Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Biden’s Policy of Appeasement Leads to Iran Escalation



Iran’s massive missile attack launched on the night of April 13-14 marked the beginning of the next stage of the long shadow war of jihad against Israel waged by Iran’s radical Shiite rulers both directly and through its terrorist proxies.

Iran launched the unprecedented missile attack after Israel made it clear that, in our post-October 7 world, it would no longer play by the hypocritical rules of the regional power game that Iran had set. Those rules had enabled the rest of the world to pretend that Iran was not the puppet master behind the terrorist attacks of its proxies, and the main source of the mayhem that has been destabilizing the Middle East over the past two decades. Iran’s attack on Israel also forced the U.S. and its Western allies to finally confront the consequences of their policy of appeasement of Iran and join with the pro-Western Arab states in fighting back against that open act of aggression that also threatened their own security, the stability of the region and the peace of the world.

Iran’s missile attack on Israel, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, was another example of the failure of the U.S. to deter aggression and maintain world peace due to the perceived weakness of President Joe Biden. His inability to stand up to the ruthless despots who are America’s sworn enemies including the ayatollahs in Tehran, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Communist China’s President Xi, is the major threat to worldwide peace today.

Given Biden’s open criticism of the way that Israel’s prime minister was conducting its defensive war against Hamas in Gaza, Iran’s leaders ignored White House warnings not to retaliate against Israel’s bold move to kill the generals who were masterminding the proxy attacks on Israel. Given his growing restraint in support of Israel’s war in Gaza, Iran’s leaders had every reason to be confident that Biden, in the end, was more afraid of escalating the conflict than they were, and that he wouldn’t intervene militarily if they attacked Israel directly.


But even though Biden did, thankfully, respond by coordinating the multinational response which ultimately defeated the Iranian missile attack, he then set the stage for the next Middle East crisis by publicly warning Israeli Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu not to strike back against Iran, thereby leaving Iran’s military ability to threaten the region still intact.

“Take the win,” Biden reportedly told Netanyahu, which would enable Iran to directly attack Israel and then walk away with no further consequences, leaving Israel vulnerable to another attack, r”l.

This is, unfortunately, a pattern with Biden. His passive policy of conflict management doesn’t work against ruthless regimes because it encourages their rulers to test U.S. resolve to see how much more they can get away with.

As a Wall Street Journal editorial points out, “The attack on Israel also underscores the failure of Mr. Biden’s Iran policy. He tried to mollify the mullahs by easing sanctions, freeing tens of billions in frozen funds, and trying to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran spied weakness and has mobilized its proxy forces against Israel, U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq, and commercial ships in the Red Sea. The U.S. has responded with pinprick bombing raids, and now Iran is escalating again.”

Iran’s attack, the editorial continues, “should at least cause Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats to end their cold war with Israel over Gaza and recognize that this is really a war against Iran. The vocal Democratic threats against Israel likely gave Iran more confidence it could strike without consequences. Appeasing the left by threatening to cut off arms to Israel is a betrayal and will invite more Iranian escalation.”


According to the editorial, the difficulty the U.S. military has encountered since October 7 in bringing sufficient military power into the region to back up Israel’s defenses points out the need for “an urgent program of rearmament to restore deterrence [and without which Iran’s missile attack on Israel] won’t be the last against our allies or the U.S. homeland.”

But while the Wall Street Journal editorial page was primarily concerned with the implications of the Iranian attack on U.S. national security, the Jerusalem Post’s editorial page focused primarily on Israel’s next move to follow up on the “historic” success of its defense against the Iranian missile attack.

“There is no question that Israel must respond,” the editorial states, “but the question is when, how, where, and what kind of backing will Jerusalem garner when this happens. . .

“Iran’s missile barrage was unprecedented, both in its direct nature, in its quantity and in tonnage of TNT. It could have been cataclysmic.

“The very impressive [99%] intercept rate — along with the mind-boggling cooperation of anti-extremism states with Israel — deserves a moment of reflection and pride. . .

“We are proud and grateful to our allies for standing staunchly by us at this moment of great emergency.


“Of course, Israel could launch 300 missiles at Iran. But should it? That’s the question facing Netanyahu, as he weighs the cost and benefit of doing such a thing. Israel needs the Americans; that much is clear. . .

“Israel [also] needs a proper strategy. We have the time, and now is not a time to be rash; it is a time to be strategic and smart. Lest anyone forget, we are in the middle of a war in Gaza.”

The U.S.-led regional partnership “proved itself in real-time,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the chief Israeli military spokesman, told reporters the morning after the Iranian attack was repulsed. “It showed it can face Iran.”

Under the leadership of the United States, Hagari said, the Israeli military has ramped up collaboration with Britain and France since October 7, as well as other unnamed regional states that have quietly strengthened security ties with Israel, even as they try to contain mounting public fury against Israel in their countries over the war in Gaza.

Even Jordan, one of the fiercest public critics of Israel’s war in Gaza, closed its airspace to Iran and “helped in the process of the interceptions,” said Yoel Guzansky, a former official on Israel’s National Security Council and now a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies.


“Never in the history of warfare was such an operation conducted, with so much international coordination, all answering to [U.S. Central Command]. Missiles were coming from so many places at once, not just Iran,” but also including rockets fired by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and drones and cruise missiles fired from Yemen and Iraq, Guzansky said.

Noam Tibon, a retired Israeli general, called the defeat of the Iranian attack, “The first time in this war that Israel has had a clear victory [because] the West is helping, is standing beside us.” But he also warns that “if Israel is not careful, it will reverse all of that, just like it did in Gaza.”

While U.S. officials were eager to claim some of the credit for the successful defense against the Iranian missile onslaught, boasting that American forces downed 80 of the drones, they quickly distanced themselves from the April 1 Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, which provoked and embarrassed the Iranians, saying Israel had not given the United States any advance notice.

