President Donald Trump’s statement pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear pact on Tuesday, May 8, fitted into a sequence of planned events and restored the US to Middle East center stage:
- Two of the European signatories of the nuclear deal, France and Britain, while strongly objecting to Trump’s decision to quit the accord, are quietly playing along with him by sending air and ground units to Syria.
- As Trump spoke, Syrian media reported an Israeli air raid at el-Kiswa south of Damascus, claimed to have hit a missile cache and launchers belonging to Iran or Hizballah that were ready to attack Israel. The credibility of this claim is questionable given that, thus far, neither has fired a single shot at Israel.
The IDF has added the phrase “prior action,” to its dictionary, used when Golan residents were told to open their bomb shelters after sightings of “irregular Iranian movements” in Syria, indicating preparations to fire missiles at Israel. “Prior action” updates “pre-emptive action” and indicates that more action is coming.
- On Monday, May 7, DEBKAfile’s sources revealed “fleets of US warplanes and advanced surveillance drones working around the clock to track the slightest military movements around Syrian and Lebanese Mediterranean shores.” In other words, US intelligence is surveilling Iranian military movements in the region and working closely with Israel.
- Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s military operations in the region, is watching and waiting before going on the offensive, despite Tehran’s vow to even the score with Israel. He will not act until he is sure of catching Israel and the IDF unawares.
- The IDF has meanwhile started selectively mobilizing reserves for air defense, intelligence and homeland security units, realizing that the campaign against Iran’s military consolidation in Syria is just beginning. Israel initially lined up an array of missile defense batteries on the Golan border with Syria, including Arrows, David’s Wands, Iron Domes and Patriots. Air Force jets were flying overhead. A long haul may be ahead and test the nerves of the population.
- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set out early Wednesday for Moscow where President Vladimir Putin has invited him as his guest of honor to attend the annual Victory March marking the defeat of Nazi Germany. Since the parade goes on for more than two and-a-half hours, Netanyahu and Putin will have plenty of time while sitting on the saluting stand to exchange a word. Before flying out, the prime minister said that while all his meetings with Putin were always important, this one was more significant than ever before, in view of the importance of liaison between the IDF and Russian forces in Syria at this time. It is up to the Russian president to make that critical decision.