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HomeUSBowen: Can US, allies prevent all-out war with Iran?

Bowen: Can US, allies prevent all-out war with Iran?

  1. Israel plans response to Iran cautiously, amid Western unity
  2. Iran’s retaliatory assault met with advanced Israeli air defenses
  3. Diplomatic efforts intensify to prevent broader Middle East conflict

The Israeli war cabinet has described its forthcoming actions against Iran with a time-tested expression. Israel would respond “at the time and in the manner of our choosing.”

Following the October 7th Hamas attacks, opposition leader Benny Gantz assimilated into the war cabinet, where he underscored the significance of Israel’s unity with its Western allies.

“International opposition to Iran; Israel versus Iran.” The result is as such. We must capitalise on this strategic accomplishment for the sake of Israel’s security.”

Mr. Gantz’s statement did not preclude the possibility of an additional assault on an Iranian target or the initial overt Israeli strike within Iran (Israel has repeatedly targeted Iran’s nuclear programme through cyberattacks and the murder of scientists and officials). However, the diplomatic response that President Joe Biden desires from the G7, the seven wealthiest Western nations, may still be possible after the meeting he has convened.

Since Hamas attacked Israel two weeks ago, this most recent escalation of the conflict that has swept the Middle East has begun with an Israeli assault on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus. April 1 saw the deaths of a senior general, his number two, and additional aides due to an airstrike.

The Americans were not involved in the coordination of the attack decision. It is possible that Israel considered the possibility of eliminating senior commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran to be a danger worth assuming.

Israel presents an unconvincing public argument that the legitimacy of the building as a target was established by the presence of senior military officers on diplomatic premises. The fact that Iran chose to construe the airstrike as an assault on its territory is even more significant.

It became immediately apparent that Iran would react. The message of Iran was conveyed not through subtle indications or hints, but rather through clear and definitive declarations issued by its paramount leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

America, Israel, and their allies were forewarned in advance. Mr. Biden was able to return to the White House after spending the weekend at his presidential retreat at Camp David. Instead of launching supersonic ballistic missiles, Iran initiated the assault with slow drones, which remained visible on radar displays for two hours as they approached their intended targets.

It was a more significant assault than numerous analysts had anticipated from Israel’s most adamant adversary; numerous Israelis had ample cause to anticipate a retaliatory move from their nation. Iran launched approximately 300 drones, as well as cruise and ballistic missiles, at Israel’s territory from its own. This marked a historic first. The vast majority of them were thwarted by formidable Israeli air defences, which were reinforced by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Jordan.

Their allies, particularly the United States, provided them with tremendous assistance throughout the night. In essence, President Joe Biden reaffirmed his assurance that Israel would have “ironclad” security by stating, “We have your back.”

In exchange, the United States demands Israel to exercise restraint. An unambiguous message was conveyed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by President Biden. Israel has achieved a decisive victory and has thwarted Iran’s attack; therefore, there is no need to escalate the situation further by launching military operations against Iran. A senior diplomat from the West informed me that a line must be drawn immediately to prevent further escalation.

It appears that Iran values establishing a boundary as well. It has indicated that the response to Israel’s assault in Damascus has been received; further hostilities will only escalate the situation. The Iranians appear to be seeking to defuse the two-week crisis and threats that have ensued since the Israeli attack on their Damascus diplomatic compound.

Iran may have intended to cause more destruction than it caused. Alternatively, it might have been candid about its intentions to reduce the incentive for Israel to retaliate.

Iran aspired to regain the deterrent effect it had lost following Israel’s assault on the Damascus compound. That may prove more difficult now that Israel and its allies have intercepted nearly all of the projectiles aimed at them.

It did not constitute an all-out assault on Israel. For years, Iran has been constructing rocket and missile capabilities. It was capable of launching a multitude of additional weaponry. Had Hezbollah in Lebanon initiated a full-scale offensive, it would not have done so. The political movement and militia of Lebanon, armed with an arsenal of projectiles and missiles, is Iran’s most ardent ally.

Prime Minister Netanyahu may have found solace in the manner in which the Iran attack eclipsed Gaza from public discourse. It affords him relief from the humanitarian calamity and the Israeli government’s inability to accomplish its military objectives of liberating the hostages and subduing Hamas.

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A few days ago, the rift between Mr. Biden and Mr. Netanyahu over the devastation caused by Israel’s blockade of Gaza dominated international attention. They now are discussing unity. Netanyahu can also portray himself as a steadfast and rational leader, and guardian of his people, even though his numerous adversaries in Israel seek his removal from power. They claim that before October 7th, his hasty and perilous actions gave Hamas the impression that Israel was weak.

The United States remains committed to preventing a full-scale conflict in the Middle East; this view has not changed. Red lines have been violated with the direct assault by Iran on Israel and the attack by Israel on a diplomatic site. Some Israeli right-wingers demanded a response immediately. These phone calls will continue.

The diplomats at the G7 will be tasked with averting a potentially catastrophic escalation of the region’s current conflict. Since the incursion of Israel by Hamas six months ago, the decline has been gradual, yet consistent and trending towards catastrophe.

The Middle East could catch its breath if Israel heeds President Biden’s counsel not to shoot back. The resolution of this perilous incident cannot be immediately deemed assured.

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