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HomeHeadlineEscalation and Legitimacy: Analyzing Iran's Direct Strikes on Israel

Escalation and Legitimacy: Analyzing Iran’s Direct Strikes on Israel

M. Ahmet Karabay

As Russia’s war against Ukraine surpasses two years, there are speculations on when China might attack Taiwan. Following the October 7th attack by Hamas, Israel’s retaliation escalated with missile strikes from Iran. Do you think Iran’s attacks are merely an operation to legitimize Israel?

Last year, Israel, citing Hamas attacks, initiated massacres on Palestinian territories and found itself isolated in the international arena. Even among his own people, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have no friends left except for some Western leaders.

This situation has increasingly complicated Netanyahu’s position. On April 1st, Israel bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus, destroying the consulate building and killing seven people, including a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards commander.

For the past two weeks, Iran has been stating that they will respond to Israel “whenever necessary, to the extent they deem appropriate.” Just minutes before the Iranian attack, Netanyahu appeared before the public, stating that the defense systems were fully prepared, declaring, “The state of Israel is strong. Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them.”

Immediately following this statement, Channel 12 in Israel reported that dozens of drones had been launched from Iran towards Israel. Israeli defense systems were activated, and soon Iranian armed drones were seen in Israeli skies.

Until now, Iran has always shown its hostility towards Israel through intermediaries. Now, Iran has directly targeted the country, marking a significant development.

Following the Iranian attacks, U.S. President Joe Biden convened his national security team. Sharing a photo from the meeting, Biden stated, “Our commitment to Israel’s security against any threats from Iran and its proxies is unwavering.”

Following Biden’s statements, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, stated that the attack on Israel was unacceptable and represented “unprecedented tension and a serious threat to regional security.”

Subsequently, support statements for Israel came one after another from the UK, France, and Japan.

Jordan tried to intercept Iranian missiles passing through its airspace, some of which fell on its territory. Iran labeled Jordan’s efforts as “helping Israel.”

Iran’s Fars News Agency closely monitored Jordan’s actions and announced that Jordan would be targeted next if it took any steps that could be construed as supporting Israel.

By the early hours of the morning, it was determined that Iran had launched approximately 200 drone attacks and 150 ballistic missiles from Iran to Israel.

Iran’s External and Internal Narratives

Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN announced on its X account that the attack was a legitimate defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The statement emphasized that this was retaliation for the “Zionist regime’s attack in Damascus” and that the matter was considered resolved for them. However, it was underlined that Iran’s response would be much harsher if Israel made another mistake.

While portraying the attacks to the outside world as exercising the right granted by international law, internally, the Tehran administration is presenting a different picture. The government, which has been organizing celebrations inside the country, seems to have shattered the perception of a “timid Iran” that had been prevalent among its own public for some time. The demonstrations claim that Israel’s end is near.

Some downtrodden Islamists in Turkey are trying to characterize Iran’s attacks as “the step that will end Israel.” Especially from accounts associated with the Saadet Party, Iran’s successes are listed, and the continuation of the attacks is hoped for. It is claimed that if Iran falls, Turkey will fall as well.

Critics of Netanyahu Fall Into Line

The missile and drone attacks by Iran have served as a lifeline for the beleaguered Netanyahu. Provoking Tehran has resulted in gains for Israel, which can be summarized as follows:

Opposition to Netanyahu in the U.S. Congress has been silenced. Sympathizers of Palestine in the West are now struggling to find enough support. The massacres in Gaza perpetrated by Israel have been forgotten. The path has been cleared for an operation Israel wants to conduct in Rafah. At this point, the blocks supporting Israel and Iran are as follows:

Countries supporting Israel: USA, EU, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan, Norway, Ukraine, India, South Korea, and Azerbaijan.

Countries supporting Iran: Russia, China, Syria, Venezuela, Lebanon, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Considering the voices from the West, Iran’s drone and missile attacks do not seem to be sparking a new war. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for restraint from all sides. According to sources from Israel Today, Biden has urged Israel to respond to the Iranian attacks.

These developments indicate that the conflict is not escalating to a new phase. Those who view these attacks as a collusive conflict between Israel and Iran are mistaken. Despite Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, some missiles reached their targets. Whether Netanyahu will retaliate will be determined once the extent of the damage in Israel is assessed.

Iran cannot afford to engage in an all-out war. Such a war could potentially end the regime in Iran, not just the country.

Iran has historically fought only with Muslim countries and never engaged in direct conflict with non-Muslim nations. This thesis does not sufficiently reflect today’s volatile regional situation.

For the first time, Iran is directly attacking Israel. This point is crucial. Underestimating the drones Iran has sent would be a mistake. The devastation caused by these drones in the Russia-Ukraine war is well-documented.

Considering Iran’s attacks as collusive may have been correct in the past, but it seems inaccurate today. Yes, Iran’s hostility towards Israel does lend legitimacy to the Tel Aviv administration. That is true. Similarly, Israel’s aggressive stance helps keep the Mullah Regime afloat. That is also true.

However, if history has taught us anything about wars, it is that starting a war may be a choice for a country. Yet, it is difficult to predict how an initiated war might evolve.

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