One of the leading candidates to become the new chief of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Major General, Eyal Zamir, has called for more assassinations of Iranian military figures, in order to curb their capabilities in neighboring Syria.
Zamir laid out his position in a 74-page document as part of his position as a research fellow at the pro-Israeli think tank, The Washington Institute.
In his paper, Zamir asserts that Iran has managed to develop comprehensive military infrastructure in Syria, and has missile systems that could be deployed against Israel in the event of a conflict between Israel and Lebanon’s pro Iranian Hezbollah.
He also describes Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as the “backbone” of Iran, and “the main means by which it seeks to dominate the region”.
Whilst laying out several methods Israel and its allies could use to target IRGC leaders, one is what he proposes as the “Soleimani model”, in reference to the assasssintation of the IRGC’s Quds force leader, Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad by drone strike in January 2020.
While the US under the Trump administration admitted complicity in the Soleimani assassination, the US has reportedly between kept in the dark on Israel’s increasing unilateral covert attacks on Iranian military figures and scientists in recent months, which have involved shootings, drone attacks and alleged poisonings.
The murder of the IRGC’s, Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, by two gumen in Tehran at the end of May, has been described by former UN special rapporteur, Richard Falk, as “state-sponsored terrorism, which is a criminal behaviour under international law”.
“The assassination of Sayyad Khodaei … seems a clear violation of the right to life, defined in international law by Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said Falk
“The targeted killing of Khodaei was unsupported by any Israeli presentation of evidence of his violent intentions or of engagement in extra-national violent plot as alleged by informal spokespersons for [Israel] in offering their rationalization for the assassination to the media and the US government” he added.
Israel’s airstrikes on civilian infrastructure in Syria, as witnessed in the Attack on Damascus Airport on 10th June, are also according to the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Imran Riza, “contrary to international and humanitarian law”.
Iran have vowed retaliation for the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, and with attacks against IRGC figures increasing, it’s likely the tactics laid out by Major Zamir would only stand to further undermine regional security.