Understanding Israel’s War with Iran

Lots of people are confused about the war with Iran. Beyond the recent air strike in Syria and funding of terror attacks, here is a crash course of the backstory.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

Why is Israel at war with Iran?

Lots of people are confused about this, and that’s totally understandable.

The short explanation is that an alleged Israeli air strike in Syria eliminated an Iranian General who was responsible for funding and directing the October 7th attack and many other ongoing terror attacks against Israel. Iran, who had until then only attacked Israel through proxies, chose to strike back directly. Israel is now planning to respond to Iran’s attack, to create a deterrence.

But if you want to really understand the significance and what’s going on, here’s a quick crash course:

Iran and Israel had good diplomatic relations until the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The new Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, in addition to suppressing his own people, immediately adopted a sharp anti-Israel stance. He called Israel an “enemy of Islam,” and the “Little Satan,” while the United States was labeled the “Big Satan.” In December 2000, Khomeini’s successor, Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumour” that should be removed from the region—a threat he has since repeated many times.

For perspective, Iran is 75 times the size of Israel, with almost nine times the population.

Khameini’s Iranian regime’s preferred method of war is through proxies not on their own soil. These proxies are largely sponsored and coordinated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s Quds Force. Thus the regime gradually and strategically became a state supporter of many terror groups across the Middle East, with Israel as a primary, but not sole, target.

The most well known of these proxies are Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza and Judea and Samaria (often referred to as the West Bank); Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria; and the Houthis in Yemen.

These, and the Quds Force, are all designated as terror groups by both Israel and the United States, as well as most western countries.

Iran has also carried out attacks on Israeli and Jewish sites worldwide—though usually covertly without taking responsibility. Most famously, in 1992 and 1994, Iranian elements bombed the Israeli embassy and then AMIA Jewish community center in Argentina, killing 114 and injuring hundreds.

Israelis and Jews are not Iran’s only target. American bases in the Middle East have been subject to hundreds of attacks from Iran and their proxies in recent years.

Fast forward to April 1st, 2024. Mohammad Reza Zahedi was sitting in a meeting in a building connected to Iran’s consulate in Syria. Zahedi was a general and top commander of the Qud’s Force, and was responsible for the regime’s operations in Lebanon and Syria. He had also taken a major part in organizing, directing, and funding Hamas’s October 7th attack on Israel. As the Iranian regime’s representative in Hezbollah’s Shura Council, led by Hassan Nasrallah, Zahedi was conducting a meeting to organize further attacks on Israel.

Zahedi was responsible for the deaths and kidnappings of thousands of Israelis and a large number of Americans too.

During the meeting, an alleged Israeli air strike hit the building, eliminating Zahedi, his deputy, and a number of other senior Hezbollah leaders.

The attacks showed a high level of intelligence on Israel’s half, and infuriated Khameini and his regime. For the first time in history, he chose to attack Israel directly in response, rather than through his proxies. Beginning late at night in April 13th, Khomeini directed 170 explosive laden drones, 130 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles towards Israel, crossing through the airspace of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Jordan. The attack was the largest ever of its type in the Middle East, and with intent to kill.

It was also the first time that a united force of Israel, America, The U.K., France, Jordan, and even Saudi Arabia worked together to mitigate the threat. 99% of projectiles were successfully intercepted. One young Israeli-Arab child is fighting for her life after being hit.

For decades, Israel has been attempting to fight the Iranian Regime octopus by cutting off its many proxy tentacles. But so long as Iran continues to funnel money and arms, the proxies continue to live. Iran’s attack unmasked them as the Goliath behind the seemingly never-ending stream of terror groups attempting to destroy Israel.

The Iranian regime however is on shaky grounds in its own home territory. There’s an uprising coming from the millions of Iranians who don’t support the authoritarian regime and its oppressive laws which don’t give rights to women. Khameini is aware that there are many, even secretly in his own highest command, who want him out. A war is very risky for him right now. So he limited the attack to a one night round, and threatened Israel that he will continue only if he is attacked back. He also threatened the United States that he will target American bases in Iraq if they back an Israeli response.

Now Israel needs to choose the next step. A response may lead to a bigger war with a deadly enemy. No response is a lesson to Iran that they can continue to fire ballistic missiles directly at Israel without consequence.

A large response, such as further assassinations, may open up a civil war in Iran, and wider war in the region, leading to possibly thousands or millions of dead.

Israel may opt for for a smaller attack, targeting an IRGC building without direct assassinations. But this also doesn’t come without risk, and also doesn’t necessarily give enough deterrence against future attacks.

Some, including America, tell Israel to be happy with the win of defending against the attack, and the coalition of support during it. This however does not deter Iran from further attacks, and possibly even encourages a repeat.

This evening (April 15), IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said that Iran will be met with a response for their attack. He did not say how severe.

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