The Reasons Behind Iran's Attack on Israel

The Reasons Behind Iran’s Attack on Israel

What are The Reasons Behind Iran’s Attack on Israel? The recent attack on Israel by Iran was a chaotic event that showed Iran’s isolation from the rest of the region. Iran is a predominantly Shiite Muslim and ethnically Persian power in a predominantly Sunni Muslim and Arab environment, which makes it difficult for Iran to maintain good relations with other Muslim nations.

Iran has traditionally used indirect retaliation against Israel, but recently, there was a significant shift in strategy. Iran directly attacked Israel, which is an unprecedented step. This change in strategy was in response to an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria.

In 2019, a Saudi official called Iran a “paper tiger with steel claws” because of its use of terrorist proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis to expand its influence in the region.

Iran has historically relied on indirect terrorism in its policy toward Israel, but that seems to be changing. After a recent Israeli attack, Iran is now ready to confront Israel directly without using its agents. Over the past decade, Iran has strengthened its drone capabilities and expanded its missile arsenals, making this move possible.

Change in Iran’s retaliation strategy

The Reasons Behind Iran's Attack on Israel

The attack by Israel on the Iranian consulate in Damascus was a provocative move. Israel and the United States have taken similar actions in the past, causing tensions. The assassination of General Qassem Soleimani by the Trump Administration was one such example. Despite being in a difficult situation, Iran did not escalate the conflict at the time. However, after four years and in similar circumstances, Iran chose to respond directly.

Iran launched an attack using 100 drones and over 350 rockets in Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon. They also captured a cargo ship flying the Portuguese flag. Although the attack involved over 70 tons of explosives, it missed most of the intended targets in Israel.

The attack was chaotic, indicating Iran’s isolation from the rest of the region. As a predominantly Shiite Muslim and ethnically Persian power in a predominantly Sunni Muslim and Arab environment, Iran’s relations with other Muslim nations are complicated.

Iran’s main allies are external to the region, including China, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, and, to a lesser extent, NATO member Turkey. Although Iran’s rulers hoped to gain support from their fellow Muslims in the region by attacking Israel, Muslim public opinion is divided on Iran.

Regional response to the Iranian attack

The Reasons Behind Iran's Attack on Israel

Several Muslim nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom, helped defend Israel during an attack. American and British naval units played a critical role in intercepting several Iranian drones, while missile defense systems in Saudi Arabia and Jordan successfully deflected most of the rockets aimed at Israel.

Despite Iran’s expectation that Israel’s response to Hamas following the October 7 terrorist attacks would isolate the Sunni Arab states, the opposite proved true.

Although publicly, these regimes distanced themselves from Israel, in part to appease their populations sympathetic to Palestinian Arabs, in private, they continued to support Israeli defense against Iranian threats actively.

Iran had overestimated the support it would receive from fellow followers of their religion. Although Israel did benefit from this, it’s not accurate to call it a clear “victory.” However, the 46th President of the United States tried to put a positive spin on the situation by telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Iranian attack failed to hit major Israeli population centers, which could be seen as a “victory.”

The failure of deterrence in the Middle East and the implications for regional security

The situation in the Middle East has become more aggressive and desperate as countries try to protect their national security and interests. This has led to a breakdown in the regional order that has been in place since 1945. Unfortunately, the United States is in decline. Recently, reports have revealed that the Biden administration stopped Israel from retaliating against Iran.

Since the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza began, the Biden Administration has held back Israel at crucial moments in their fight. This has led some in Washington to praise the administration for showing restraint.

However, by doing so, they are making Israel’s enemies more aggressive, giving them hope when they should have been defeated a long time ago. It also sends a message to the region that neither Israel nor the United States is willing to impose any cost on a revanchist Iran.

The region looks to the United States for leadership. Unfortunately, Washington is sending mixed signals, making the United States appear weaker. This could have dangerous consequences if the goal is to prevent a regional war that could quickly escalate into a global conflict.

There is a need for a definitive stance from Washington to restore deterrence.

Israel is planning to retaliate in the near future, which indicates a gradual escalation similar to the First World War’s initial stages. The situation in the region will continue to deteriorate until deterrence is restored. However, the current situation will not allow for deterrence to be restored if Washington continues to send mixed signals while restraining Israel.

Instead of this approach, Washington should clearly state that Israel has the right to defend itself as its leaders see fit. They should then focus on ensuring effective and lasting cooperation between Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel.

After successfully establishing these ties, the United States could consider withdrawing from the region, knowing that its partners have the ability and willpower to contain an irredentist Iran.