Photo Credit: Twitter screenshot
Iranian drones over the Temple Mount.

President Joe Biden’s greatest foreign policy nightmare has been a scenario like attacks on Israel originating from Iranian territory which would add gasoline to the ongoing Middle East fire. Now the nightmare is here: Saturday’s attack is likely to cause an Israeli response and escalate the Middle East beyond the brink of war. This poses the risk of direct involvement from the United States and other nations. Once more, Biden finds himself in the delicate position of having to state his unwavering support for Israel while striving to avert entanglement in a fresh eruption of conflict where the United States becomes an active participant.

A war in the Middle East would be terrible for the President who is tied with former President Donald Trump in the race for reelection. So, once again, Israel’s security will be conditioned on US election politics.


“I’ve just spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu to reaffirm America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel,” Biden said Saturday night. “I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks – sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel.”

And then he said, “Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack. My team will engage with their counterparts across the region. And we will stay in close touch with Israel’s leaders. And while we have not seen attacks on our forces or facilities today, we will remain vigilant to all threats and will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people.”

Candidate Trump, for his part, had no problem pointing an accusing finger at his rival at an election rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, insisting the Iranian attack was coming “because we show great weakness. The weakness that we’ve shown is unbelievable, and it would not have happened if we were in office. You know that. They know that, and everybody knows that. This is an attack that wouldn’t have happened. … “Israel attacked both on October 7th and today would have never happened.”

This was not idle bragging by Trump. He pointed to the severe sanctions he had inflicted on the Iranians, which resulted in their economy becoming too weak to support grandiose adventures in Israel, Yemen, and even Ukraine. This fact should never be forgotten: it was Biden who removed Trump’s sanctions, thus pouring hundreds of billions into Iran’s coffers, enabling it to return to its project of annihilating Israel.

Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last Friday criticized Biden’s response, saying, “Well, he said don’t multiple times and don’t isn’t a national security policy. It’s not even a deterrent.”

And the proof was in the pudding: the Iranians heard Biden’s “don’t” and did anyway.

Israel’s UN Envoy Gilad Erdan on Saturday demanded an emergency Security Council meeting to condemn Iran. “The Iranian attack is a serious threat to global peace and security and I expect the Council to use every means to take concrete action against Iran,” Erdan tweeted.

On Sunday Morning, IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated that 99% of the 300 or so projectiles fired by Iran at Israel overnight were intercepted by air defenses. He said of the 170 drones Iran launched at Israel, not one entered Israeli airspace. They were all taken down outside Israel’s borders by the IDF and Israel’s allies. Out of the 30 cruise missiles launched, not a single one entered Israeli airspace either. 25 of them were downed by the Israeli Air Force.

Hagari said some of the 120 ballistic missiles Israel launched at Israel bypassed its defenses and hit the Nevatim Airbase in the south, causing negligible damage. Some of the drones and missiles were launched from Iraq and Yemen but did not enter Israeli airspace.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Iran’s military is one of the largest in the region, with at least 580,000 active-duty personnel, and 200,000 trained reservists, which includes the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – and this is without counting Iran’s well-equipped proxy militias in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

This does not mean that Iran cannot be defeated in war – it can be, most notably because it doesn’t have an air force to speak of. Much of its list of available warplanes dates back to the 1970s and 80s: 12 Mirage F-1s, 41 F-14s, 63 F-4 Phantoms, 35 F-5Es, and later acquisitions: 24 Mig 29s, 23 Sukhoi Su-24, and 17 Chengdu-7s.

Iran makes up for its aerial deficiencies with a large stock of drones and missiles, but those cannot defend against a massive bombing attack by Israel and its allies. The problem is that such an attack would drag the region into a long war that would devastate not only Iran but also its neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Stats. To remind you, the last time Iran was engaged in an all-out war, after being attacked by Iraq in September 1980, the conflict lasted eight years.


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