One dilemma of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) — which is worse, Iran or the Islamic State (IS) — has long since been decided. (This dilemma was discussed in several earlier Al-Monitor articles.) Now there is a consensus among the Israeli security experts that Iran poses more dangers to Israel and the region than the expansion of IS. “IS was a passing fad,” a senior Israeli security source told Al-Monitor recently on condition of anonymity.
“Iran is a powerful system, with a strong economy, much influence, culture, science, academia and human resources and the ability to activate these resources. Iran today pulls all the terror-strings in the region,” the source said. “Ever since the war in Syria started to die down, Iran also began to oversee Sunni terror and send millions of dollars to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”
Israeli pundits estimate that the Iranians have about 200,000 Shiite fighters on their payroll in the area between Iran and the Mediterranean Sea. These fighters are Hezbollah men or are part of militias of the Shiites, Houthis or other groups affiliated with this terror network.