Privately, a frustrated Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin later complained to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant that the Damascus operation put American forces in the Middle East at risk and that U.S. officials should have been given a heads-up warning that it was coming.

Learning about the secret meeting between Zahedi and the other senior IRGC commanders at the Iranian consulate building in Damascus was a major Israeli intelligence coup. It made possible the April 1 operation, in which the Israeli Air Force killed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who played a central role in the planning and execution of Iran’s proxy Hamas’ October 7 attack, as well as another top IRGC general and five other IRGC commanders It was too great a major military accomplishment for Israel to risk compromising by revealing it to the U.S. in advance.

General Zahedi led the IRGC’s terrorist operations out of Syria, served as the main Iranian contact with Hezbollah, and trained it to become Iran’s most dangerous terrorist army. His death was the most serious blow to Iranian-backed international terrorism since President Trump approved the 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian terrorist mastermind who had waged war against the United States and Israel for decades.


Senior administration officials Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, and Brett McGurk, the Middle East policy czar, were first informed about the Israeli strike in Damascus which killed Zahedi shortly after it took place, by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog at a meeting in Washington that had been called to discuss U.S. objections to Israel’s plans to attack the last Hamas stronghold in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, the senior Biden administration official told reporters.

“We knew that [the attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus] would have repercussions,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters after the Iranian missile attack on Israel.

Four days after the Israeli strike on Damascus, when the Biden administration had received enough intelligence to confirm that Iran was planning a significant retaliatory attack, the president instructed his White House aides “to defend Israel to the maximum extent possible and defeat the attack,” the official said.

The U.S. then moved additional military assets into the eastern Mediterranean and began urging Britain, France, and other pro-Western states in the region to assist in the effort to neutralize the expected Iranian attack on Israel to prevent it from triggering a region-wide war.

On April 4, during a phone call between Biden and Netanyahu originally intended to discuss the mistaken Israeli air strike on a World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid convoy in Gaza, the first issue on the agenda was the expected Iranian attack.

“We’ve been mindful in the preparations that… if successful, this [Iranian] attack could have caused an uncontrollable escalation of broader regional conflict — something we have worked day and night to avoid since October 7,” the Biden administration official said.

In the following days, there were extensive conversations between top U.S. and Israeli security officials, and U.S. CENTCOM Commander General Michael Kurilla went to Tel Aviv to personally supervise the closely coordinated defensive preparations for the Iranian attack.

Biden was kept regularly updated, and on April 10, he approved the deployment of an additional U.S. Navy-guided missile destroyer to the region for Israel’s protection.

Upon receiving additional intelligence that the Iranian attack was just hours away, Biden cut short his regular weekend stay at his home in Delaware and returned to the White House to monitor the unfolding events from the Situation Room.

The large size of the Iranian missile attack, including 185 Shahed 238 drones, 36 cruise missiles, and 110 ballistic missiles, whose warheads carried a total of 60 tons of high explosives, made the successful U.S.-coordinated defensive effort even more impressive. Boruch Hashem, not a single one of the 185 drones and 36 cruise missiles reached Israeli airspace.


The attack was the largest ever in the Middle East mixing drones and missiles, according to Bernard Hudson, a veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency and the agency’s former counterterrorism chief. The response by Israel and its Western allies was also unprecedented, said Hudson. “No one has seen such a defense display in the Middle East,” he said.

Israeli, American, British, and French jet fighters all participated in shooting down Iranian drones detected by early warning radar systems located near Iran’s borders, including in Saudi Arabia, and the combined air-defense systems of Israel and the U.S. The countries had all spent days in preparations for repelling such an attack, despite their disagreements with Israel over its conduct of the war in Gaza.

President Biden had also ordered additional U.S. aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region, which enabled the multinational forces to bring down nearly everything thrown at Israel by Iran, including more than 100 ballistic missiles. “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our service members, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles,” Biden said after the Iranian attack was repulsed.


“Our regional partners stepped up despite six months of very significant tension between them and Israel, and between them and the United States as they begged the United States to do something to restrain the Israelis,” said Steven Cook, a Middle East analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations. Apparently, Cook noted, no matter how much countries in the region may dislike Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, they dislike Iran’s government even more.

The pattern of Iran’s missile strike replicated the larger Russian missile attacks on targets in Ukraine. It started with a large swarm of slow-moving drones intended to overwhelm the Israeli air defenses and to reveal the locations of Israel’s anti-aircraft missile batteries. It was followed by the cruise missiles which fly below most radars and then a final volley of ballistic missiles which fly much faster and higher, making them harder to shoot down. However, the Russian combination of drone and ballistic missile attacks on Ukraine typically use fewer than 200 missiles, compared to the total of 331 that Iran used in its attack on Israel.

The Nevatim Airbase in the Negev, which is the home base for Israel’s most advanced F-35 stealth warplanes, was the main target of Iran’s ballistic missile barrage. According to Israeli media reports, many of the 110 rockets fired at Israel malfunctioned in flight. Most of the rest were shot down by Israel’s Arrow long-range anti-ballistic missile system before they reached their target. As a result, according to IDF spokesman Hagari, the airbase suffered only “slight damage” to its infrastructure from a small number of ballistic missile hits, and remained fully operational during and after the Iranian missile attack, as he demonstrated to reporters by showing them live video footage of its runway engaged in flight operations.

“Iran thought it would be able to paralyze the base and thus damage our air capabilities, but it failed,” Hagari said.

“Air Force planes continue to take off and land from the base, and depart for offense and defense missions, including the Adir (F-35) planes that are now returning to the base from a defense mission and soon you will see them landing,” he added.

