The wider picture now involves the Houthis in Yemen. As Iran helps them expand their drone and missile range, the picture that is forming is of a possible multi-front conflict in the future. This means drones and missiles in Yemen are a threat to southern Israel. Missiles in Gaza may have a range of 250km. Iran moved ballistic missiles to Iraq in 2018 and 2019. In the summer of 2019 pro-Iran militias in Iraq accused Israel of airstrikes in Iraq. Israel has expressed concerns about the transfer of precision guided munitions from Iraq through Syria to Hezbollah. This presents challenges involing drones and PGMs in Syria and Lebanon as well as drones and ballistic missiles in Iraq. The multi-front war appears to have always begun against Israel and the recent conflict in Gaza was an example of how it may be launched, planned and operationalized.
Israel faced a multi-front conflict during the recent battles in Gaza, however much of that multi-front aspect has remained hidden because it did not manifest itself in attacks. During the lead-up to the conflict, Iran put out messages to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, coordinating message discipline for Quds Day before Hamas launched its May 10 attack.
Around the time of the conflict Hamas was also in touch with Hezbollah and it appears that Iraqi-based pro-Iran militias and the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen were all interested in joining the war against Israel. Not much is known about what the Houthis, Hezbollah and Iraqi militias did during the war from May 10 to May 22. However, what is known is that many messages were released by pro-Iranian militias in Iraq. These are part of the PMU or Hashd al-Shaabi. In addition, Israel accused Iran of sending a drone into Israeli airspace on May 18. The drone came from Syria or Iraq. If it came from Iraq, that would be a major development.
Iranian drones from Syria have threatened Israel in the past. Rockets were also fired at Israel from Lebanon.What is publicly known is that Iran’s Press TV has operationalized the Houthis in Yemen to claim that Israeli “tourists are being transferred to Socotra island.” This report appeared at Press TV on June 1. Iran has fed anti-Israel stories about Socotra before. This is an island off Yemen, claimed by Yemen, but where the UAE is said to operate. It appears that someone, perhaps with links to Iran, also had an agenda in pushing details about another “mysterious” base on Mayun island off Yemen. This isn’t linked to the Gaza war, but it is part of the wider Iranian agenda in the region.
The Houthis may be basing drones from Iran that can strike at Israel, according to reports in January. Hamas has claimed that after the recent war it can now break the siege of Gaza. It has attempted to increase rage in the West Bank, Jerusalem and inside Israel.
This is part of Hamas increasing its abilities, through the use of engineers to develop better rockets, most based on Iranian support and design. Other evidence of the multi-front nature of the recent conflict comes from several messages posted on social media and online. For instance, Al-Akhbar news in Lebanon says that the head of the Hamas political bureau visited Lebanon last year and coordinated activities with Hassan Nasrallah. In addition, Al-Akhbar has revealed that the Houthis “asked Hamas for the coordinates of Israeli targets,” during the conflict.The Houthis asked to be involved and signaled their willingness to support Hamas.
Hamas indicated it didn’t need their support at this time and therefore the Houthi request was not fulfilled. Reports at Press TV also noted that Hamas thanked Iran for its support during the war. Lastly in Iraq the Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba militia, which is linked to Iran, apparently met with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad representatives to “discuss support in the struggle against Israel.” These reports are the first indications that a multi-front war was not only in the planning and coordination stages but that Iran may have used this conflict as a dry run for future multi-front operations. In the past there have been warnings of multi-front conflicts.
In addition, during past conflicts, such as the 2019 conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, there has always been a multi-front aspect because groups like PIJ have offices in Damascus and work with Iran. Hezbollah works closely with the Iraqi militias. Iran uses Syria as a base of entrenchment where Hezbollah and Iraqi militia like Kataib Hezbollah interact and smuggle and base drones and missiles. Israel has carried out a “campaign between the wars” against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.