Israel needed to strike back at Iran – analysis

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Early on a quiet Friday morning, drama unfolded in the Middle East after media reported that an Israeli missile strike targeted a site in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, Iran. This development was accompanied by a series of explosions that echoed through the southern Syrian region of As-Suwayda near Baghdad and in the Babil Governorate of Iraq.

As dawn broke over Isfahan, videos captured the city’s skies lighting up, a stark display of Iranian air defenses springing into action. 

It’ll take some time for the fog to clear, especially as Israel maintains an official policy of silence. 

A mural depicting the late leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are seen on a building in a street in Tehran, Iran March 3, 2024. (credit: Majid Asgaripour/WANA/via Reuters)

Not nuclear

First, while Isfahan has a significant nuclear complex – with research reactors from China and a fuel production plant – the nuclear program is not necessarily the target. Isfahan is also home to important military bases. 

Now, the question is what Iran’s response will be – will it contain Israel’s alleged response, understanding that it could have been worse – for example, destroying key electrical infrastructure in Iran – or will it want to escalate? The ball is now in their court. 

But here is what it’s important to keep in mind: Israel was directly attacked by Iran in an unprecedented way with hundreds of drones and missiles. All those people who will tell you now that Israel was reckless and that Netanyahu wants to goad Biden into a regional war don’t understand that not responding would have raised the stakes of war. Israel was not willing to appease Iran. Force needed to be met with force.



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