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Israel Struck Back – But What Else Were They to Do?

Iran now understands that Israel is good to its word.

There should never been any doubt Israel was going to launch a counterstrike against Iran. The Biden administration and its inside-the-beltway policy wonks could pound the table, demanding caution and “take the win” until they were blue in their faces; Israel had to respond in a compelling way to Iran’s 310-drone and missile attack on April 13. It was a deterrence imperative – and if Iran’s official response is any indication, it worked.

After Iran attacked Israel with a massive airstrike, the reply had to send a clear, unambiguous message. What we know is that most reports describe the Israeli counterstrike as a single missile that hit a military target in Iran. The message conveyed by Israel’s aerial attack memo was crystal clear: You sent over 300 missiles and drones and hit nothing, while we sent a single missile and hit the target. That’s compelling communication.

Iran Confirms Israel Hit Iranian Military Base

“Three Iranian officials confirmed that a strike had hit a military air base near the city of Isfahan, in central Iran, early on Friday [April 19], but did not say which country had mounted the attack,” The New York Times explained. It’s fair to make two observations. First, Israel let Iran know unequivocally that the Russia-supplied S-300 air defense system was helpless to prevent the attack. Additionally, the targeting of the Isfahan district lets Iran know that its nuclear research and extensive drone and missile manufacturing are at risk at any time of Israel’s choosing.

Speaking in an interview with NBC News, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahain called the Israeli strike inconsequential. He went on to say that Iran won’t retaliate – this time. Despite the official’s call to spin the attack as nothing worth bothering over, it’s clear Iran got the message Israel meant to send.

The April 19 Israeli missile attack is not the first time the Israel Defense Force has reached out to tap the Iranian mullahs. A little over a year agoLiberty Nation reported on an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle factory being attacked. “[O]n Jan. 28, small Israeli UAVs began to rain down fire on Iranian targets in the dark of night. One specific military facility [located in Isfahan] was reported hit by what is believed to be small quadcopter weapons-capable drones.” Among other potential targets in the Isfahan district is the Natanz nuclear facility, Iran’s principal Uranium enrichment complex with six above-ground buildings, all of which could be easily destroyed. As chemical weapons expert and former head of UK and NATO nuclear forces Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told the BBC, the concentration of military bases in and around Isfahan made Israel’s targeting choice “very significant.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emerged from the annual G7 meetings, held this year in Capri, Italy, to talk to the press. He said:

“First, the G7 condemned the unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel, unprecedented in scope and scale – scope, because it was a direct attack on Israel from Iran; scale, because it involved more than 300 munitions, including ballistic missiles. We’re committed to Israel’s security. We’re also committed to de-escalating, to trying to bring this tension to a close … The United States announced additional sanctions on Iran, targeting UAV programs, the steel industry, companies that are associated with the IRGC, the Ministry of Defence, and its armed forces’ logistics.”

The first major takeaway from Secretary Blinken’s remarks is that additional sanctions focused on several important aspects of Iran’s military capability. However, they did not address the most important element of Tehran’s ability to wreak havoc among its neighbors and Israel: oil. Iran is free to produce and sell its oil.

Oil Revenue Keeps Iran Capable of Funding Terrorism

The revenue generated, up to $10 billion annually, buys whatever Tehran requires to maintain its steel industry, its UAV production, and whatever the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) needs to perpetuate its sponsorship of terrorist proxies.

But there’s another point listeners of Blinken’s comments should understand. It’s very apparent that, regardless of the G7’s hopes for de-escalating tensions in the Gulf Region, whether tensions escalate or de-escalate is completely out of the G7’s control. As we have seen, the level of conflict is out of the Biden administration’s control as well.

As the dust settles in both Israel and Iran, circumstances leading to the exchange of air attacks between the two nations have demonstrated that Israel has the more powerful military. Israel also showed the practical application of deterrence. Prior to Friday’s show of force, Iran promised to make Israel suffer should the Jewish state retaliate. But retaliate Israel has – and the official response from Iran is that they don’t plan to strike back. Perhaps there’s a lesson in this to be learned by the Biden foreign policy team.

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

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