To Deter Iran, America Must Stop Playing by Its Rules

So far, the U.S. has responded to attacks by Iran-backed terrorists either by inaction or by attacks on the groups themselves, while avoiding what Naftali Bennett called “the head of the octopus.” Oved Lobel argues that deterrence

can only be achieved by also targeting those actually responsible for these attacks: the Islamic regime ruling Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). For too long, the U.S. has been engaging in the IRGC’s shell game, pretending that the Houthis, more formally known as Ansar Allah, were a Yemeni problem. The reality is that, like Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the West Bank, and various militias in Iraq and Syria, Ansar Allah is an IRGC problem. . . .

Imagine if the situation were reversed and the Islamic Republic treated every branch of the U.S. military as an independent organization, each merely backed by or allied with the U.S. government. Whenever the U.S. Air Force struck a regime target, for instance, it would respond only against the air force, never the U.S. Army or Navy, and in a very narrow fashion, with [the U.S.] itself never suffering any kind of retaliation. At no stage would they all be treated as a unitary enemy whose decision-making center was in Washington.

If this seems patently absurd, that is because it is, and it is precisely what the U.S. is doing by trying to compartmentalize the components of the IRGC and deter each one as if it weren’t part of a whole. This approach, for obvious reasons, isn’t working in Iraq and Syria and it clearly won’t work in Yemen.

Read more at Fresh Air

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security