Israel Can Use Iranian Attacks on Global Shipping to Its Advantage

Last Thursday, drones attacked a ship in the Gulf of Oman, killing two crew members. The ship is Japanese-owned and sails under a Liberian flag, but it is operated by an Israeli-owned company; one of the victims was Romanian, the other British. According to the governments of the U.S., the UK, and Israel, the Islamic Republic launched the drones from its own soil, apparently in response to IDF airstrikes on Syria last week that killed several Iranian soldiers. The attack marks an escalating maritime war between Jerusalem and Tehran. Yesterday, there seems to have been an attempted hijacking of another ship in the area, for which Iran is likely responsible as well. Yoav Limor assesses the situation:

Iran appears to have decided to try to create a new equation. . . . Instead of responding [to Israeli airstrikes] from Syrian soil through the use of its emissaries as it has done in the past, it chose to respond directly from Iran.

This shift is indicative of a number of things. Iran apparently believes it lacks the ability to respond effectively from Syria. The Quds Force, [the elite expeditionary branch of the Islamic Republic’s military], is also finding it difficult to maintain power in Syria ever since its commander Qassem Suleimani was assassinated by U.S. forces last year. . . . Most importantly, Iran feels confident enough to launch drones from its soil, something it has already done in the past, including in the attack on Saudi oil facilities in September 2019, and assumes it will not be made to pay a significant price for doing so.

Iran may have identified the ship as “Israeli” because of the citizenship of its owners, but for all intents and purposes, this was a Japanese-owned ship sailing under a Liberian flag. . . . Israel would be wise to use all of the diplomatic tools at its disposal to put the spotlight on Tehran. . . . At the same time, Israel must consolidate a clear policy on how it intends to respond should Iran continue these attacks. It must not accept the creation of a new deterrence equation in which everything Israeli or with ties to Israel around the globe becomes a target for attack, nor should it accept any limitations the Iranians try to impose on the air force’s offensive operations against their weapons smuggling in Syria.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7