The Iran-Israel Standoff: World at the Crossroads

As one reflects on Iran’s response to the recent Israeli attack on its consulate in Damascus, memories of previous Iranian strikes come rushing back. In January 2020, Iran retaliated against American targets in Iraq following the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Back then, Iran took one week to orchestrate its response, allowing the US forces to evacuate their military bases before the attack commenced. Iran’s prior warning to the USA of the impending attack helped curtail the conflict. Fast forward to the present. Iran’s preparation for retaliation this time has been more meticulous, spanning a fortnight. The result? Israel and its allies scrambled to establish an Air Defence network around Israel, claiming to have intercepted a staggering over 90% of the projectiles and drones aimed at various Israeli targets. Would this delayed attack help in avoiding an escalation in the region remains to be seen.


What makes this Iranian response-‘Operation True Promise’- particularly unique is its magnitude and the multi-directional nature. The attack emanated from different countries—Iran itself, Lebanon, and Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. The barrage included an impressive array of indigenously produced ground-launched weapons: over 300 Iranian drones, cruise missiles, and other surface-to-surface missiles. Air raid sirens blared across Israel, forcing people into bomb shelters as this extensive attack unfolded. Notably, the strategic Golan Heights—a Syrian territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War became one of the primary target areas. Hezbollah, an Iranian-supported group operating from Lebanon, claimed responsibility for firing dozens of rockets at an Israeli barrack within the Golan Heights. In defence against the onslaught, Israel and its allies deployed cutting-edgeMissile Defence Systems, including the latest Arrow-3, David’s Sling, Iron Domesystems, and the most modern fighter jets. After the attack was over, a worried Prime Minister Netanyahu, keen on keeping intact the international support, tweeted, “We intercepted. We blocked. Together, we will win.” Yet, a lingering question remains: Would Israel’s Air Defence System have achieved similar interception results without the active support of the US, UK, and Jordan? Probably not.


As the standoff continues, the world watches with bated breath, aware that the choices made now could shape the course of regional stability and global relations. Israel’s strategic gain in drawing Iran into the conflict remains uncertain. Will it lead to the intended objectives—total elimination of Hamas and comolete control over Gaza? Or will it merely provide Israel with a face-saving exit from the prolonged show of wills in Gaza? Only time will reveal the true impact of this high-stakes confrontation.


Meanwhile, Iran, while demonstrating its readiness to confront all threats, has not been able to significantly damaged all the intended targets. However, it has succeeded in rekindling bitter memories of war among the Israeli populace. Wearied by perpetual warlike conditions, Israelis may find it hard to support another protracted conflict. Apparently, Iran’s assertion that the operation is over aims to pressure Western powers to prevent an extensive Israeli response. Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts in Arab and Western capitals will be put to the test. Israel could opt for strategic restraint, keeping its options open to limit the conflagration. Conversely, continued intransigence could further destabilizethe region. It may respond with carefully calibrated, long-range missile strikes, targeting the bases from which Iran launched its recent attacks. Going higher on the escalation ladder, Israel might even directly target Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards. The stakes are high, and the world, holding its breath, looks towards the United States to negotiate a path away from the edge of the precipice. In an election year, President Biden may find it hard to muster enough support at home to simultaneously support two wars—the Middle East and the Ukraine. What remains to be seen is when he reaches out to defuse the tinderbox, would he have the wholehearted support of his military leadership.


Both Iran and Israel possess significant military capabilities, and any escalation could have severe consequences for regional stability and global security. Without effective mediation from the USA, there is a significant potential for the conflict to spiral out of control.


1 Comment

  1. Any peace-loving person would tell you that war is never the answer to solve conflicts among groups, nations, or big states. The recent history can testify to that.
    But some countries use force to show their power, perpetuate their local and international hegemony and even to divert the attention of the world from their domestic problems or foreign failures.
    We are witness to such arrogance from Israeli leaders who have been attacking neighbouring countries at will and without condemnation. Without going into history, we can mention Israel’s missile attack on Iranian Consulate in Damascus on 1st April, which killed 13 diplomates and staff inside. It was a crystal-clear violation of the international law and a declaration of war.
    Iran publicly warned that a response would come, and it did on 13thApril in the shape of a barrage of 300 missiles and drones which was directed on Israel.
    The sad part of this event is that Netanyahu has been openly threatening Iran. He wanted to drag Iran into a direct confrontation with USA and Gulf States and by hitting the consulate, it knew that Iran would not tolerate it.
    So, the question is ; Should Israel be allowed to attack neighbouring countries on flimsy excuses and not be admonished?
    Are we in danger of a wider war and if so, how can this be avoided?

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