The only Israeli casualty was a young Bedouin girl in southern Israel who was wounded by shrapnel that fell to the ground after the interception of an Iranian ballistic missile over the area.


Iran’s missile attack on Israel had some similarities to the much smaller Iranian assault on the American soldiers at the Ain Al Asad air base in Iraq in January 2020, in retaliation for the U.S. air strike outside the Baghdad airport that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was directing Iran’s international terrorist activities, including attacks on U.S. troops in the region. That Iranian attack consisted of a salvo of 16 ballistic missiles, 10 of which hit the base, which inflicted traumatic brain injuries on 110 American troops, but no fatal injuries.

When Iran then sent a private message saying that its attack was done, then-President Donald Trump decided to end the military exchange, by publicly declaring that “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”

Retired U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie writing in the Wall Street Journal, also noted the similarities to the drone attack of September 14, 2019, which was launched from bases in western Iran that significantly damaged oil refineries operated by Aramco at Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia. But the Iranians shifted the flight path of the drones, enabling them to deny their culpability and get away with that attack unscathed.


“Why,” McKenzie asks, “has Iran now undertaken what can only be characterized as a desperate attack — one that exposed the weaknesses of its much-touted missiles and drones? The reason is clear. For the past several months, Israel and Iran have engaged in a low-level ‘dialogue of targets.’ Israeli strikes have taken out [important] Iranian targets in Syria, Lebanon, and occasionally Iran itself. Iran’s response has been ham-fisted. In the shadow war, Israel has outfought Iran.

“The April 1 Israeli strike against Iranian planners in Damascus was the culmination of Tehran’s embarrassment. Taking a page from Russian strategic doctrine, the Iranians tried to [take] a very aggressive action to raise the stakes dramatically. The intention is to cow the opponent into changing its behavior by convincing it that it is at heightened risk. The key to this kind of tactic is. . . a genuine capability that puts the opponent at grave risk.

“That hasn’t happened,” McKenzie explains, “because it’s apparent that the Iranians are playing a weak hand. For years the ballistic missile, drone, and cruise missile force has been at the heart of Iran’s strategic deterrence — more important in practical terms than its nuclear program. The [Iranian missile] attack. . . was poorly executed and a strategic miscalculation. The vulnerability of Iran’s force has been exposed, and the regime is gravely weakened as a result. Israel has been strengthened by a stunning display of military competence, a striking contrast with that seen on October 7. . .

“For the U.S.,” McKenzie adds, “the successful defense of Israel validates years of work to create an integrated air and missile defense, an effort that brought together many nations that all recognize the threat of Iran.”


“What’s next?” McKenzie asks. “The initiative has shifted to the Israelis. The gap between Israeli competence and Iranian aspirations is clear, even to the Iranians. . . Israel’s neighbors will certainly see the effectiveness of its defense. Israel could unleash a violent and decisive counterstrike against Iran.

“Some are calling for Israel to destroy the Iranian nuclear enterprise. Now isn’t the time for that. What’s needed is a carefully calibrated response on a scale that reinforces Israeli technical mastery. That would reset [Israel’s] deterrence. . . The hard part, as always, is translating battlefield success into lasting policy advantage and an opportunity for peace. That’s the task for Israel,” the former Marine general concludes.

Michael Horowitz, head of intelligence at the risk consultancy group Le Beck International, said that by staving off Iran’s latest assault, Israel managed to restore some of its lost international legitimacy while avoiding any serious damage on the ground.

“The result matters … but so does the intent, and the [Iranian] intent was very clear: not a symbolic attack designed to fail, but a sustained assault designed to actually hit its targets inside Israel,” Horowitz said.

Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said Iran’s failure to inflict serious pain on Israel as a result of superior Israeli air defenses “exposed how weak they are when it comes to the conventional military threat — which is nothing new, and is the reason why Iran has invested so much in terror groups and different groups that have essentially weakened the state system in the Middle East.”


The Iranian attack showcased the impressive capabilities of Israel’s state-of-the-art Arrow 3 long-range anti-ballistic missile system developed jointly by the United States and Israel, and which first became operational last year. The earlier Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile systems finally realized the promise that Ronald Reagan made when he announced his “Star Wars” initiative forty years ago to counter the threat to the U.S. from the Soviet Union’s nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles. With David’s Sling, a medium- to long-range air defense system that Israel deployed in 2017 to ward off cruise missiles and shorter-range ballistic missiles, Israel became the first country in the world with a comprehensive layered missile defense system in place, supplementing the now famous Iron Dome system which is effective against the short-range missiles typically fired by terrorists from Gaza.

According to Jonathan Conricus, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former IDF spokesman, their success in protecting Israel from Iran’s missile attack has given the Israeli government time to formulate a “smart and long-term strategy” to deal with the threat from Iran rather than being forced to react quickly under “anger and duress.”


The success in warding off the attack from Iran has also helped to restore Israel’s formidable military reputation and deterrence which were badly damaged when the IDF was caught by surprise by the Hamas attack on October 7. It has also relieved, to some extent, the intense international pressure on Israel to alleviate the suffering of displaced Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and provides Israel a possible justification for launching a campaign against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon with whom Israel has traded near-daily fire since the day after October 7, forcing more than 80,000 Israelis who had been living in the north to flee from their homes.

In the immediate wake of the failed Iranian attack, Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, put the current situation into a longer-term perspective when he reminded us all that “Iran is [still] a global problem, a regional challenge, and a danger to Israel, and yesterday, the world took a clear stance with Israel against this danger. The result is Israel, and the world, against Iran. This is the strategic victory that we must leverage to build up Israel’s security.”


“But the fight isn’t over,” Gantz emphasized. “This is precisely the time to strengthen the strategic alliances that we have and the regional cooperation that we’ve built and they should stand the test of time.

