Iran’s message to Israel – new rules!

14 Apr

My last post but one asked, Does Washington want war with Iran? It noted the many pundits, critical of the USA, who also deem it subservient to Israel through such as the AIPAC. Thanks to that subservience, they further claim, there’s a real danger of the USA being drawn into a war with Iran that Israel needs but America does not.

This view of the US as a vassal of Israel is in sharp contrast to that of the Marxist writer Stephen Gowans – Israel: a beachhead in the Middle East – while the more specific claim, of America being dragged in to fight Israel’s war with Iran, is contested by Brian Berletic. Brian draws on a single source – but of high credibility given (a) its wealth of detail, (b) its status as what lawyers call a statement against interest and (c) its prescient alignment with subsequent events –  to argue that US elites have long wanted war with Iran, and have mounted many provocations to that end. I refer to a 226 page report from the US Government funded Brookings Institution. It sets out various options by which the US might effect regime change in Tehran.

I concluded:

… Brian’s case – that (a) the USA does seek war with Iran and (b) used Hamas to that end – is impressive …. So are all those other voices just plain wrong? Not necessarily. The Brookings Report is dated 2009. Since then huge weaknesses in US might have been exposed in Ukraine, while Yemeni disruption in the Red Sea affords a mild foretaste of what Iran – before we even get to its daunting defensive capability – might do in the Hormuz Strait … Washington elites who once sought war with Iran may now be less sure of themselves. 

The context for that post had been provided by the events leading up to it:

  • April 1 – Israeli F-35s bomb Iran’s Syrian Embassy, destroying it and killing 13, including two senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
  • April 3 – the USA, UK and France veto Russia’s motion to censure this unprecedented violation of the 1961 UN Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The USA argued, absurdly, that it could not be sure the building had been the Iranian Embassy, while Paris and London long ago ceased to have any independence from Washington.
  • April 11 – while Tehran had promised retaliation “at a time and in a manner of our choosing”, none had yet materialised.

That changed on Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, with combined drone and missile attacks on military targets inside Israel. This too is unprecedented, and brings the region palpably closer to war. Yet the response in Washington suggests the last thing it wants is escalation.

Indian Express, April 14 2024

This, as argued in the above extract from my April 11 post, does not make Brian wrong about America’s long term objectives (however delusional those might now be). It does, however remind us that US lack of preparedness for a second and simultaneous war, with so formidable a foe as Iran, has been exposed in its first and ongoing one against Russia in Ukraine.

Key take-aways?

  • America does not want a wider war in the Middle East. Its initial knee-jerk response to October 7 had been to despatch – see my October 26 post, Floating Pointlessness – two carrier groups to the region. Highly vulnerable to attack, they are no longer there. 1
  • Iran does not want a wider war in the Middle East. Not only do we have its record of restraint in the face of US/Israeli provocations; the weekend’s attacks were themselves restrained in that (a) they were advertised well in advance, (b) used weaponry far less lethal than Iran is known to possess, (c) caused zero loss of life or damage to civilian infrastructure. Footage aired on social media does, however, back Tehran’s claims that both the Ramon and Nevatim airbases were hit. Those Damascus-bound F-35s on April 1 took off from Nevatim, which is also the entry point for Western supplied arms used in the ongoing mass murder in Gaza.
  • Iran had to make some response to the Damascus strike. That response has put Israel, the US and the world at large on notice that attacks on Iranians, be they inside Iran as with the murder of nuclear scientists, or elsewhere as with hits on the IRCG in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, will henceforth and in a clear break with the past be met with responses that target Israel itself.
  • With the sole exception of Jordan, its king a British groomed puppet of Saudi descent who barely speaks Arabic, no Arab state allowed use of its airspace in countering the Iranian retaliation. As a sign of US control of the region slipping away, this is telling.
  • As well as showing Tehran restraint, Iran’s use of low grade weaponry served other aims. By using cheap drones and old missiles, at an estimated total cost of $5 million, before firing half a dozen hypersonic missiles, Iran was playing mind games with Israel and, more than that, learning about Israeli capability and strategy. The estimated cost of the defence operation is an unsustainable $1.3 billion. Since Iran is known to have hundreds of thousands of such missiles, too dispersed and hidden to be taken out by a pre-emptive strike, Israel and the West have no viable answer to future and deadlier attacks.

For more detailed information on the weekend’s events, I recommend two videos, from Electronic Intifada and from George Galloway interviewing Scott Ritter.

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  1. To be sure, the USA would – for reasons set out in Israel: a beachhead – have to defend an Israel existentially threatened, but John Kirby’s statement flags to the rogue state that it may no longer conduct its outrages – risibly labelled chutzpah  – boastfully confident that Washington has its back.

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