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"Nightmare scenario": Israel is considering options to respond to Iran

2024-04-17 07:52:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

"Nightmare scenario": Israel is considering options to respond to Iran

Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel has pushed the Middle East to the brink of all-out war.

Tehran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel on April 13, carrying out its first direct attack against its sworn enemy.

After this attack, Israel is considering its options, which, according to analysts, could range from a diplomatic offensive to isolate Iran, to military attacks on the Islamic Republic.

With the risk of escalation greater than ever, the worst-case scenario, an all-out war between Iran and Israel, is highly likely, analysts say.

"Israel must consider the goals, not just the results, and this means that in Israel there will be an argument for a response inside Iran, with all the risks that this brings," said Michael Horowitz, of the international consultancy Le Beck with based in Bahrain.

As long as neither Iran nor Israel wants the situation to escalate, "the dance in which they have entered - trying to restrain each other - is very dangerous", he added.

Iran's attack was in retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1, which killed several Iranian commanders, including two generals.

Suspected Israeli strikes have killed at least 18 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the elite branch of Iran's armed forces, in Syria since last December.

The April 13 attack by Iran appeared to be highly controlled and planned to cause no casualties or major damage.

"Nightmare scenario"

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel "has no choice" but to respond to Iran's attack.

Tehran, however, warned that its response will be "stronger" and "wider" if Israel retaliates.

IRGC commander-in-chief Major General Hossein Salmani said on April 14 that Iran's Operation Sincere Pledge - has "changed the formula" and that Tehran would respond to Israel's actions, instead of showing " strategic patience".

"Iran wants a significant change and has said that from now on, any action by Israel will receive a similar response," Farzin Nadimi of the Washington Institute told Radio Free Europe's Farda.

A direct Israeli military operation against Iran could trigger all-out war between the two countries, which Horwitz says is a "nightmare scenario."

Such a scenario could draw in the United States, Israel's main ally, as well as prompt Iran's proxies and pro-Iranian militant groups in the region to attack Israel, including Lebanon's Hezbollah, Yemen's Houthi rebels and Shiite militias. in Iraq and Syria.

"If we get to this point, we could see weekly Israeli attacks against Iran, full Hezbollah involvement in an attack against Israel, an Israeli ground invasion of Lebanon and an attempt by Iran to close the Persian Gulf," Horowitz said.

For years, Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, an important route for the world's oil supply.

Even in the absence of a direct Israeli strike against Iran, "a series of retaliatory strikes between Iran and Israel could lead us to this point, if outside parties do not act as they have done so far to reduce tensions," Horowitz warned. .

"Degree of Uncertainty"

Many world powers and regional actors have called for a reduction in tensions, including the United States, which has urged Israel to show restraint.

US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington will not support an Israeli attack on Iran, according to media reports.

"The United States has very great leverage over Israel, if they want to use it," Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard University, told Radio Farda.

"Now, with the possibility of a full-scale war, it appears that the Biden administration has told Israel that if it does anything more, it will be on its own," he added.

While it's not impossible for Israel to ignore Washington and deal with the issue on its own, Walt said the chances of a regional conflict are slim because "most actors in the region don't want that to happen."

He stressed that the only groups that "could be interested" in a full-scale war are Hamas - which has been declared a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union - and Netanyahu's hardline government.

Even so, there would be no real winners in a broad conflict, according to Horowitz./ REL

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