Israel Came Out Ahead in Its Standoff With Iran

Israel Came Out Ahead in Its Standoff With Iran
Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, April 13, 2024 (AP photo by Tomer Neuberg).

Last Friday, Israel launched an attack on Iranian territory that capped a dramatic confrontation that many observers had worried could escalate into a regional conflagration. Now that tensions between the two sides appear to have cooled somewhat and the risk of all-out war seems to have been averted for the moment, it’s possible to look back and weigh the impact of the events of the past few weeks, when the two foes engaged in extraordinarily dangerous direct attacks on each other’s soil.

The high-stakes brinksmanship between the two sides kicked off on April 1, when Israel bombed an annex to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus. The airstrike killed several high-ranking officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, including the general in charge of coordinating Hezbollah’s ongoing attacks against Israel.

It also confronted Iran with a tough choice: respond and risk escalation into a war it has made clear it does not want or do nothing and risk losing face with hardliners at home.

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