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By Briana Gomez

For the past week tensions between Israel and Iran have escalated. Normally these tensions would be some type of ‘cold war’ nuclear threats, but in this case the battleground is none other than Syria.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Iran has expanded its military presence in Syriaby deploying Shiíte militia forces from neighboring countries. Israel’s main concern presently is the network of forces that Iran has built between Syria and Lebanon, allowing for Iran to provide Hezbollah with long range precision missiles (that would inevitably be launched directly on Israel).

Meanwhile, with the Al Assad victory in Syria against rebel factions, Iran is feeling brazen over the gain of their ally. As a result, they allegedly sent a drone into Israel, which was quickly shot down. On the Syrian front, an Israeli combat aircraft was also shot down in the first occasion that Israel targeted Iranian assets in Syria.

If a war escalates with Iran, many leaders in the United States would welcome the opportunity to nullify the nuclear deal made under the Obama administration and U.S. ally and Sunni-laden Saudi Arabia would be overjoyed at a clash with Iran, their ideological nemesis, over fundamental religious points, also known as oil pipeline bids.

As a U.S.-ally, Israel benefits from positionality in the region that includes large annual funding for its economy and defense systems. Israel also holds part of Syria known as the Golan region that was incurred after the 1967 war with the Arab League over Palestinian territory.

With recent protests in Iran over economic issues resulting from Iran’s involvement in the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars, engaging in war with Israel could mean the end of the Rohani and Khameini regime, at the disruption of the populace.

Moreover, this is another tragically ironic reminder of the 2016 event that occurred in Syria when militant group Fursan Al-Haq, funded by the CIA, began fighting Pentagon-funded Syrian Democratic Forces. In a twisted essence, the United States was fighting itself inside Syria at tax-payer expense, of course.

Much like the division of North and South Vietnam over communist versus capitalist ideology, the conflict in Syria has become a literal and figurative battleground for opposing ideologies, countries, and most importantly financial interests.