Of bombs and bluffs

Summary: Iran’s massive missile attack on Israel did little damage which was unsurprising given the advance warning Tehran provided; all sides can claim a measure of victory. But as the Gaza war edges ever closer to a regional conflict the question is what comes next ?

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2 thoughts on “Of bombs and bluffs”

  1. Thanks for today’s Digest. It has been obvious to me from the first news of slow flying drones that Iran’s response was carefully calibrated to ensure it appeared strong to its domestic audience but did not cause Israeli casualties and raise the game.

    Can any intelligent person think Iran would have responded like that if it had intended to damage Israel? I’ve no doubt it let Washington know in advance what it was going to do. And the Iranian foreign minister immediately after said the matter was concluded. It was all so elegantly done.

    It’s similar to targeting the US air base in Iraq after letting the US know days in advance.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/1/21/iraqi-iran-backed-group-attacks-us-base-as-region-faces-threat-of-wider-war#:~:text=The%20attack%20caused%20one%20Iraqi,Corps%20(IRGC)%20in%20Syria.

    Cameron is no doubt pursuing the party line and sounds bland but hollow.

  2. I would disagree that “all sides can claim a victory”. The West has suffered yet another self-inflicted defeat.

    The deliberate armed attack by Israeli Air Force F-35s on the diplomatic territory of Iran – a state with whom Israel is not at war – was a crime of aggression, from which scourge the United Nations (particularly its Security Council) exists to protect succeeding generations.

    Despite the UNSC meeting, the West – principally the US, but also its British vassal – failed to censure or in other way sanction the perpetrator of this act without fear or favour.

    In the absence of that shocking failure to uphold International Law – or even the “rules-based-order” the West so loudly trumpets – Iran carried out a performative retaliatory strike. Whether one believes IRI politicians (any more than any other politicians whose lips are moving) or not, ‘The “imperative for Iran” to retaliate for the attack on its embassy compound in Damascus might have been avoided had the U.N. Security Council condemned the strike, Tehran’s mission to the United Nations said on Thursday.’ (https://www.reuters.com/world/un-security-council-should-have-condemned-iran-embassy-attack-syria-irans-un-2024-04-11/) Indeed, far from discharging their UNSC duty, the West acted at Western taxpayers’ expense to protect Israel from the consequences of its law-breaking. That defence may have reduced the chances of a regional conflict, but it might have been obviated by principled action in the UNSC.

    The West’s failure to act, or even to censure, was probably the result of domestic political reasons. Next time the issue of Security Council reform is raised again – in particular the permanent members’ right of veto – it is likely that this egregious and completely unnecessary failure will be raised as evidence of Western systemic corruption and self-interest and thus a lack of suitability to retain the veto. It is difficult not to agree with such an accusation; it is easy to see why the West is losing the “Global South”.

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