Thursday, May 23, 2024

Iran’s attack is a pivotal moment in world history

To my Indian audience, as I always try to do to simplify geopolitical issues, and wean them away from media’s lies, here is what they need to pay attention. 

Israel demolished a part of Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria on April 1 which killed key Iranian military commanders. Twelve days later, Iran launched multiple missile and drone attacks, targeting the Israeli military sites from where the Damascus attack had emanated. Israel claims it thwarted most of Iran’s weapons but conceded some were able to hit targets albeit without any damage. 

So this much is conceded even by the propagandists — that Iran was able to pierce possibly world’s most advanced air-defence system which operated behind the best United States could put in defence of the Zionist state. 

Impressively, Iran pierced this defence after alerting its adversaries. The precision of its strikes showed how nuanced were Tehran’s intelligence on Israel’s military sites. 

Tehran’s message in essence was: We know where you are, we know how to reach you, we know how to attack you and if you still want to escalate it: Be my guest. 

Give it a moment’s thought —If Israel can be hit, and if the “strategic depth” Iran has in terms of non-state actors in Hezbollah and Houthis, not to say the Shiite Crescent in Iraq and Syria, and if they operate in concert, Israel is over. Forget Tel Aviv has Nuclear weapons and the beef of the United States. For mutual self-destruction is never an option. 

Let’s say you still are not quite sure if the United States which has  world’s most powerful army and navy has been shown the mirror. So let me present the ground scenario which could make you revisit your opinion. 

Revisiting Iran’s Attack

Iran hit two Israeli air bases — Ramon and Nevatim—and the intelligence gathering centre in Mount Hermon which is some 1,000 km from its western borders, across hostile territories. 

Now these locations are protected not just by Israel’s own defense system but by the US radar system which is located in Negev (Naqab) desert. In other words, arrayed against Iran’s deterrence strikes, Israel had its Iron Dome, Arrow, David’s Sling, Patriot etc etc. 

That’s not all. Besides these missile interceptors, are US, British and Israeli aircraft, and US and French shipborne anti-missile defenses as extra layers of protection. 

The US Army base in Mount Har Qeren, code-named “Site 512”, just 20 miles from Gaza, projects itself as the defense against Iran’s aggression. 

Indeed Nevatim, which is one of Israel’s largest air base, houses F-35I Adir stealth fighters, and is defended by what one thought was world’s most advanced anti-missile shield. 

Yet such was the precision of Iranian missile attack that they even mocked the Israel Defense Forces by dropping warheads on the officers’ swimming pool in Nevatim. 

As per Iranian sources, some 7 Fattah II hypersonic missiles were tested and none of them were intercepted. At least nine missiles hit home on two Zionist air bases, taking two runways out of service. 

The slickness of Iran succeeded in overwhelming Israeli missile defense systems which couldn’t protect Nevatim and Ramon. Since it is common knowledge that intelligence and surveillance gathering aerial vehicles follow the attacking drones, it must be believed that Iran has captured data which could help them build a detailed map of Israeli air defense positions. 

So when Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says that “we could have hit Haifa and Tel Aviv”, its adversaries are taking the threat seriously. The “toys” which Israel launched from inside Iran in response are good to make headlines but it’s fooling no-one. 

Rippling Effect

Let’s look at the rippling effect of Iran’s attack in overall terms. 

One, the “resources” which Israel used to combat Iran’s attacks has cost them $1.3 billion in a matter of few hours. Iran’s cost, in contrast, was a mere $35 million, some 40 times less. There is more to it: If Iran keeps up with this strategy Israel could exhaust its interceptors, a situation which is not dissimilar to Ukraine’s troubles. 

From the United States’ point of view, the message has gone across that its most modern missile technologies are susceptible. It would ring loud and clear in Europe, the Pacific as well as in Middle East, a clear music to the non-state actors in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Russia, China or North Korea could afford a smile too. 

Now that Israel’s thick air defence system has been shown as not fool-proof, the air defense of American bases in Syria, Iraq and the Persian Gulf states appear fragile. So if escalation was to happen, the US could expose some 35 of its bases and troops in the region to some serious danger. And if the US is powerless to stop Iran, Israel loses its most powerful shield. Tel Aviv’s long-cherished desire to drag the US in a war with Iran appears a pipe-dream. 

The US is loathe to lose out on Global South which is gathering mass through the BRICS and SCO to which Iran is a member. 

Washington understands that Iran, linked with Russia, and now that Venezuela is eyeing a seat in BRICS in 2024, is emergence of oil-producing countries in lockstep which could hold up Strait of Hormuz, like Iran has demonstrated by seizing an Israeli-linked ship. The resultant spike in oil prices would be a gut in the blow to the Western economy as it would be to the rest of the world. 

So if control of energy goes out of the US’ orbit, and the routes along with financial and investment circuits slip out, where does it leave the Dollar? The very weapon which allows the US to withstand its crushing debt and rampant inflation?

Still, the US tested the nerves by asking the global community to come out in solidarity against the Iranian attack. Only eight from the global majority — two each from Latin America and the Eurasian zone, South Korea and three Pacific Island nations—stood by the US and its western allies. The entire Africa, Asia and the ASEAN region didn’t associate themselves with the US initiative. And, of course, no Muslim nation came out in support of the joint statement. Turkey, NATO’s own, refused too. 

So these are the contours of emerging new world. Iran has moved from passive to active deterrence. Like Russia, it is existentially motivated. It has strategic depth which kind of frees up its borders. It now has a reach which could neutralize threats in Red Sea and Eastern Mediterranean. 

Iran, in plain view, has empowered Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, as it has Lebanon, and the Palestinians whose statehood is its avowed goal terming Zionists as the occupier of the land.

It sure has resonated in Tel Aviv and Washington DC. The implications are graver—and well-understood. 

Though the latest tranche of aid to Israel has been cleared by the United States, the Hegemon pretty well understands that it’s clout in Global South is shrinking rapidly. That’s the not the world US would be comfortable in: And that in essence scuttles Israel’s plan to drag the United States into a war with Iran. 

Almost overnight, Tehran has changed the rules of the game. This is an extremely pivotal moment of world history—and not what you read in your deceitful media. 

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