Iran’s attack has taken region to brink of all-out war – but Israel always has the last word

webnexttech | Iran's attack has taken region to brink of all-out war - but Israel always has the last word

Decades of clandestine blood-letting and espionage have burst out of the shadows with the direct Iranian barrage on Israel. Israel has until now used Iranian dissidents to bump off Tehran’s nuclear scientists, kill senior military officers and plausible deniability to launch unclaimed air-strikes. Iran has hit back with attacks, always at arm’s length via Hamas, Hezbollah and other proxies. Now these direct strikes by Iran have taken the region to the brink of all-out war. But whilst they could have been devastating and demonstrated Iranian military power, they fell short of the threshold for all-out war. It seems counter intuitive not to see 300 missiles and drones as a declaration of war but there were no mass casualties and Iran has clearly now placed the ball in Israel’s court. Israel had plenty of warning to see off a salvo of dozens of slow-moving and cumbersome Shahed drones, followed by cruise and ballistic missiles. This could be a kind of pre-ordained script being played out, with both sides back-channelling through the Gulf States what would be acceptable. But there is plenty of room for a deadly miscalculation by either side. Tehran had to be seen to do something, whilst avoiding mass casualties. As proved by Israel’s post Hamas attacks from Gaza, this would be a red-line. But as a senior Israeli intelligence officer once told me: “ We live in a tough neighbourhood. Don’t come to Israel expecting a fair game – if you come at us with a stick, we take a baseball bat, use a knife we will take a gun and so on.” Iran has crossed the line, broken an unspoken deal not to directly attack. And Israel always has the last word.

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