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Likelihood of Ground Incursions

2024-03-19 12:11

Issam Khoury

#IranianInfluence , #IsraeliGroundIncursion , #HezbollahReactions , #SyrianConflict , #LebanonUnrest , #GolanHeightsTension , #MiddleEastStrategies , #DroneWarfare , #IsraeliDefense , #USMiddleEastPolicy,

Likelihood of Ground Incursions

"Israeli forces prepare for potential ground invasion in Golan Heights, affecting Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran. Regional tensions escalate."

Media reports on February 28, 2024, revealed massive explosions in a minefield west of Tel Adnanah between the settlement of Ein Zivan and Avital on the Golan Heights within Israel. Notably, it was the Israelis who detonated this field, seemingly preparing their forces for a potential ground invasion on their northern front.


This Israeli stance is undoubtedly concerning for Hezbollah, the Syrian regime, and behind them, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. If Israel were to carry out a ground assault, it would not be limited to a specific area in Syria and Lebanon. Still, it would target the entire infrastructure on which the dormant cells planted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rely in both countries. Israel, as is their custom, preempts any ground attack with a series of airstrikes to scout the areas their army will pass through. Indeed, Israel has conducted a series of targeted assassinations and airstrikes that have eliminated several key consultants for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, such as Said Alidady[1], Razi Musavi, Hujjat al-Amidvar, Ali Aghazadeh, Hussein Mohammadi, and Saeed Karimi[2]. They have also destroyed numerous weapons depots in Syria and Lebanon. However, military supplies have not depleted in both countries. On the contrary, the variety of attacks targeting Israel from the northern front has forced the Israelis to seriously consider a ground assault.




Hezbollah fully realizes the repercussions of that war on its forces, so it decided to change the equation on Israel by using a new type of suicide drones, targeting on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the "Israeli military post in Muta", as the Hezbollah media war published on March 5, 2024, an "infographic" showing the party's execution of 1194 attacks against Israel since October 8, 2023, and claiming to have killed and injured more than a thousand Israeli soldiers. 






 Hezbollah's figures are unconfirmed as the party has not published photos and videos of its military operations, unlike its actions before the events of October 7, 2023. However, what could tilt the balance is Hezbollah allowing fighters from the Islamic Resistance Movement in Iraq to use their areas of influence in Syria and Lebanon to carry out attacks inside Israel. The Islamic Resistance Movement announced on March 5, 2024, targeting the Kiryat Shmona settlement airport with drones and hitting the power station in Haifa port[3]. The war media of the Islamic Resistance Movement also declared over 100 airstrikes on Israeli locations[4].


The publication of the "Infographic" by Hezbollah coincided with the announcement of 100 airstrikes carried out by the Islamic resistance, clearly indicating a unified media strategy that brings together Iraqi militias and Hezbollah. This strategy aims to alert Israelis and Americans to the weakness of their intelligence and security information. Iraqi fighters were able to pass through Syrian territory to reach Lebanon without obstacles, and they are likely now capable of manufacturing drones in any geographical area they reach. 


Additionally, this strategy aims to avoid attributing any operations solely to Hezbollah on the northern front, which helps Hezbollah evade the consequences of any major operation it undertakes by linking such operations to Iraqi militias to prevent a comprehensive war in Lebanon.

 This strategy also undoubtedly contributes to boosting the morale of Hamas fighters after losing most of their rockets during the Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.


From this news, we realize that the Iraqi Islamic resistance has ceased targeting US forces in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. They have relocated their military equipment to near Israel  " South Syria and Lebanon" to carry out coordinated operations with Hezbollah and advisors from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. This highlights the unity among Shia militias supported by Tehran, the Syrian regime, and Hamas.


From this strategy, we understand that the Iraqi Shiite militias, at the behest of Tehran, have stopped targeting Americans after the incident of the killing of three soldiers at Observatory 22. However, they were requested to be present alongside Hezbollah fighters to confront an upcoming ground battle. Hezbollah sought to amplify the actions of that resistance to send messages to the Israelis indicating: "You do not know the truth about your enemy and its capabilities."


These scenarios were on the minds of Americans, prompting General Mark Milley[5], Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to visit US bases in Syria on March 4, 2024. The purpose was to assess efforts to prevent the resurgence of ISIS, review protection measures against rocket and drone attacks by Iraqi Islamic resistance factions. This visit, not routine, hinted at US preparations for potential conflict escalation in the region. Despite their focus on combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the US is committed to safeguarding Israeli national security. Thus, their forces may need to cooperate with regional allies to stabilize the Syrian-Iraqi border chaos, which led to disruptions in Lebanese and Syrian governance and uncontrolled weapon proliferation in both countries bordering Israel.


