Friday, April 19, 2024

Israel's Retaliatory Strike Crossed an Iranian 'Red Line,' Will the Mullahs Take the Bait or Move on?

By streiff |

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File

Israel carried out a drone and missile strike inside Iran Thursday night in retaliation for the massive strike on Israel Sunday. Israel targeted facilities around Isfahan in central Iran, where Iranian nuclear facilities are located.

The primary target seems to have been air defense systems around the Khatami Air Base near Isfahan. This is one of the bases from which last weekend's attack on Israel was launched.

According to reports, the US was given notice of the attack at only the last minute.

Speaking at the end of a meeting of the Group of Seven nations in Capri, Italy, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said that the U.S. was informed by Israel “at the last minute of the attack” early Friday morning.

“There was no involvement on the part of the United States, it was only information that was provided,” he said.

 Concurrent with the attack in Iran, Israel hit air defense sites in Syria. There are no conclusive reports of damage caused by any of the strikes. The scope of the attack indicates that Iranian nuclear facilities were not the target.

Neither side is making a big deal of the attack.

Iranian and Israeli media are downplaying or ignoring the event.

Iranian state television repeatedly played down the episode in its broadcasts, saying three small flying objects had been downed by air-defense systems and suggesting they had been launched from within the country. Iran’s army chief, Abdolrahim Mousavi, told state-run media the explosions heard in Isfahan were a result of the downing of a suspicious object that caused no damage. 


In Israel, the military said late Thursday night that there were no changes to the home-front command instructions that tell the public when to seek shelter, indicating Israeli officials weren’t expecting a major Iranian retaliation.

Is this the end? Or is it the end of the beginning?

Israel has been under extreme pressure from the Biden White House to ignore the massive Iranian assault of Sunday. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned Israel that any attack on its territory would result in a "severe response." 

Iran now has the ball in its court. It can accept this strike and move on, or it can retaliate. Last night's attack sent a clear message to the Iranian leadership. Israel was able to hit a highly defended military target in a highly defended area of Iran with impunity. The strikes in Syria have opened up an aerial highway for Israeli strike fighters should Israel decide on a larger attack. On the other hand, Israel did strike Iranian territory in defiance of a threat by Mr. Raisi, so there is some egg on the face there.

The smart move by Iran would be to take the L and move on. But making smart moves is not something the terrorist government of Iran is noted for doing.