“Israel proved yesterday that it is an anchor of military and technological prowess, of security in the Middle East — all thanks to the IDF. We will build a regional coalition against Iran and exact punishment from it, in the place and at the time that is correct for us.

“And most importantly, in the face of the desire of our enemies to harm us, we will unite and become stronger,” Gantz stated.

“We must remember that we have not yet completed our tasks — primarily the return of the hostages and the removal of the threat against the residents of the north and south,” he said. “We will continue the campaign, with determination and responsibility. And together — we will win.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who also sits on the war cabinet with Gantz and Netanyahu, stressed the importance of strengthening the anti-Iranian alliance in the wake of the failed Iranian attack. He stated that “we have an opportunity here to establish a strategic alliance against this serious threat from Iran to put nuclear weapons in the warheads of these missiles. . . The U.S., Israel, and its allies must stand shoulder to shoulder to defend against this threat,” Gallant said.

“The campaign is not over yet — we must remain alert and attentive to the instructions published by the IDF and Homefront Command,” Gallant reminded the Israeli people. “We must be prepared for every scenario. Having said this, we have thwarted the most significant wave [of the attack] and we did so successfully.”

However, several other Israeli government ministers are calling for an immediate and precipitous Israeli military reaction against Iran.


Controversial far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir rejected Gantz’s statement as nothing more than “hollow Western slogans by someone who remains deep in the confusion,” and suggested in a tweet on X that “in order to create deterrence in the Middle East, the boss [Israel] must go nuts [in response to Iran’s attack].”

In an earlier video statement, Ben-Gvir said that “Israel’s response must not be in the style of the [ineffective sand] dune bombings we saw in previous years in Gaza. Israel’s must not give a fumbling response,” and added that “policies of containment and proportionality were made obsolete on October 7.”

Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also declared that now is the time for Israel to “restore [its] deterrence. The eyes of the entire Middle East and the entire world are now on Israel. If our response resonates throughout the Middle East for generations to come — we will win.

“If we hesitate, we will put ourselves and our children in immediate existential danger,” he warned, after calling on Israel to immediately invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah to “restore full Israeli control” over the entire Gaza Strip.

Likud Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar criticized what he called a “weak response” to Iranian aggression, calling it “the continuation of the outdated concept of reasonable logic in the face of brutal terrorists.

“It failed against Hamas and we got the 7th of October; it failed against Hezbollah, which attacks us continuously and led to the evacuation of the residents of the north, and it will fail against Iran, which did not hesitate to attack Israel directly.”

Zohar claimed that Israel has “broad international legitimacy… to strike Iran with unprecedented force. . . against the head of the snake that is working to destroy Israel.”


Members of the Knesset opposition have advocated an approach more similar to that of Gantz than that of Zohar. Retiring Labor Party chair Merav Michaeli asserted that the role of Israel’s allies in thwarting Iran’s attack “proved once again how critical the strategic alliance with the U.S. and the countries of the region is to the security of Israel.

“Now the same [right-wing] people who incited against the U.S., against regional agreements, and against the security establishment are trying to tell them that it is time for a ‘decisive attack,’ without realizing that there is no such thing as Israel [surviving] alone in the face of these threats,” she stated.

“Don’t let them hide behind belligerent words and lead us into a terrible and never-ending regional war. Such a war is meant to serve Netanyahu, not the State of Israel. Now is the time to take advantage of the momentum for a regional agreement that will stop the war and bring our hostages home,” Michaeli warned.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz recalled that previously “we said that if Iran attacks Israel, we will respond in Iran. This is still valid.”

Transportation Minister Miri Regev tweeted that Israel was “prepared to defend and attack against Iran. Those who hurt us will pay a heavy price,” she emphasized.

Likud’s Education Minister Yoav Kisch declared that “calmly and judiciously, it’s time to go on the attack,” while New Hope MK and former cabinet minister Gideon Sa’ar insisted that Iran’s attack “gave Israel room to maneuver and strategic flexibility” to ramp up the war in Gaza.

“You need to know how to adopt strategic patience as well. Israel does not have to rush its response and disrupt the order of priorities it has set for itself,” Sa’ar tweeted, calling on Israel to focus on “the defeat of Hamas and the release of the hostages. This is the right and smart thing to do. Iran’s time will come,” he stated.

MK Danny Danon said that he believes that he is speaking for many of his fellow Likud members when he says it is necessary to retaliate against Iran as soon as possible, but that it is not helpful to analyze Israel’s potential response “according to political pressure.”


Another senior Likud member told the Times of Israel, “The only three people who will make a decision are Gallant, Gantz, and Netanyahu,” referring to reports that the security cabinet had authorized the three-member war cabinet to make quick decisions regarding Israel’s response to the Iran attack without the need to seek any further approval.

Ynet commentator Attila Somfalvi notes that the failed Iranian missile attack has already significantly improved the world’s opinion of Israel on several key points:

  1. Iran is the aggressor — [and] the whole world is [now] against it.
  2. The world stopped (for a moment) focusing on Gaza, [giving Israel] an opportunity for some diplomatic improvements.
  3. The world understands what Israel has been claiming for years — Iran is a terror state. Everyone is talking about the failed Iranian missiles and drones and about Israel’s amazing air defense systems.
  4. Key Western countries, led by the U.S., the real backbone of Israel — along with moderate countries in the Middle East — acted together to prevent an Iranian attack on Israel. This is unprecedented, and [a major] achievement.
  5. Israel is a technological superpower that regained its top spot in everything related to air defense overnight and dramatically improved its image in the field of precise intelligence. After October 7, this is a very important boost to [Israel’s] morale.
  6. Israel has an extraordinary opportunity to change the narrative and . . . to frame Iran very negatively. . . There is huge potential here to turn all the spotlights toward Tehran, the global capital of terror.
  7. The whole world saw [the myth of] “Iran’s might”. . . Israel’s defense systems schooled the Iranian aggressor, a terror state whose essence is fear and intimidation. From the moment it used its capabilities — they were exhausted. In the battle of perception — Israel is strong, Iran is weak. Iran is the aggressor; small Israel is successfully defending itself.

