Current Conflicts and Wars of the World-Mid-August, 2022 Review
Today we look at Iranian-sponsored terrorism and attacks, the most recent conflict between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel, and a quick look at the Ukraine War.
Links in the body of the article lead to various news sources for your further information on these topics.
Iranian-Sponsored Terrorism and Assassination Plots
Iran’s 30+ year old Fatwa against Salman Rushdie hits the news in a tragic way this week. Rushdie, who has endured death threats and a bounty on his head from the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1989 for the high crime of writing a novel that some considered insulting to Islam, was attacked on stage in upstate New York. At last report, Rushdie may have ended up losing an eye, and suffered other severe injuries in a knife attack. His assailant is an American citizen whose parents immigrated from a south Lebanon village that is in the predominantly Shiite region of that nation; a region under the control of Hezbollah, the Shiite army that is strongly connected to Iran. Initial reports indicate that the attacker had social media posts sympathetic to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
This attack is not the only one related to Iran’s disbelief in freedom of the press or freedom of religion. According to the New York Times, “In 1991, the novel’s Japanese translator was stabbed to death and its Italian translator was badly wounded. The novel’s Norwegian publisher was shot three times in 1993 outside his home in Oslo and was seriously injured."
Coincidentally, or not, U.S. Federal investigators recently charged an Iranian national (and member of the Revolutionary Guards) with plotting to kill Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, both of whom were involved policy decisions around the American assassination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander during the Trump administration.
Also, as reported on August 15, 2022, a drone attack was made on an American base in Syria. While the base is there for the stated goal of deterring the Islamic State, the base’s location and presence is also a deterrent to Hezbollah, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and the Assad regime in Syria. Just prior to this drone attack, which no one has yet claimed responsibility for, Israel conducted an airstrike that hit Syria’s Assad regime. Prior drone attacks on the U.S. al-Tanf base followed the same pattern; in other words, after an Israeli strike on Syria. The likely culprit in both attacks (the other was in October, 2021) is probably Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
One question that comes to mind is what, if anything, will the Biden Administration do in regards to these two terrorist actions and a drone attack that all connect very strongly to Iran?
Israel vs Islamic Jihad in Gaza (Again)
Also in Middle Eastern conflict news, Israel conducted a short, sharp military operation against the Islamic Jihad militia, which is based in Gaza. This time, the dominant Jihadi group in Gaza, Hamas, sat this one out. Israel pounded Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza for several days, while Islamic Jihad fired over a thousand rockets and missiles into Israel, but most did little damage due to Israel’s Iron Dome missile protection system and intense civil defense measures among the Israeli civilian population.
In what Israel calls “Breaking Dawn," Israel said they degraded Islamic Jihad’s ability to conduct terror operations inside Israel. There have been several prior “Gaza Wars," primarily between Israel and the larger Palestinian group, Hamas. The last of these conflicts was an 11-day war in May of 2021. In these prior conflicts, Islamic Jihad participated as a junior partner to Hamas, but in this short war, Hamas decided to sit out, as Israel made it clear they were targeting Islamic Jihad.
The continuing war (or, as Moscow puts it, the “Special Military Operation") in Ukraine continues, things are looking increasingly grim for Russia. Reports out of Russia paint a picture showing more and more difficulty in recruiting willing volunteers for service in the Russian army. More recruits are coming from poorer regions of Russia and are increasingly being made up of ethnic minorities. While Russia has mandatory military conscription, many upper and middle class Russians have ways of avoiding military service, similar to the problems the U.S. military faced with many middle-class men finding exemptions from service during the Vietnam War, such as faking an attempt to join the ROTC (Democrat Bill Clinton), or magically appearing and disappearing bone spurs (Republican Donald Trump).
In the Ukraine War, Russian forces are facing increasingly high-tech weaponry supplied by the U.S. and NATO, enabling the Ukrainians to hit Russian forces far behind the front lines. Huge explosions rocked an air base in Russian-occupied Crimea, destroying multiple warplanes and inflicting significant casualties on Russian forces there. At this point, the cause of the explosions are not public knowledge, but it shows that Ukraine is increasingly able to project military power into previously “safe" areas behind Russian lines.