Iran is a formidable enemy. A large country of more than 80 million people, endowed with energy riches, it has always been a regional power. Having an imperial past and revolutionary zeal (since the 1979 Iranian Revolution), Iran nourishes ambitions to rule over the Middle East and beyond. Furthermore, theologically there is no place in Iranian thinking for a Jewish state. Iran believes that Israel will either wither away following military pressure on its population or be annihilated when it is militarily weak and vulnerable.
As Iran challenges the status quo in the Middle East, a clash between Tehran and Jerusalem is inevitable. International history teaches us that when a rising power challenged the balance of power, in most cases war ensued. Sparta challenged an Athenian-led Greek city system, ending in the Peloponnesian wars. Prussia’s quest for the unification of the German principalities under its helm ended in several European Wars. Similarly, Israel cannot tolerate a Middle East dominated by Iran and its radical ideology.
Unfortunately, much of the Arab world is in the throes of a deep socio-political crisis, particularly since the mistermed “Arab Spring,” creating dissension and a political vacuum, which the sophisticated revolutionary elite in Iran has capitalized upon. These dynamics explain the rise of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the power grab of the Houthi Shi’ite sect in Yemen.
The revolutionary enterprise was also facilitated by the Middle East policies of the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. American military intervention destroyed Iraq, a strong rival of Iran, further undermining the regional balance of power.