Somfalvi says, “There is one clear conclusion: Israel must not react as Iran did. Israel must not fight Iran on the same battlefield. . . The whole world is talking about Israeli might and the regional alliance against Iran. And the Iranian nuclear plan, which is exactly what Israel needs and wants. Not another unwinnable [military] front.”


He believes that Israel’s central task now is to win “the battle of perception. . . [which is essential] to building Israel’s strength in the region and the world.”

However, Nadav Pollak, a former Israeli government analyst teaching at Reichman University, warns that “Iran has [now] started a new phase. It has stopped hiding behind proxies and has now become exposed to a direct attack from Israel. Going forward,” she noted, “Israel is not going to be able to sit [back] quietly and intercept everything [that Iran fires at it]. Interceptors, particularly the Arrow and Patriot systems used against ballistic missiles, are extremely expensive and are limited in quantity.”

Jonathan Schanzer, a researcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, also notes that by attacking Israel, “Iran was testing the missile-defense system, the resolve of the regional countries, and the resolve of the United States. Out of all of this comes a great risk. When two powerful parties engage in direct hostility, no one knows where this thing goes.”

In addition, Iran and its proxies are still terrorizing commercial shipping traveling near the Straits of Hormuz and through the Red Sea on the way to the Suez Canal. The day before its missile attack, Iran’s navy boarded by helicopter and seized a containership, the MSC Aries, and its 25 crew members while sailing in international waters under a Portuguese flag. The ship is owned by a London-based company controlled by an Israeli family.


As it considers its response to the Iranian attack, Israel must also consider the interests of its Arab partners, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, who helped Israel fight off Iranian missiles and drones and reduce casualties to a minimum by preventing them from penetrating Israeli air space.

Israel’s most immediate concern is managing its strained relationship with President Biden, whose re-election considerations and Middle East policy priorities are fundamentally incompatible with Israel’s best interests.

In their conversation the night of the Iranian attack, Biden said he told Netanyahu “that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks — sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel.”

However, Axios reported immediately after that phone call that Biden had said he would oppose any counterattack on Iran by Israel and that the prime minister should “take the win.” Biden contends that because Israel was successful in taking out those senior Iranian officers in Damascus two weeks earlier, without having to pay a significant price, another round of military action against Iran is unnecessary.

The White House also said that in his conversation with Netanyahu, Biden reaffirmed “America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel.”


However, Washington Post columnist Walter Russell Mead notes that Biden’s advice to Netanyahu to have Israel stand down militarily in response to the attack from Iran is primarily driven by his concerns about the political impact of an Israeli retaliation on Biden’s prospects for winning November’s presidential election. On the other hand, following Biden’s advice, which means allowing Iran to escape the consequences of its attack on Israel “would be political suicide for Mr. Netanyahu. . . and it would be national suicide for any [other] Israeli prime minister to do so.”

Mead contends that “Mr. Biden is a lot smarter about the Middle East today than he was in January 2021, when he was still spouting inanities about isolating Saudi Arabia and pursuing the will o’ the wisp of détente with Iran.” But other Middle East observers are not so sure.

Mead claims that “today the president understands that he can’t simply shake hands with Iran and walk away from the Middle East. If the U.S. hopes to step back from a front-line role in the region, it must foster an alliance that can check Iran’s unrelenting and fanatical drive for hegemony. That is why Team Biden dramatically reversed its early policy. . . [and has borrowed] some of the core concepts of Donald Trump’s Abraham Accords, [making] the promotion of an Israel-Saudi alliance a cornerstone of its regional strategy.

“This was an intelligent move, as far as it went,” Mead says. But “what the president appears not yet to understand is that Iran has become so powerful, and America’s reputation as a source of sound policy and reliable support so weak, that only resolute American backing of our allies can turn the tide. . .

“Mr. Biden’s [newfound] support for Israel is appreciated in Arab capitals as well as in Jerusalem, but his vacillations with Iran have further strengthened the ayatollahs and undercut America’s much-diminished prestige. . .”


“From an Arab point of view,” Mead writes, “there are two things that make Israel valuable at a time of diminished confidence in the U.S. First, Israel sees the common fight against Iran as part of its own fight for survival. It will be a reliable ally because it has no choice. Second, Israel offers the mix of strength and relentlessness without which Iran cannot be stopped.”

That is why, according to Mead, “Mr. Netanyahu will have to steer a course between the disastrous alternatives of alienating Mr. Biden by ignoring his urging to [‘take the win’ and forego any retaliation against Iran] or endangering Israel by taking his advice.”

To put Biden’s recommendation to Netanyahu in its proper perspective, Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, suggests, “Can you imagine 100 ballistic missiles being fired on the United States and your closest ally calling to say, no need to retaliate, you should feel really secure right now? Now imagine our country was the size of New Jersey, and we were fighting a multi-front war of survival.”

A report by the New York Times said that several members of Israel’s security cabinet had been in favor of launching an immediate retaliatory response, but the lack of serious damage to Israel caused by the Iranian attack, in addition to Biden’s warning that the U.S. would not join Israel in such a strike, had put that proposal on hold.


As a result, a senior Biden administration official was able to tell White House reporters that, “Israel has made clear to us that they’re not looking for a significant escalation with Iran. [Instead,] they’re looking to protect themselves and defend themselves.”

