There is little doubt that Israel’s sharply toned down response to Iran’s massive attack played into Israel’s short term security interests by not triggering a regional war. But the jury is still out as to the long term. Indeed, there are serious questions about the implications of Israel’s obviously having kowtowed to President Biden and the various Arab countries that helped Israel shoot down virtually all of Iran’s rockets and missiles. It is no secret that they insisted that Israel’s response be muted so as to permit Iran to downplay it, back off from responding and still save face.

So, as has been widely reported, Israel’s firepower successfully penetrated Iranian air defenses and reached the Isfahan military base, purposely doing little physical damage in the process. Since the base is but a stone’s throw from Iran’s major Isfahan nuclear facility, the mission it was said to be a very big deal and an important message to the mullahs: Israel could hit deep into the Iranian interior and that Iran’s nuclear program was at risk.


And to be sure, there seemed to be some quick benefits. Israel had shared its intentions with the Biden team so when the muted strike came it was fully expected and quickly acknowledged. In quick succession, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution that would have recognized Palestinian statehood within the pre-197 border with no revisions. Despite the ongoing war in Gaza, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. stepped up their negotiations for normalization of relations between Israel and the Saudis.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that while the Saudis have long insisted that a Palestinian state is a priority and that Israel had to take irreversible steps towards recognition of a Palestinian state as the price of normalization, the Saudis have now privately told the U.S. that they might now accept verbal assurances from Israel that it would engage in new talks on Palestinian statehood

And, of course, President Biden touted, then strongly supported and later signed legislation that provides for $17 billion in U.S. military aid for Israel.

But looming behind all of this is the stark reality that Iran now knows that the U.S. and even Arab states opposing Iran would not acquiesce in Israel’s taking its fight with Iran’s proxies to Iran itself. Nor would it go along with Israel’s going beyond defensively beating back Hezbollah, and the Houthis and on its own initiative moving to take out Hezbollah or Houthi infrastructure.

Surely the frenetic efforts by President Biden and several European and Arab countries to get Israel to ease off on its response to the Iranian attack on Israel sent the clear message to Iran that Israel could expect to be largely alone should it engage in any future serious offensive action against Iran.

So, Iran is still in the catbird seat. Hezbollah and the Houthis are still around to serve as its proxies. Iranian proxies – and so will Hamas if President Biden has his way. Where is the touted deterrent Israel is supposed to have restored with its precision “retaliation against Iran?

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