Therefore, if Israel decides to launch a ground incursion, Washington may have to support it logistically and intelligence-wise. They may also strike Iranian supplies coming from Iraq to Syria, and these organizations will likely launch counterattacks on US bases, leading to an expansion of armed clashes from Syria toward Iraq. This would be costly for Washington, so the least costly option for Washington may be to strengthen its local allies, such as the Syrian Democratic Forces led by Ferid Al-Qasim, to engage with armed Shiite organizations on its behalf. This could cut off the supply route of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard from Iraq to Syria, specifically from the Tanf area to reach the areas of the Syrian Democratic Forces, as we pointed out in the Parallel Zones Project[6] published by the Czech-Slovak Institute of Oriental Studies “CSIORS” in July 2023.



If Washington succeeds in this mission, it could be a first step towards achieving a state of security stability in Syria, allowing the Syrian regime to deviate from Iranian dominance over its army and intelligence. If it fails, Israeli ground incursion may achieve this by military force, reminiscent of Israel's invasion of Lebanon on August 30, 1982, forcing the departure of Fatah movement and many Palestinian leaders from Lebanon to Tunisia.



The Israeli invasion of southern Syria, if it happens, would be less costly than the invasion of southern Lebanon, as the tunnel network in southern Syria is very modest compared to southern Lebanon. In Syrian territories, there is a strong aversion to Iranian Shiite influence, making popular resistance limited if not absent. The Syrian army leaders are corrupt, so the clearest confrontation for Israelis would be with the Iraqi Shiite militias, who have boasted about targeting civilian sites inside Israel, such as the port of Haifa. Therefore, the Israeli attack may be justified under the pretext of self-defense, and the American support may be justified under the pretext of combating terrorist groups, especially since most of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces are listed on US terrorist lists.


Israeli control of southern Syria would change the game for Hezbollah, especially if the attack extends to the suburbs of Damascus overlooking the Bekaa Valley like "the areas of Bloudan and Zabadani", which are supply areas for Hezbollah's weapons, as well as it is an area overlooking the camps of the Fourth Division led by Maher al-Assad. 

This Israeli military presence would force the Syrian regime to sever its ties with the Iranians and compel Hezbollah elements to leave Syria. If Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher fail to achieve this task, it remains a necessity for the Israelis, and the Russians will find no justification to persuade the Israelis otherwise, even if it requires removing the lion's family from power.

Therefore, an Israeli invasion of Syria will create a new map in the region's equations and will undoubtedly put an end to Iran's dreams of achieving a unified economic zone extending from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.




[1] A senior leader in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.. Who is “Alidadi” who was killed in a Syrian strike? /Al-Hurra TV/ February 2, 2024

 "قيادي كبير بالحرس الثوري الإيراني".. من هو "عليدادي" الذي قتل بضربة سوريا؟ | الحرة (alhurra.com)


[2] Iran accuses Israel of assassinating 5 advisors in the Revolutionary Guard in Syria and threatens to respond / Al Jazeera Net / January 20, 2024

 إيران تتهم إسرائيل باغتيال 5 مستشارين في الحرس الثوري بسوريا وتتوعد بالرد | أخبار | الجزيرة نت (aljazeera.net)



[3] Twitter, Mar 06, @AlMayadeenNews
 قناة الميادين on X: "المقاومة الإسلامية في #العراق تنشر مشاهد من استهدافها لمحطة الكهرباء في مطار حيفا بالأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة بتاريخ ٢٠٢٤/٣/٥ #فلسطين_المحتلة #الميادين https://t.co/AbJRQvM5qF" / X (twitter.com)


[4] Al-Mayadeen TV, March 6, 2024

العراق: ضمن المرحلة الثانية لعملياتها.. المقاومة الإسلامية تستهدف محطة الكهرباء بمطار حيفا | الميادين (almayadeen.net)



[5] Top US general Mark Milley makes surprise visit to Syria, Al-Monitor,  By, Jared Szuba, March 04, 2024



[6] Parallel Zones Project, Czech-Slovak Institute of Oriental Studies “CSIOS”,  By Issam Khoury, Jul 2023, 


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