How Israel responds to the Iranian strike is “a calculation the Israelis have to make. This was an unprecedented attack from Iran against Israel. At the same time, we think in the overall exchange here, the Israelis came out very much on top,” the official said and added that Biden called Israel’s response to the Iranian attack a success.

In a briefing with reporters the day after the Iranian attack, a senior administration official said, “Israel really came out far ahead in this exchange. It took out the IRGC leadership in the Levant, Iran tried to respond, and Israel clearly demonstrated its military superiority, defeating this attack, particularly in coordination with its partners.”

Therefore, the official said Biden told Netanyahu that Israel must “think carefully and strategically about the risk of escalation,” as it weighs how to respond to Iran’s drone and missile attack.

“We are committed to defending Israel, [but] we would not be a part of any response,” the official clarified. He also said that Hamas had hoped Iran’s attack would advance the goal the terror group has had since its October 7 onslaught of igniting a regional war, but “we’re going to ensure that they do not succeed.”

“We have disagreements with Israel on a number of things, including in particular on Gaza. Those are things we’re continuing to work through, but when it comes to the defense of Israel against Iran the commitment truly is ironclad,” the official added.


The official also said that Iran had sent a message to the U.S. via Switzerland informing Washington that its attack on Israel had ended while denying reports that Iran had given the White House a 72-hour heads-up before the attack.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations also issued a statement announcing the end of the attack, but which warned that “should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the U.S. MUST STAY AWAY!”

Meanwhile, General Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, said that by killing the IRGC commanding general in the Iranian consulate building in Damascus on April 1, Israel had “crossed a red line” that precipitated the Iranian missile attack.

“The mission is accomplished and the operation is over and we have no intentions of going further,” Bagheri added, but also warned that if Israel opted to “commit any act against us, be it on our territory or our compounds in Syria and elsewhere, the next operation will be larger.”

A White House official also speculated that “they [Iran] might want to now say that we didn’t mean to [cause casualties], but if you launch 100 ballistic missiles targeting certain locations — that was clearly their intent, they just didn’t succeed. If successful, this attack could have caused an uncontrollable escalation of broader regional conflict — something we have worked day and night to avoid since October 7.”

“Our goal remains to de-escalate immediately and halt any further attack… [But] if Iran takes action against us, we’re fully prepared to defend our people, our interests and to hold Iran accountable,” the Biden official declared.

In a televised Sunday ABC News interview, John Kirby, the White House’s top national security spokesman person, said that the United States will continue to help Israel defend itself, but does not want war with Iran.

Asked if the United States would support retaliation from Israel in Iran, Kirby said that “our commitment is ironclad” to defending Israel and to “helping Israel defend itself,” repeating the same phrases used by other White House officials to describe the U.S. position with regard to Israel and Iran.

“And as the president has said many times, we don’t seek a wider war in the region. We don’t seek a war with Iran. And I think I will leave it at that,” Kirby added.

“We don’t seek escalated tensions in the region. We don’t seek a wider conflict,” Kirby said.


There was also a sharply pro-Israel change in the tone of mainstream media news coverage which had been concentrating almost entirely on the alleged humanitarian crisis threatening the civilian population in Gaza with mass starvation.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, criticized the White House for “leaking it to the press” that Biden told Netanyahu to take the win and not retaliate militarily against Iran.

Rubio told CNN that it was “part of the White House’s efforts to appease” people calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was one of several conservatives who quickly went public urging a powerful military reprisal against Iran both by Israel and the United States, as well. “We must move quickly and launch aggressive retaliatory strikes on Iran,” she said in a statement.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson blamed the Iran strike partly on the White House. “The Biden Administration’s undermining of Israel and appeasement of Iran have contributed to these terrible developments,” he said, called the missile attack by Iran “vicious,” and demanded that the United States show “full resolve” as it stands with Israel.

Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Republican leader, said that “in light of Iran’s unjustified attack on Israel,” the House this week would consider aid to Israel, but he gave no details.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell implored President Biden to “lead an international effort to impose sufficient costs on Tehran” and urged the House to pass the $95 billion national security supplemental funding, including $14 billion for Israel, which he noted “has waited months for action,” after having been approved by the Senate.

On the Democrat side, Pennsylvania’s Senator John Fetterman who has been one of Israel’s most vocal Democratic defenders throughout the fighting in Gaza, criticized the Biden administration’s reluctance to back an Israeli military response to Iran.

“It’s astonishing that we are not standing firmly with Israel and there should never be any kind of conditions [on military aid],” he said in an appearance on CNN the day after the Iranian attack.

“We should follow and have Israel’s back in this situation,” Fetterman added.

Rhode Island Democrat Senator Jack Reed, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praised Israel, America, and their regional partners “who worked together to shoot down hundreds of Iranian drones and missiles through the night.” He declared that the United States would stand alongside Israel while urging Iran to cease the attack and Israel to “act with prudence and wisdom.”


Meanwhile, after the attack by Iran, Israel received an unusual level of support from the diplomatic community which had been harshly critical of its handling of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Leaders of the Group of Seven countries, made up of the U.S., Italy, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, and Canada put out a statement after an emergency video meeting convened by President Biden. It “unequivocally condemn[ed] in the strongest terms [Iran’s] direct and unprecedented attack against Israel. . .

“We express our full solidarity and support to Israel and its people and reaffirm our commitment towards its security,” they said. “With its actions, Iran has further stepped toward the destabilization of the region and risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation. This must be avoided.”

According to a senior Biden administration official, there was discussion during the call among some G7 leaders on designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) as a terror group as well as a new coordinated batch of sanctions against Iran, but no final decisions were made.

