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Will an Arab-Israeli regional defensive alliance emerge against Iran’s suicide drones?

Israeli defense minister warns: “Iranian aggression is rising – not just in the nuclear program but also in its regional attacks"

Illustrative - A drone is launched during a large-scale Iranian military exercise, Semnan, Iran, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Iranian Army/WANA via Reuters)

Israel and its Arab allies are reportedly considering establishing a joint defensive alliance against the growing suicide drone threat posed by Iran and its terrorist proxies in Yemen and Iraq. 

Following recent missile and drone attacks by the Iranian-backed Yemenite Houthis on the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Israeli Channel 12 news reported on Saturday that the Jewish state initiated the idea of forming an Arab-Israeli defensive alliance. The purpose of such an alliance would be to warn other allies in the defensive network of impending attacks and to cooperate in neutralizing them.

“Recently, there have been attempts to launch such drones from Yemen and Iraq, alongside Iran's attempts to deploy drones into Syria and Lebanon,” stated the Channel 12 report. 

The report did not mention sources or specific countries but vaguely stated that the defensive alliance could include neighbors – near and far. It is very likely that such alliance would include the Gulf states threatened by Iranian-led drones such as the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. 

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned of the growing Iranian-led drone threat in 2021.

“Unmanned aerial vehicles are a precision weapon, which can reach strategic targets throughout the world,” Gantz warned at the time with a barely-veiled reference to the Iranian regime and its proxies. 

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Gantz warned of Tehran’s increased regional aggression including the use of suicide drones by Iran and its terrorist proxies. 

“Iranian aggression is rising – not just in the nuclear program but also in its regional attacks. Iran takes over failed states, forcing them to defend Iranian interests while committing severe human rights violations,” Gantz said referring to Yemen and Lebanon. 

Gantz also addressed the issue of two drones recently sent from Lebanon into Israel by the Iranian-backed terrorist proxy Hezbollah. One of the drones succeeded infiltrating Israeli airspace for some 20 minutes before being intercepted by Israel. An Israeli military investigation concluded that the Hezbollah drones that violated Israeli airspace were unarmed. However, it is likely that the unarmed drones were sent as test balloons in order to test the Jewish state’s defense systems. The pro-Iranian Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah later confirmed that its drones had been sent across the border to Israel for an "intelligence gathering mission."

The Israeli defense chief warned that Lebanon could ultimately pay the price for Hezbollah’s and Iran’s aggression. 

“Just this week, in Israel we saw a number of Hezbollah attempts to violate Israel’s sovereignty. In this context, I have a clear message for Hezbollah: Their operatives are familiar with the noise made by our aircraft engines, and with their capabilities. If we are required to respond and to attack in order to defend ourselves, we will do so and we will cause great damage to the terror organization and its surroundings. The state of Lebanon will, unfortunately, have to be held responsible,” Gantz warned. 

In a recent speech marking his 30-year anniversary as the leader of Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah boasted that the Lebanese-based terrorist organization has been involved in drone development for years. 

 “We have been producing drones in Lebanon for a long time and whoever wants to buy them, submit an order,” Nasrallah claimed

The Hezbollah leader linked the emergence of Hezbollah to the first Lebanon War in 1982 when the Israeli army entered Lebanon in response to repeated PLO attacks from Lebanon against civilians in northern Israel. 

“In 1982, Lebanon was facing a huge threat and on the brink of falling victim to Israeli hegemony. Resistance factions, including Hezbollah, were the ones who protected Lebanon’s identity. The resistance defended this identity with blood,” Nasrallah said. 

Despite its tiny size, the Jewish state is considered a world leader in drone technologies and emerged as a pioneer in unmanned aerial vehicles in the 1980s around the same time as the Israeli military was facing its adversaries during the First Lebanon War. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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