Gadi Eizenkot – IDF Spokesperson/Flash 90
In interviews with Israeli broadcasters and The New York Times, Eisenkot revealed that Israel had carried out thousands of strikes against the Iranian axis in Syria and claimed the IDF had won the war against Soleimani’s Quds Force and its proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
Eisenkot said Soleimani had made a serious error by trying to build up a 100,000 man-strong coalition of Shiite militias in Syria without having an air force and sufficient intelligence capabilities.
“His error was choosing a playground where he is relatively weak,” the outgoing IDF chief said.
“We have complete intelligence superiority in this area. We enjoy complete aerial superiority. We have strong deterrence and we have the justification to act. The force we faced over the last two years was a determined force, but not very impressive in its capabilities,” Eisenkot claimed.
The Quds Force of the IRGC is responsible for operations outside Iran and has found Hezbollah and the Hashd al-Shabbi umbrella organization of predominantly Shiite militias in Iraq which recently threatened to use force against the US military in the country.
Soleimani used Hashd al-Shaabi to fill the power vacuum in northern Iraq after the defeat of Islamic State’s Caliphate and oversaw virtually every major battle in Syria and Iraq during the war against ISIS.
The Quds commander was also responsible for the establishment of the Golan Liberation Brigade in Syria, which has become an integral part of the Syrian army, and for the reconciliation with the Palestinian terror organization Hamas in Gaza.
Eisenkot also explained why the IDF choose not to invade Gaza after Hamas and the Iranian proxy Islamic Jihad lobbed 460 missiles at southern Israel at the beginning of November last year.
The IDF commander told NYT columnist Bret Stephens that Israel needed to focus on winning the war against Iran and not against what he called a “weak enemy”.
“When you fight for many years against a weak enemy, it also weakens you,” Eisenkot said about the struggle against Hamas in Gaza. He added that the IDF is making “continuous and kinetic efforts” to degrade the military capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
Eisenkot told Stephens that in January 2017 the Israeli security cabinet gave him a green light to do whatever was necessary against the Iranian military build-up in Syria and Lebanon.
As a result of this decision, the Israeli air force (IAF) used more than 2,000 bombs and missiles in 2018 alone to frustrate the Iranian plan to obtain a permanent foothold in Syria and to equip Hezbollah with state-of-the-art weapons.
Eisenkot claims the Israeli military succeeded in disrupting the Iranian effort to take over Syria and confirmed Iran is now trying to increase its influence in Iraq.
He recalled what happened during the night of May 10th 2018 when Soleimani ordered the launch of more than 30 missiles against northern Israel after the IAF waged a relentless campaign against the Iranian axis in Syria.
While none of the Iranian missiles reached its target, the IAF response was devastating with a fleet of F-15 and F-16 warplanes destroying “80 separate Iranian military and Assad regime targets in Syria,” according to Eisenkot.
The massive assault, which was dubbed ‘Operation Chess’ by the IDF, caused Soleimani to withdraw his forces from the border region with Israel on the Golan Heights and to shift his focus to Lebanon and Gaza where the Quds Force is working in tandem with Hezbolah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas to increase the pressure on Israel.
“Operation Northern Shield”, the destruction of Hezbollah’s attack tunnels, is another example of Eisenkot’s strategy against Iran.
After Israel publicly exposed Iran’s efforts to equip Hezbollah with guided missiles and caused the Iranian proxy to dismantle its new missile facilities in Lebanon, the IDF delivered another devastating blow to Soleimani’s Israel project.
Eisenkot waited for almost four years before he ordered ‘Operation Northern Shield’ which has thus far resulted in the destruction of 6 attack tunnels that Hezbollah planned to use to invade northern Israel in a future war.
By launching the operation the moment the Iranian proxy neared the completion of the project, Israel delivered another devastating blow to the Iranian axis and restored its deterrence vis-a-vis Hezbollah.
As for the southern front, the IDF – with the help of the Palestinian Authority – continues its “continuous and kinetic efforts” to degrade Hamas’ military capabilities.
Israel is now blocking the transfer of funds provided by Qatar to Hamas, while the IDF continues to operate against the Iranian-backed Palestinian terror organizations in Gaza.
At the same time, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas took new measures which aim to squeeze Hamas in both Gaza and the so-called ‘West Bank,’ – Judea and Samaria.
Last week, the PA withdrew its forces from the Rafah border crossing in Gaza, the only gateway from Gaza to the world, and announced it was discussing “very important decisions against Hamas.”
One of these “very important decisions” could be a cut in the monthly stipends to the families of jailed Hamas’ terrorists who are held in Israel prisons and the rescinding of Palestinian passports for members of Hamas.
Another indication the PA realizes Hamas is endangering its rule over the Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria came in the form of a show of force in one of Hamas’ strongholds in Judea, the village of Beit Umar.
Fatah, the ruling faction in the PA, on Saturday evening staged a military parade in the center of Beit Umar waving its yellow flags and wearing military uniforms.
The parade took place a day after the IAF carried out a new airstrike against Iran-related targets in Syria.
Syrian and Lebanese media reported that Israeli fighter planes struck warehouses belonging to Hezbollah and the Quds Force in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport.