Israeli Media Says Iran Postponed Attack 'At Last Minute' Due To Threat Of US Intervention

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Apr 12, 2024 - 09:22 AM

Update(1329ET): Israeli media sources have claimed that Iran is poised to launch a major attack on Israel, but that the strikes were postponed "at the last minute".

Israeli news website Ynet reported Thursday that "Tehran decided to either delay the strike or change the nature of its response to Israel's attack on its consulate in Damascus, likely due to warnings from the administration of United States President Joe Biden. According to more:

The outlet cited Iranian semi-official news agency Mehr as claiming the attack could happen "maybe tonight," but soon after deleting the video with the assertion.

The last 48 hours has seen Washington raise the possibility that it could intervene militarily in defense of Israel if Iran retaliates for the April 1st Israeli attack on its embassy in Damascus.

Meanwhile, some international airlines, most notably German airline Lufthansa, have paused their flights to Tehran, citing heightened fears of imminent military action in the region. Russia has also taken steps to warn its citizens against travel to the region, particularly Israel, as the region remains at boiling point.

Oil Price underscores that as the waiting game continues, an Iran Strike Threat Hangs Over Inflation-Focused Oil Markets. The industry publication observes, "Oil markets have not visibly responded to the threat hanging over the Middle East, with Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) trading down over 1% at 11:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday on inflation concerns that have led to speculation that the Federal Reserve may not implement a June rate cut."

Israel's military believes preparation for major attack currently underway...

Iranian officials have signaled they are taking a path of strategic patience but that a significant response is still coming.

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We previously reported that Iran now considers Israel's embassies and diplomatic sites abroad as essentially fair game in the wake of Israel's April 1st airstrikes on Iran's embassy in Damascus, which killed two high-ranking IRGC generals and at least five others.

An analyst from the Middle East Institute, Jason Brodsky, observed last week that "There are reports Iran's regime may be eyeing hitting an Israel diplomatic compound in a third country via drones & missiles. Israel maintains embassies in Bahrain; UAE; Jordan; Egypt; Azerbaijan; & Turkey. I would keep an eye on Jordan."

Russia's Foreign Ministry had underscored in reacting to the Israeli strike on the Iranian consular compound "the inviolability of which is guaranteed by the relevant Vienna Conventions, to be categorically unacceptable." Indeed it was unprecedented for a nation's military to intentionally attack another state's sovereign embassy. Iran is outraged at the UN Security Council's silence.

Image source: United Nations

Iran on Thursday is making noise over this at the UN Security Council in New York. Iran's permanent mission to the UN has blasted the council for failing to condemn Israel’s "reprehensible act of aggression" on Iran’s diplomatic premises in Syria. Al Jazeera reports the Iranian ambassador's fresh statement as follows

It said in a statement on X that if the perpetrators had been brought to justice, "the imperative for Iran to punish this rogue regime [Israel] might have been obviated."

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other top officials have promised retaliation for the attack on the consulate building that killed members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two generals.

So Iran is now saying that in light of UN inaction, which has not so much resulted in verbal censure of Israeli actions, it will be 'forced' to respond militarily. 

All of this could spark a major war in the Middle East, possibly including US military intervention on behalf of Israel as well well, with President Biden having just promised "ironclad support" in defense of Israel. "As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu, our commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad," Biden said Wednesday. "Let me say it again — ironclad. We’re going to do all we can to protect Israel’s security." He explained this is in response to Tehran "threatening to launch a significant attack on Israel."

Iran appears to be taking its time, waiting patiently while it plans a response. Israel has made very clear that any attack launched from Iranian soil will be met with a stronger response against the territory of the Islamic Republic. There are fresh reports saying Tehran has so far delayed its retaliation due to Washington threats that it will join Israel in hitting back against any strikes.

Below is commentary on what could happen next submitted by Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence official who went on to serve as deputy and then as senior Arab affairs adviser to Jerusalem Mayors Teddy Kollek and Ehud Olmert, operating as a negotiator during the first and second intifadas. 

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As the world braces for the Iranian response to the last week’s strike on Quds force commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, it’s likely Tehran is weighing the use of its proxies versus a direct strike. Iran’s proxy warfare strategy is a shield the regime uses to avoid direct retaliation.

This calculated and sophisticated tactic allows Tehran to continue its aggression through intermediaries without facing any consequences. The ongoing assaults orchestrated by Iranian proxies underscore the regime's influence — and ability — to shape the Middle Eastern geopolitical landscape but come at the cost of navigating local politics and civil strife. Iran’s largest proxy in the region is Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Since the start of Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza, Hezbollah has launched salvo after salvo of rockets against Israel’s evacuated northern communities. While rhetoric would point to Hezbollah escalating to the point of a full-fledged war on Israel’s northern border, it has yet to target Haifa or significant Israeli infrastructure, a move that would launch a massive war between Israel and Hezbollah, likely triggering a dissolution of Lebanon through a civil war, which Hezbollah would need to allocate resources to fighting in addition to its battles with Israel.

Most recently a senior coordinator for the Hezbollah-rival and Christian-affiliated Lebanese Forces, Pascal Suleiman, was kidnapped in Lebanon and his body was found in Syria. While the official statement is that the attack was prosecuted by “car thieves,” all signs seem to point to Hezbollah involvement.

Syria is the second Achilles heel that Tehran must consider. Any attack by a proxy force could be countered by an Israeli response that threatens or collapses Assad’s regime and with it the Iranian land corridor from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon and ultimately to the Mediterranean. Finally, Tehran must consider the potential response that would be triggered by a direct attack on Israel.

On X, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz threatened very clearly today that “If Iran attacks from its own territory, Israel will respond and attack in Iran.” Even with Katz’s statement, there is no guarantee that Israel will continue to dance to the tune of Iran and its proxy model, and any future attack launched by Iran or its proxies could ultimately trigger a direct response against the Iranian homeland.

While the world sits on edge waiting for the inevitable Iranian response, it's important to note that the regime has thus far acted strategically, that it will respond in order to send a message of strength and restore its deterrence capacity, but that it will do so at the time it calculates will best achieve its successful return of deterrence.”