Drone Attack on Israeli Tanker, Hezbollah Rocket Barrage Signal Confrontational Policy of New Iran President JCPOA Nuclear Agreement Also in Jeopardy
Iran’s new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi appears to be sending strong signals to Israel and the US that he will take an aggressive posture in pursuing Iranian interests in the region and globally. I wrote about the alleged Iranian attack on the Israeli-managed, Mercer Street, which killed two crew members. This week Hezbollah launched the most intense missile barrage into northern Israel since the 2006 War.
In addition, the nuclear talks in Vienna have continued for months without agreement by Iran or the US to resume their participation. Despite on-again, off-again statements by the parties that a deal was likely or imminent, the current status appears stalled. The best news recently was a statement that the Iranians may be willing to resume talks in September.
Raisi knows that Pres. Biden promised as part of his election campaign to return to the JCPOA deal which Trump abandoned after he became president. The new Iranian leader isn’t about to give Biden a gift tied up in bows. And the American leader appears to have gotten questionable advice from his more hawkish advisors keen to prevent Republicans from accusing the President of caving to Iran. As a result, the nuclear talks are stalled.
The drone attack on a ship managed by the Israeli oligarch Ofer family, and the killing of two crew members marks a serious escalation over previous assaults in which Iran purportedly exploded mines on the hulls of several other Israeli ships, causing less serious damage. It parallels previous strikes using drones to destroy a Saudi Arabian oil refinery and attack US troops in Iraq in retaliation for Trump’s assassination of IRG commander, Qassem Soleimani. Similarly, in the case of the Mercer Street incident, it happened in the context of repeated Israeli attacks on Iranian shipping and personnel in Syria.
The outrage offered by Israel and G7 foreign ministers at Iran’s alleged attack on the Israeli-managed tanker contrasts with utter silence in the aftermath of repeated Israeli attacks inside Iran which murdered six nuclear scientists, and sabotaged the nation’s infrastructure. Apparently, when Israel is concerned what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander.
Hezbollah’s missile barrage in southern Lebanon and Israel’s retaliatory response have brought ominous warnings and threats of war from Israel’s defense minister. It marks the highest level of tension on this frontier in years. But neither Iran nor Hezbollah will be intimidated, as these chest-thumping threats have been regular feature of Israel’s posture toward them.
Each of these Iranian episodes appears part of a concerted policy of confrontation by the new Raisi administration designed to show a more assertive posture toward Iran’s rivals and enemies. Whereas, former Pres. Rouhani hewed to a more pragmatic, forthcoming path, the new leader is telling the world that Iran will no longer bend over backwards to accommodate its negotiating partners. If they want agreements and quiet on fronts where there has been confrontation (Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, etc) Iran will demand respect and accommodation to its interests in return.
This hardline approach also puts the lie to claims by anti-Iran hawks in the US and Israel that the former is collapsing under the pressure of punitive western sanctions. Raisi is telling them that this path will lead nowhere. That Iranians can take everything the west can throw at them and more. And when they’ve done everything they can to hurt the country, the regime will remain steadfast and in control. This give-no-quarter approach means greater suffering for the Iranian people, who’ve endured much at the hands of Iran’s enemies and the clerical regime itself.
The response by Biden’s hawkish national security officials, threatening further sanctions if Iran continues to delay its return to JCPOA, are the continuation of decades-worth of failed US punitive policy and doomed to failure.
Any time a party to regional conflict introduces a new, more aggressive approach it risks provoking retaliation and full-scale war. When rivals play a game of chicken to see who will blink first, they run the risk of miscalculating an opponent’s intentions. All it takes a a lit match to ignite a conflagration. When generals and presidents let their testosterone go to their heads, it can have disastrous results. This is precisely what happened in 2006 when Hezbollah attacked the northern border and killed several IDF soldiers. Israel, in retaliation, launched a war that was catastrophic for both sides. The only good that came out of it was that both Hezbollah and Israel have realized for the past 15 years that they don’t want it to happen again. Let’s hope it doesn’t.
