web analytics

Israel Kills Top Iranian Commander – What Will Be the Fallout?

Iran rattles a vengeful saber, but the supreme leader may take a cautious approach.

Not since the Donald Trump administration took out Iran’s chief terrorist, Qasem Soleimani, has a top Iranian been targeted. But on April 1, an airstrike from Israel hit the consular building next to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, killing Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. He had been responsible for directing logistics support for Iran’s proxies managed by the same organization Soleimani controlled.

Unlike the Joe Biden administration, which seems bent on avoiding any conflict with Iran, clearly the architect of the conflict in the Middle East, Israel has no such reluctance. Although the Israeli government did not take credit for the attack, no reporting suggests it was anyone else.

Israel Confirmed to Be Behind the Attack

“Four Israeli officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters, confirmed that Israel had been behind the strike in Damascus, but denied that the building had diplomatic status,” The New York Times reported. Furthermore, to dispute the critics who claimed the building was part of the Iranian Embassy complex, the same officials countered that “the building was an outpost of the Revolutionary Guards, making it a legitimate military target.”

In its daily report, Iran Update, April 1, 2024, the Institute for the Study of War explained why the strike was necessary:

“Israel targeted Zahedi as part of an air campaign that it has conducted to disrupt the Iranian transfer of military materiel to its proxies and partners in Lebanon and Syria. Israel has conducted several strikes targeting Iranian and Iranian-backed positions in Syria in recent months to this end, including killing IRGC Brig. Gen. Razi Mousavi outside Damascus in December 2023. Mousavi was one of Zahedi’s subordinates and responsible for moving military assets and equipment through Syria.”

Defense Department spokeswoman Sabrina Singh made two points about the attack during a press briefing. First, the United States had nothing to do with it and was not notified by Israelis about the strike. In fact, there was no reason for the Israelis to notify the Biden administration before taking action to eliminate Iran’s chief planner for supporting Hezbollah and other proxies.

It is likely that had the Israel Defense Force (IDF) notified the Pentagon, there would have been a discussion about how such an attack would escalate tensions and lead to a broader regional conflict. Why open the door to that conversation? Plus, by not notifying Washington, the IDF gave Biden’s national security team plausible deniability – something it undoubtedly appreciated. And don’t forget that Israel’s strategy for defeating its enemies is not always in synchrony with Washington’s worldview.

Retaliation by Iran Not Imminent

“After nearly six months of war in Gaza and violent conflict with the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, Israel appears determined to roll back Iranian military influence in neighboring countries despite the risk that its aggressive new approach could trigger a broader regional escalation,” Jared Malsin and Benoit Faucon observed in The Wall Street Journal. The risk is real, but how probable the immediate danger of retaliation is questionable. Even after a knee-jerk reaction from the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declaring Iran will seek revenge on Israel for the attack, Tehran cannot afford a shooting war with Israel.

Some fear the retaliation could involve significant attacks on US interests. “Tehran has options. It could unleash its proxies on US forces, use them to strike Israel directly or ramp up its nuclear program, which the United States and its allies have long sought to rein in,” Reuters reported. Additionally, US officials knowledgeable about the situation explain there is no actionable intelligence that Iran-supported proxies are planning to resume attacks on US bases and outposts.

The Biden administration has shown no appetite to take Iran on directly. However, the US response to Tehran’s proxies for killing three American service members appears to have had a chilling effect on the terrorists’ enthusiasm for continuing drone and rocket attacks on American forces in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. What the United States and Israel can expect is more of what Iran does best — support its proxies with weapons, training, and other logistics capabilities. As long as the Biden administration does not have the will to hold Iran accountable directly, Tehran has no reason to change its behavior in the Gulf region. A major attack on Israel or US interests in the short-term is probably not in the cards.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.

Read More From Dave Patterson

Latest Posts

Want Fries with That? – C5 TV

Join the C-5 Panel as they investigate what happened to the dollar menu at fast food establishments and why it...

Joe Biden Upstaged at Morehouse

President Joe Biden upped his campaign game this past week, focusing on black voters. Not only did he address the...

Headlines – Breaking News

Michael Cohen Admits Stealing From Trump Organization A shocking day in the Trump trial carousel. “Donald Trump’s...

Biden’s Waffle House – C5 TV

Dive in or walk away - Biden refuses to make a decision on the Israel-Hamas conflict. [roku-ad align="center"...