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Intel Brief: Aviation Alert Iran-Israel

Updated: Apr 26


Date: 12/04/2024


Parties involved: Israel, Iran, United States, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds division, Iranian proxy terrorist groups operating in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.


Events: 


  • The killing by Israel of senior Iranian military commanders who resided in the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, marks an escalation in regional tensions. Iran has vowed to respond, though the exact response remains unclear. 

  • After the attack by the terrorist organization Hamas on 07/10/2023 on Israeli soil Israel started a war in Gaza in an attempt to neutralize Hamas. Iran, who has openly backed Hamas and other pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel organizations threatened to intervene if Israel did not stop its attacks in Gaza. From that day on Iran has urged its proxy groups (Hezbollah, Houthi and Iraq-based Shia militants) to attack Israel.

  • Attacks against Israel and Israeli interests have been coordinated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Division which is an Iranian special forces group with advisors spread out throughout the region that has the task to arm, train and support groups that serve Iranian interests. Throughout its existence the IRGC has been responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks against Israeli and American interests. Several of its commanders have been assassinated by the US and Israel. The latest bomb attack on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus killed the primary commander of the IRGC responsible for operations concerning Israel.

  • Israel is known for killing Hezbollah and Hamas commanders and bomb makers outside of Israel. The IRGC has also been a main target for Israeli forces. But bombing the Iranian consulate in Damascus is a deviation from normal tactics and raises concerns about the Iranian response to this attack.


Alerts of imminent Iranian response: 


  • US and Israeli intelligence agencies have released alerts on 12/04/2024 stating that there is a very large likelihood that Iran will execute its plan of retaliation against Israel within the next 48 hours. American government personnel have been told to not leave Tel Aviv in the coming days. 

  • Israel has put all its security forces on high alert and civilians have been warned to expect an Iranian attack.

  • There is no clarity on what kind of attack Iran has in mind and what sort of weapons or troops are involved or if an attack is going to be on Israeli soil or somewhere else against Israeli interests. 

  • Israel has let it known that if Iran does attack, directly or indirectly, it is ready to retaliate against Iran. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has trained extensively in how Israel will respond to an Iranian attack and it involves the use of stealth fighters like the F-35 that will circumvent Iranian air-to-air capabilities.

  • There is the added risk of the nuclear option both countries allegedly have. It is an open secret that Israel possesses American made nuclear weapons that can be delivered by F-35 and F-15E fighter jets. Officially Iran does not yet possess nuclear weapons but it is believed it could take them only a matter of days to produce one. It is known that Iran has the delivery capabilities.


Aviation alerts:


  • Out of the two European airliners flying to Iran, Lufthansa has suspended all flights to Iran pending another decision on 13/04/2024, citing concerns over an Iranian attack on Israel. Austrian Airlines have adjusted flight times to avoid overnight stops in Iran. Other major carriers with connecting flights in Iran to North America, such Emirates’ Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, have so far not made any decisions on suspending flights.  

  • Iran’s new agency stated that Iran’s airspace was closed until 14/04/2024 due to military drills, but shortly after removed the message. It then denied that it had made such a claim. 

  • The IDF and Iran have picked up GPS spoofing and interference. The IDF has picked up spoofing in an attempt to ward off Iranian guided missiles or airstrikes. This has also disrupted daily operations flying over the Middle East.

  • The foreign ministries of the US, Germany, France, the UK, India and Russia have issued warnings against traveling to Iran or Israel until further notice. 


Analysis and possible scenarios:


  • It is highly likely that Iran will not be looking to engage Israel in open warfare knowing that it is at a disadvantage militarily. There is also the fact that the United States will help Israel in an open war between the two countries. It is more likely that Iran will encourage its proxies to attack Israel or that Iranian agents will attack an Israeli embassy or consulate somewhere in the world.

  • If Iran does decide to engage in open warfare with Israel there is the likelihood that the entire region will be involved in such a conflict. Iranian proxies, the United States and other Western countries will be sucked into the war and it will force the Arab states to take a stance for or against Iran.

  • Any open warfare will undoubtedly affect oil prices across the globe. The Middle East region is already incredibly unstable, but open warfare will most likely disrupt all forms of cargo and oil shipping in the region.

  • It is more likely that Iran will direct a proxy group to attack Israel. Lebanese based Hezbollah and Yemen based Houthi are the most likely candidates to execute such an attack. But it is unknown how this would evolve and it is expected that Israel will be ready to engage Hezbollah in Lebanon as it will depend on the US and its allies to deter the Houthi in Yemen. Cities like Beirut and Damascus or Aleppo will not be safe from Israeli attacks.

  • There are speculations that Iran will launch hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel in a show of force and retaliation but will refrain from further engagement. It is however unlikely that Israel will not retaliate if such an attack does happen.


Conclusion:


The coming 48 hours are going to be tense in Israel, the Middle East and around the world. Security forces around the globe are on standby to deal with possible attacks on Israeli embassies and consulates just as security forces in the Middle East will be ready for dealing with an Iranian or Iranian sponsored attack. Countries like the United States and organizations like the EU and the UN are putting pressure on all sides to refrain from engaging each other. It is unknown if these diplomatic discussions will have an effect on the decision making in either Iran or Israel, both countries are seemingly not willing to back down or show any sign of perceived weakness. Open war will very likely impact all forms of aviation in the Middle East as electronic warfare will disrupt avionics and anti-aircraft capabilities are on full alert and misidentification of civilian airliners by such systems could result in tragedy.








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