But not for lack of trying on the part of some blood-thirsty Israeli academics and think thanks like this one, which published what is essentially a call for genocide against Iran. The author, Mordechai Kedar, has previously advocated committing genocide against the Palestinian people. So at least he’s consistent! Kedar is the Shin Bet’s favored Arabist to teach its interrogators how to torture Palestinian suspects using proper Arabic.
13 thoughts on “Drone Attack on Israeli Tanker, Hezbollah Rocket Barrage Signal Confrontational Policy of New Iran President – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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So glad, Rich, that you referred to testosterone. Between that excess and personality disorders cum greed (no matter what culture they appear in), I see no hope for peace. The military-war-industry thrives and people die, especially a lot of innocent ones, people with no power.
“The only good that came out of it was that both Hezbollah and Israel have realized for the past 15 years that they don’t want it to happen again.” Israel doesn’t want “it” to happen again? I could not agree less. They’re bloodthirsty fascist goons and seem to have no compunctions about mowing down anyone in the way of their regional hegemony, even if it means some “collateral damage in young Jews.” Nuclear? Ahhh, so sad, so sorry. The radiation does wear off after a while, no?
Y’all know all the aphorisms about wars.
[comment deleted: I do not permit comments spewing hatred toward nations, religions, or peoples. Consider yourself warned. And read the comment rules carefully.]
“…They’re bloodthirsty fascist goons…(susypus123)”
“… I do not permit comments spewing hatred toward nations, religions, or peoples…”
@Richard: unless it is aimed at Israel or Israelis, right?
@ Eli Gal: I have no idea where that comment came from. You need to include a link so I can read the entire comment (which you conveniently elided) and judge that and not a single phrase from it.
Not all Lebanese believe Hezbollah should be the guardian of the Nation.
Considering Lebanon’s many severe problems, Hezbollah’s antagonizing Israel without provocation, seems unwise.
Unwise, unless Hezbollah is just doing Iran’s bidding and doesn’t really care about solving Lebanon’s problems.
@ KC: There are quite a few problems with your comment. Let’s start here:
[comment deleted: you have been banned]
Animals threaten one another by making themselves look bigger. We are animals. People and some nation’s leaders play a game of chicken tantamount to that. This irresponsibly puts innocents on the line, including or especially, their own. US punitive foreign policy is based on the belief that we can obliterate anyone therefore call the shots even though we cannot really. It has been this since WW2. Still we go on as though we can. Israel can act with impunity against Iran and it’s interests because it has the ultimate weapon, the technology for less than that to prevail, and the US and it’s interests supposedly, including the domestic political.Iran has it’s interests it’s allies and its dignity to protect. Iran will not be cowed; it’s people support that even when they don’t like their leadership.Iran can also fight a war of attrition, asymmetrical warfare which is what the parties seem to be engaged in now. They won’t talk until a crescendo is hit like with everything else of vital interest, Covid, Climate Change.Things need to get dire and the parties to need stop playing power oneupsmanship and find some respect for one another, but even then, the nasty habit of playing for power prevails. It’s in the genes.
JCPOA in Jeopardy? For the former US president indeed .. he shredded the agreement. Biden/Blinken knew what was at stake … never serious nor decisive to be part of the nuclear pact with Security Council partners and Iran. I suspect the quick withdrawal of NATO allies from Afghanistan is policy of creating chaos. Keeps enemy states Russia, China, Iran an Pakistan involved with Taliban. Human Rights? Thousand civilians have perished in a month.
Mr 8 State Apartheid Solution, Mordechai Kedar.
Well this is certainly alarming.
Raisi may be unusually cruel AND deranged.
@ Boss B: Actually no more cruel or deranged than the average IDF chief of staff, who are routinely guilty of murdering far more Palestinians than Raisi ever murdered Iranians. Don’t get me wrong, Raisi has blood on his hands. But to pretend that his ardor for blood isn’t matched by Israeli generals and intelligence chiefs is ludicrous.