European Council President Charles Michel tweeted on X, “We unanimously condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack against Israel. We will continue all our efforts to work toward de-escalation.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a statement condemned the “reckless” strikes by Iran, which he said “risk inflaming tensions and destabilizing the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.”

Britain had deployed some of its RAF fighters based in Cyprus and mid-air refueling tankers to help intercept the Iranian drones on their way to attack Israel.

According to the IDF spokesman, French military planes also contributed “in patrolling airspace” for Israel during the Iranian assault.

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, condemned the strikes as “an unprecedented escalation and a grave threat to regional security” in a message on X.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned “the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation,” the top U.N. official added, calling on parties to “avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.”


Following the Iranian attack, the Israeli Foreign Ministry received urgent requests from British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné who wanted to speak with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

French Foreign Minister Séjourné expressed his support for Israel and condemned the Iranian aggression but voiced sincere concern about escalation. “What are your plans now? We are very concerned about a regional escalation that will affect the entire region,” the French minister told Katz.

British Secretary Cameron told Katz, “Iran says that if you respond, their response will be greater. I think the smart thing would be not to react and prevent escalation. You have shown very clearly that Iran is the aggressor — as your friend, I ask that you not respond.”

Katz thanked both diplomats for their country’s support of Israel and their active assistance in defeating the Iranian attack. But he also made it clear that “Israel, like any country, has the right and obligation to defend its citizens. We live in a tough neighborhood, and in this neighborhood, it’s not enough to be strong — everyone needs to know that you are strong.”

He then asked the British and French diplomats to, “Help us make the situation easier. It’s your time to weaken Iran. Israel expects its friends to block Iran’s aggression, also by declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, imposing severe sanctions on Iran’s missile project, and applying economic pressures that will curb Iran’s proxies operating in the entire region.”


In determining the appropriate response to Iran’s missile attack, Israeli leaders are well aware that Iran’s radical Shiite Islamic regime has been at war with Israel, the United States, and the West since the 1979 overthrow of the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran by the supporters of the ayatollahs.

Iran was behind the October 23, 1983, suicide bombing by Hezbollah of the Beirut barracks of an international peacekeeping force killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 French paratroopers.

In addition, a Court of Cassation in Buenos Aires recently issued a ruling blaming Iran for using Hezbollah to bomb a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, which left 85 dead and more than 300 wounded.

The Iranian regime also has no respect for the Biden administration and feels free to attack American armed forces and American interests around the world without fear of the consequences.


Meanwhile, the Biden administration has forfeited every element of deterrence it had inherited from President Trump to force Iran to behave like a civilized nation. Instead, Biden has followed a policy of appeasement against Iran, first invented by his Democrat predecessor, Barack Obama, and which resulted in the fatally flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal which legitimized Iran’s push to acquire nuclear weapons. Biden has also done away with the enforcement of the existing sanctions on Iranian oil exports to China and other Asian nations, and rewarded the Tehran regime with billions of dollars with which it has subsidized international terrorism and its remorseless attacks on Israel and Jews around the world.

In March, the Biden White House unlocked another $10 billion in frozen Iranian funds by enabling Iraq to pay the Iranian government directly for electricity services, just six weeks after three U.S. service members were killed and dozens more injured in a drone attack by Iran-backed terrorists on a U.S. support base in Jordan in late January.

The Biden White House insists that the funds released to Iran by the sanctions waiver program, “which allows for Iraq to import Iranian energy as it works to become energy independent. . . are held abroad in third countries, [and] can only be used for transactions for the purchase of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, and other non-sanctionable transactions.”

But some Republican lawmakers say that as a result of a lack of transparency and accountability, the funds are actually being used by Iran to pay for its state-sanctioned terrorist operations around the world.

Earlier this month, a group of 13 Republican U.S. senators led by Tim Scott of South Carolina called for an end to such sanction waivers in a pointed letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The senators called it “unfathomable” that the Biden administration believes that making the funds available to Iran serves U.S. national security interests. “If we want to restore deterrence in the region, those funds should be placed further out of Iran’s reach, not closer,” the letter said.

Furthermore, in testimony on April 9 by Deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo about the “fungible nature” of the waiver funds before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, she admitted that it is likely that the waiver funds have been used by Iran to finance “violent activity” before a cent of the funds designated for humanitarian needs reaches Iranians in need, “because they don’t care about getting drugs and food for their people.”

Biden was so desperate to get Iran to agree to renew its compliance with the wholly inadequate safeguards of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that it permitted the U.N.’s missile embargo on Iran to expire just days after Hamas launched thousands of such missiles at Israel as part of its October 7 attack. Biden has also refused to put the Iranian-backed Houthis of Yemen on the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations, even as it continues to launch missile attacks against international shipping headed towards the Suez Canal, U.S. Navy ships, and targets in southern Israel.


But while Biden makes no real effort to restrain Iran’s bad behavior and that of its terrorist proxies, he can and does deter Israel, preventing it from defeating Hamas in Gaza, blocking it from escalating its retaliatory attacks in response to daily Hezbollah from south Lebanon, and is now trying to do the same to protect Iran from the consequences of its latest and most direct attack yet on Israel itself.

Biden has never understood that his weakness only further emboldens Iran and invites more of its aggression.

According to retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor “In the history of U.S. foreign and defense strategy, no presidential administration ever cultivated the rise of new, powerful groupings of nation-states that oppose the United States as the Biden administration has.”


Meanwhile, as the consequences of the failed Iranian missile attack on Israel dominated the headlines, there was an ominous turn in the sporadic negotiations with Hamas on the negotiations for a combination cease-fire and hostage release. After rejecting yet another set of U.S.-suggested Israeli concessions, Hamas implied that it does not have 40 live to trade for hundreds of dangerous Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, but still insists that Israel free the same number of terrorists in exchange for only 20 surviving civilian hostages.

