By Jacob L. Shapiro
While the rest of the world was focused on the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons outside Damascus over the weekend, on April 9 Israel’s air force attacked an Iranian target in Syria for the second time in 2018. The target was Tiyas air base, located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Palmyra. Separately, Israel also hit a Hamas base in northern Gaza.
Israel’s decision to conduct operations in two countries on the same night is unusual, but tactically the operations fit Israel’s modus operandi. In recent decades, Israel has eschewed the large-scale pre-emptive attacks of the 1950s and 1960s, instead focusing on maintaining effective deterrence against would-be challengers. Israel arrived at its deterrence strategy as much because of its reticence to commit large numbers of ground forces to conflicts as because of the weakness of its adversaries. Israel cannot invade Gaza every time Gazan Palestinians plant a bomb on the Israeli bord