Awkward and Underwhelming

Sunday’s reprisal drone and rocket attacks from the Islamic Republic of Iran into Israel was as awkward as it was underwhelming. It was awkward, considering how a fully mobilized and capable Israeli Defense Force (IDF) demonstrated such remarkable restraint. Israel could have easily targeted the locations inside Iran from which the attacks were launched, but they didn’t. It was underwhelming based on the fiery statements of Iran’s most senior leaders that resulted in a resounding drubbing by the IDF – it was an outright military failure of the Iranians. The powerfully scripted warning to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu by Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei was quickly foiled – the growl of the Iranian wolf manifested itself as the purr of a kitten and their bite reminiscent of a lamb’s nervous nibble. It is clear Iran wants no more direct interaction with the Israeli military – no more F-15 or F-35 strikes and certainly no Israeli special forces planning or executing missions against their deployed forces – Israel should guarantee neither.

Tehran’s military response was also noticeably metered, with enough rockets and drones to sound aggressive but not so many it would elicit another Israeli response. It was essentially enough of a response to prevent any further embarrassment to Tehran – this is very telling. In fact, Tehran quickly sent messages to Tel Aviv stating that they were essentially “even” for Israel’s strike in Damascus earlier this month, hoping to avoid any follow-on Israeli attacks. Without their proxies, without their suicide bombers, without targeting civilians, without their unchecked rhetoric, and without support from any Arab neighbors, Iran stands alone and rightfully exposed.

Decapitating Iranian Leadership

The direct confrontation between Iran and Israel is historical and began after the 1st of April strike by Israeli aircraft on targets in Damascus. These strikes decapitated Iranian leadership operating from the Syrian capital and unmasked a paralyzed and reportedly bickering Iranian high command. Iran continues to accumulate losses of their “special” or Quds forces in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and likely Gaza.

The Israeli strike on the Iranian embassy’s annex building in Damascus killed several senior officers and other officers linked to terror operations against Israel. Specifically, Iranian Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a planner for the Hamas October 7th attacks, was killed. Zahedi’s loss was a clear reminder to Tehran that those who planned and executed the October 7th attacks can be and will be targeted – at the time and place of Tel Aviv’s choosing.

Iranian Infighting

As reported by multiple European and Middle Eastern news outlets, Iran’s political, military, and clerical leadership have been consistently at odds with one another. Insiders claim the 2020 assassination of Quds commander and national hero Major General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by a US drone strike only emboldened the most radical clerics and other military hard-liners. While Iran’s more moderate military and political leaders warned that additional interference with Israel would only bring more Western pressure, those moderate ideas were pushed aside in favor of a more direct approach with Israel.

This direct approach is best exemplified by Iran’s overt role in training and funding the Hamas terrorists who executed the October 7th attacks in Israel. This now-failing approach may be superheating what is already a boiling cauldron across Iran. Even with the United States’s continued tepid support of Israel and continued condemnation of the war in Gaza, Israel has no intention of slowing down the securing of their borders while reinforcing their national identity. Israel remains in a fight for their very existence, something this US administration cannot fathom.

Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us. – Golda Meir, 1957

Nationwide protests are not taking over the streets of Tel Aviv, but they are in Tehran. The past five years of increasingly violent and directed protests across Iran’s most populace cities are a sign of changing times. Iran has an educated and informed base that continues to be subverted by Iran’s secret police forces. The protests are often over high unemployment, high inflation, and the real political and social suppression they face. This includes millions of Iranian women who are protesting their continued subjugation since the Islamic revolution of 1979 – something Western democracies have long fought for and should continue to fight for.

If every Muslim throws a bucket of water on Israel, Israel will be washed away. – Ayatollah Khomeini 1979

Biden Continues to Endanger World Peace

As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel continues to be browbeaten and embarrassed by the ineffectual and shortsighted Biden administration’s everchanging foreign policies. Washington’s very public scoldings and contradictory treatment of Tel Aviv have emboldened Iran and forced Israel, in this case, to go it alone. Iran’s senior leaders have been given a valuable but likely unheeded lesson – Israel will unilaterally meet any Iranian aggression with overwhelming force.

It will be up to Iran to realize their intentions and ideology have been windswept by an Israeli nation unwilling to bend. Israel has never, admittedly, seen Iran as the wolf, only as a sheep mimicking the actions of the wolf. Israel’s message also remains unwavering – there is no place for Iran in a post-war Gaza, there is no place for Iran in Syria or Iraq, there is no place for Iran anywhere if they persist on their current path – only more F-35s strike fighters adorned with the Star of David appearing on their horizon. This current Iranian sheep may be too arrogant and too disillusioned to see themselves for who they are, but that has always been the fatal fall of tyrants and zealots.