Did Israel bomb Iranian targets in Iraq?

News reports in Israel and from an Arab news source suggest that they did.

Israel has expanded its operations against Iranian targets to Iraq, where Air Force jets have struck twice in ten days, a report said Tuesday morning.

. . .

Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic-language newspaper published in London, cited Western diplomatic sources as saying an Israeli F-35 plane was behind a July 19 strike on a rocket depot in a Shiite militia base north of Baghdad.

The Saudi-based al-Arabiya network reported at the time that members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and Hezbollah had been killed in the strike. It said the base had shortly before the strike received Iranian ballistic missiles, which had been hidden inside trucks.

Asharq Al-Awsat also said that Israel was behind another strike in Iraq carried out Sunday at Camp Ashraf, the former headquarters of the exiled People’s Mujahedin of Iran, located 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad and 80 kilometers from the Iranian border.

That strike targeted Iranian advisers and a ballistic missile shipment, the report cited sources as saying.

The report also mentioned a strike in Syria last week blamed on Israel, in which nine were killed including six Iranians fighting for the Syrian regime, claiming it was meant to prevent Iran from taking over a strategic hill in the Daraa province in the country’s south.

There’s more at the link.

Of course, Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria are nothing new;  but to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time it’s hit Iranian targets in Iraq.  That’s a significant expansion of hostilities.  Israel is no longer waiting for Iran to move weapons into Syria;  it’s hitting them before they can get there.

We should also view this from the perspective of the burgeoning “tanker war” in the Persian Gulf.  Iran is taking a hard line there, but these attacks are a reminder to its Revolutionary Guard that if they concentrate too much on one area, they render themselves vulnerable in another.  Israel’s “guarding the back door”, if you will.  I think, if Western powers launch strikes against the Revolutionary Guard in coastal Iran, Israel will seize the opportunity to hit them in other areas at the same time.

I’m also fairly sure that Israel would not have expanded its hostile actions against Iran into Iraq without first discussing it with the USA.  I daresay there was at least tacit approval for its actions before they happened.

The Middle East is getting “interesting”, in the fabled Chinese curse sort of way . . .



  1. A larger reason for Israel now attacking targets within Iran is that, as of July, they now have an entire operational squadron of 16 F35's.

    Since it is well known that Iran has an extensive air defense network, including S-300 missiles, the stealth aircraft now give Israel the edge.

    There were recently reports of F-35's overflying Tehran, and this appears to be the next step.

    The US would approve of Israel's actions, because it allows them to test the F-35 against a modern air defense system. It also sends a message to the Russians that their system is not unbeatable.

  2. And Israel is hedging their bets on 2020… If they do things now, they don't have to worry about pushback from the US.

  3. Double-edged sword.

    One of those F-35s goes down over there, and it's in foreign hands and compromised in about 6 hours.
    Rather than start a bidding war, the Russians and Chinese will split the cost and share the data.
    Which is forty years of criminally bad development and some hundreds of millions of US tax $$ shot to hell, for a truckload of rockets.

  4. As to Aesop's analysis: A single engine plane, still subject to a multitude of publicly known reliability problems and other deficiencies (not related to reliability). Hell, its on board cannon still cannot shoot straight. What could possibly be anything to worry about?

  5. @aesop

    you are assuming that they don't already have the info they want on these planes. I find it hard to believe that as they are widely fielded, there hasn't been _somoene_ with access to the technical data willing to leak it.

  6. "Technical data" versus an actual plane is to aircraft what Playboy magazine is versus an actual centerfold in your bed.

    The biggest danger isn't just that the secrets of a 27 year old program will be revealed, but that foreign powers may solve in short order the problems with the McNamara Prize-winning Thunderjug that Lockheed-Martin couldn't and haven't, then send perfected copies back at us.

  7. @JaimeInTexas: I'd be very cautious about trusting Moon of Alabama as a source. Consider the comments to that post you cited. It's very clear where the readership (and the source material) comes from – and I find both suspicious.

  8. @Peter

    I well aware of MOA's political inclinations but it is worth keeping tabs on. Same for Southfront.

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