Israel vows Iranian attack will be met with a response | WASHINGTON TIMES

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Israel vows Iranian attack will be met with a response | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted by Ben Wolfgang for The Washington Times – April 15, 2024.

Israeli leaders vowed Monday that the massive Iranian attack on Saturday “will be met with a response” as they appeared to brush aside the Biden administration’s call for diplomacy and de-escalation.

Israeli military officials used strong words after the Iranian Supreme National Security Council issued a statement saying any Israeli aggression would be met with a “response 10 times harsher” than the drone and missile attack. The dueling threats from the longtime enemies fueled fears that the entire Middle East could be plunged into chaos.

Israeli Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi promised an aggressive response during a visit to the Nevatim air base, which sustained light damage during Iran’s barrage of more than 300 drones and missiles.

“This launch of so many missiles, cruise missiles and drones into Israeli territory will be met with a response,” he said, according to English-language media accounts.

The U.S., with nations across Europe and the Middle East, has appealed for calm. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that diplomacy is the right path.

“The U.S. is committed to Israel’s defense. And I think what this weekend demonstrated is that Israel did not have to and does not have to defend itself alone when it is the victim of an aggression, of an attack,” he said. “In the 36 hours since, we have been coordinating a diplomatic response to seek to prevent escalation. Strength and wisdom need to be different sides of the same coin.”

Because about 99% of the Iranian munitions were shot down and Israel sustained minimal damage, much of the world community has urged the Jewish state to avoid military steps that could lead to a full-blown war with Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government appears to have concluded that a response is necessary. His wartime Cabinet, formed in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by the Iran-backed Hamas militant group, has reportedly decided to hit back “clearly and forcefully” against Iran, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 12.

Tehran attacked after an April 1 Israeli strike on a portion of the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, killed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi and other Iranian officials.

Israel has battled Hamas and other Iranian proxies for years, but Saturday marked the first time Iran attacked Israel directly. That seems to have changed the dynamics in Israel.

Weighing its response

Any response would carry significant risk to Israel. Iran said it measured its initial attack but is willing and able to raise the stakes significantly.

“Iranian missiles and drones targeted Israeli military and air bases, and we refrained from attacking their civic infrastructure and for now the operation has been completed, and we do not intend to continue,” reads the statement from the Iranian Supreme National Security Council released Sunday night.

“Should the Israeli regime plan to continue its wicked actions against Iran, by any means or methods or at any levels, it will get a response 10 times harsher,” the statement said.

In Washington, the Biden administration is trying to walk a diplomatic tightrope. Officials have expressed strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against any Iranian aggression, but the administration appears to be distancing itself from any Israeli strike against Iran.

“We are not involved in their decision-making process about a potential response,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.

Mr. Kirby rejected reports that the Iranian attack was designed to fail and that Tehran gave the U.S. advance warning so the assault, while an impressive spectacle, would cause minor damage.

“Given the scale of this attack, Iran’s intent was clearly to cause significant destruction and casualties,” Mr. Kirby said.

Israel has a host of options, including direct strikes against Iran’s oil infrastructure or cyberattacks that could cripple the Iranian military and its ability to communicate with proxies across the region. Some analysts say Israel could instead carry out covert spy operations inside Iranian territory, potentially dealing a blow to the regime in Tehran without engaging in direct military-on-military hostilities.

“It’s very possible that Israel will respond to the direct attack with a series of covert operations within Iranian borders, telegraphing Israel’s deterrence capabilities, while highlighting Iranian exposure to Israel’s military and intelligence prowess. These operations are likely to start in the near future,” Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence official, said in an email circulated to reporters.

A strike on Iran’s nuclear sites is widely seen as one of the most extreme options. Analysts say such a response would almost certainly trigger a severe counterstrike by Tehran.

“While any military response risks furthering the escalatory spiral and igniting a broader conflict, an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be even more reckless,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association.

Israel vows Iranian attack will be met with a response | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted by Ben Wolfgang for The Washington Times – April 15, 2024.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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