It is also important to note that after more than half a year in Hamas’ hands, they have still refused to provide any proof of life, further increasing the fears that the hostages will never be returned alive.

Those fears are based upon a recent statement by Basem Naim, a member of the Hamas political bureau, who said. “Part of the negotiations is to have enough time and safety to collect … more precise data about the captured Israelis” being held “in different places by different groups.” Some, he said, may be “under the rubble” caused by Israeli bombing.

Ever since the negotiations broke down over the original week-long cease-fire and the release of more than 100 hostages in November, Hamas has refused to comply with Israeli demands to list the names, birth dates, and nationalities of the remaining captives, because it doesn’t know where all of them are and can’t locate them while Israel attacks on Hamas in Gaza continue.

Nevertheless, U.S. and Israeli negotiators continue to operate on the increasingly unlikely assumption that the initial 40 Israeli hostages are still alive and that their exchange by Hamas is still a possibility.

“We’re not in a position to verify [Naim’s] comment,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “We don’t have enough granularity on where the hostages are and in what condition they are to verify that claim. … We need to get those hostages out.”

But as Delaware Democrat Senator Chris Coons noted after meeting with the families of five U.S. hostages who are among the 95 who may yet be alive, “Hamas has engaged in the very worst sort of terrorism, which is to not just torture those who have been captured and held hostages, but to torture their loved ones with the uncertainty.”

That is yet another reason why Hamas and their defeated Iranian sponsors do not deserve President Biden’s latest call for Israel to hold back yet again in making its victory over Iran and all of its terrorist allies complete and final.




Expert Opinions on Israel’s Next Move Against Iran


Haaretz veteran military correspondent Amos Harel wrote:

We are talking about “an unprecedented achievement in the history of Israel’s wars — albeit with some help from friends — that largely takes away the main card held by Iran and the axis: drones and missiles. The impressive Arrow system interceptions have garnered most of the attention, but Israeli and American pilots downed hundreds of cruise missiles and drones.”

Harel also assumes that Iran and its proxies have to be both disappointed and unnerved by the failure of its attack. As Harel added: “The Iranian intention, as evaluated ahead of the attack, was to put on a display of its capabilities with an attack on military targets. An analysis of the areas in which warnings were sounded suggests the target could have been the Nevatim air base in southern Israel. It appears that the Iranians planned to destroy the base and the advanced F-35 fighter jets stationed there, which are the crown jewel of American aid to Israel. Iran failed completely.”

Former Israeli General and National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror wrote:

“We need to respond — and there are two good options: Either, we take advantage of the attack yesterday to attack Iran, or to come to an agreement with the United States to enter Rafah, and eliminate Hamas there and in the central camps such as Deir al-Balah. Now is the time to use our international credit.

“There’s no priority between [the two objectives]. In theory, they could happen at the same time. In practice, Israel is a small country and would have a hard time managing it. We also can’t forget that we don’t want to go to war with Lebanon. If we don’t go to Iran, it may be possible to work together with the Americans on the Lebanese front. Each of these options could be good.”

In an interview, Amidor said, “There is no question this [Iranian attack] is an escalation. There is no question that the Iranians have now given Israel the legitimacy to attack on Iranian soil.”

“With a combination of drones, cruise missiles, and likely ballistic missiles to come, what they [Iran] are trying to do is to overwhelm the system. Each is problematic by itself, but together they are more challenging. This is unprecedented. It means Iran opened a new chapter in the war.”

Former Israeli General Jacob Nagel said:

The [Israeli] defense systems have intercepted more than 90% of the threats, but this fact should not reduce the price to be paid in the slightest. We need a significant response against Iran on Iranian soil, in at least three different ways:

“We need to attack the infrastructures that attacked us — the industries that built the drones and the warehouses. We also need to use this one-time opportunity to attack Iranian infrastructure — not to affect the price of oil, but to show that we can also attack gas, oil, and in addition, attack nuclear facilities and government institutions.

“The mistake we are making is drawing an equivalence between the attack and the damage,” Nagel noted.

Former Israeli General Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of Israeli military intelligence said:

“Israel needs to respond. The Iranians say they are changing the rules of the game; [but] even according to these new rules, we need to be the dominant factor, to show them that there is a price to be paid. On the other hand, we need to remember that we want to focus on completing the mission in Gaza and maintaining good relations with the American administration. We must not be complacent — but we need to find the appropriate response.

“The decision of how to respond will have to be made from a strategic point of view vis-à-vis the Iranian axis and the nuclear program. Iran is trying to attack us with hundreds of weapons overnight, the last thing we need is for a country like that to have nuclear weapons.

“The whole world must mobilize for decisive action to thwart the Iranian nuclear program, to dismantle the axis it has built, and to replace the [Iranian] regime. This is not only an opportunity, it is our duty.”

“There has to be a price for what the Iranians did. Timing is of the essence here.”

But General Kuperwasser added: “It’s very important that we coordinate with the Americans and retaliation is approved and supported by the United States.”

Former Shin Bet chief Yaakov Peri said:

“I think Israel has no choice but to respond. It must respond, to maintain its position as perhaps the most serious power in the Middle East and before Iran. As for how and when — according to Israel’s convenience. I don’t want to go into the nature of the response, but I don’t think it’s worth putting Israeli personnel at risk. We need to attack using technological and other means, and Israel has the capabilities to do that.”

Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence and an air force fighter pilot said:

“Israel has competing priorities with its ally in Washington. The idea of trying to de-escalate the war in the Middle East is no doubt in the U.S. interest, and no doubt also in Israel’s [also]. However, the deterrence of Iran and the punishment of Iran for Israel is more important.”





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