EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The recent infiltration of the Israeli airspace by an Iranian drone, and the chain of events that followed, occurred in the context of a process of transition in the Iranian strategic approach: from covert intervention by proxy to direct pursuit of the anti-Israeli “resistance axis.”
The sending of the Iranian drone into Israel and the escalation that followed constitute a new phase in the Iranian-Israeli conflict, which until now has been conducted covertly and by proxy. This latest incident adds a wholly new dimension to the Islamic regime’s anti-Israel struggle: transition from indirect to direct involvement. Among other things, this shift reflects the theocratic regime’s greater self-confidence, apparently stemming from a subjective sense of achievement in promoting “the resistance axis” in recent years.
An examination of the evolution of the Islamic Republic’s anti-Israel policies over the past four decades can readily suggest the extent of the change. At the ideological level, these policies reflect the regime’s desire to demonstrate uncompromising loyalty to the worldview of the Republic’s founding father, Ayatollah Khomeini, which includes both anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist elements. On the strategic level, the enmity toward Israel gives the regime leverage in its striving for regional hegemony and leadership role in the Muslim world.