A Few More Notes on Israel and Iran

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Let me return to add a few more thoughts on what happened between Israel and Iran. Iran launched a massive fusillade of drones and missiles, but virtually none of them got through. A few days later Israel retaliated with a much smaller volley, which was apparently just a handful of drones that were launched from aircraft just outside of Iranian airspace. They were targeted at Isfahan, which is where Iran’s nuclear facilities are located, but were aimed apparently at a drone factory there. Iran not only hasn’t responded but has mostly pretended that it didn’t even happen, at least for domestic audiences. So Israel responded but at least for now they seem to have been able to do so and have the Iranians call things even.

The gist, I think, is that the Israelis didn’t think it was possible for them not to respond with a strike inside Iran territory. But they didn’t want to escalate or continue the tit for tat or launch a comparable strike — and, to whatever extent they did, they were under overwhelming pressure from the United States not to do so.

The key as far as I can see is that the Israeli munitions crossed through the Iranian anti-missile defenses with ease. That seems to have been the message: Your best stuff doesn’t work against us. If we want to attack, all of our stuff will get through. That’s a powerful message and one that could be sent without much actual damage or apparently with little or no loss of life.

It’s worth noting that Iran didn’t throw everything it had at Israel. But the early belief that they’d made a token effort doesn’t add up. They weren’t targeting civilian areas. But they don’t seem to have appreciated the quality and reliability of Israeli missile defenses. So that message seems accurate. And everyone could see that.

For now it at least seems like this is done.

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