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Why Israel shrugs at retaliation after attack on Iran

The threat of a simultaneous war with Iran's proxies – Hezbollah, Syria, and Gaza militants – is a key consideration for Israel as it weighs an attack on Iran. But Iran’s allies may not be as keen about going to war for the ayatollahs as Tehran would like, and the Israelis know it.

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In this Aug. 7 photo provided by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, right, meets with Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, in Damascus. Op-ed contributors Daniel Nisman and Avi Nave write: Mr. Jalili's visit 'was meant to remind the Israelis that Iran’s proxies on Israel’s northern doorstep remain ready and willing to plunge the region into chaos if Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear facilities.'

SANA/AP/file

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Last week Iran sent a high-level envoy, Saeed Jalili, on a particularly controversial public-relations tour to Lebanon and Syria, the most explosive corner of the region. After ruffling feathers during a Beirut stopover, Mr. Jalili traveled to Damascus to meet with President Bashar al- Assad, where he declared the ties between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah to be an “axis of resistance.”

Jalili is an iconic figure, whose position as the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also affords him the role of chief negotiator for Iran’s contentious nuclear program. Amidst a deadlock in negotiations and a rehashing of threatening rhetoric, Jalili’s visit was meant to remind the Israelis that Iran’s proxies on Israel’s northern doorstep remain ready and willing to plunge the region into chaos if Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It appears however, that Iran’s allies in the eastern Mediterranean may not be as keen about going to war for the ayatollahs as Tehran would like – and the Israelis know it.

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