian territory and trigger a war on a regional scale.
Israel is supported by the US and Saudi Arabia, who see pressure on Iran as their key policy goal in the Middle East. That is why US President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the Iranian nuclear deal.
It is very possible that, following the collapse of the Joint Global Action Plan (JCPOA), Iran will resume its nuclear program, including its military component, which will give Israel a reason to reinforce stringent measures against Iran.
The Global Fire Power edition compared the military strength of the two countries based on CIA information. The results are as follows: Iran’s military budget amounts to $6.3 billion, while Israel’s is $20 billion. Iran’s active military strength is almost three times that of Israel, though in reserve this number is more or less the same. Israeli military per capita expenditures are 30 times greater than Iran’s. Also the number of Israeli tanks is superior: 2,760 against 1,650 Iranians. However, Tehran has more warships.
But the main factor is not number, but the qualitative characteristics of military weapons and equipment. Since a land war is unlikely because of the very different population numbers, war can be fought with missiles, aviation, or perhaps with navy involvement.
For Iran a land war would also be difficult, since the distance between the Iranian rear and the probable Iranian-Israeli front on Syrian territory is very large.
Moreover, it is worth remembering that Israel is a nuclear power, which was announced in 1998. According to some assessments, Israel has between 100 and 500 nuclear warheads whose total trotter equivalent would be 50 megatons. Israel also has the anti-missile multilevel Iron Dome system.
Israeli military supremacy is well visible considering the nuclear dimension, but according to Rachel Brandenburg, head of the Middle East Security Initiative Atlantic Council, both countries realize “the price of war for each country would be high.”
That is why bilateral relations represent a kind of mutual restraint, but that does not mean that the clashes we have seen between Israel and Iran will end or are less risky, and it is very likely that tensions will continue to worsen.
However despite the asymmetry, Iran appears in some way to have an advantage; Israel was not able to defeat the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in the 2006 war, showing that resistance can often trump over a more powerful aggressor state.