The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Iran’s Likely Response To The Attack On Their Embassy

So, in violation of red letter international law and norms, the Israelis bombed the Iranian embassy in Damascus. This is a literal causus belli as a consulate is the land of the nation occupying it.

What will the consequences be?

Well, the best take I’ve seen is this, from Elijah J. Manjier (part behind a subscriber wall):

the 2020 assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani was a pivotal moment, marking a significant escalation in the conflict. Before his death, Yemen’s arsenal was relatively limited, lacking medium and long-range surface-to-surface precision missiles, advanced drone technology, accurate hypersonic missiles and long-range capabilities. However, under the leadership of Major General Ismail Qaani, Soleimani’s successor, the Al-Maqtumah axis has acquired a wide range of advanced long-range missile systems in significant quantities. These improvements have significantly enhanced Ansar Allah’s military capabilities in Yemen and imposed new limits on the freedom of action of the US and British navies, as well as Israel, within the constraints set by Hezbollah – a key player in initiating the conflict in support of Gaza.

The targeted assassination of Hezbollah Shura member Iranian Major General Abu Mahdi Zahedi raises questions about his replacement and the possible development of Hezbollah’s military capabilities under new leadership. The future of Hezbollah’s arsenal and strategic posture remains a subject of speculation, with the arrival of a new leader likely to increase the capabilities and intensity of the conflict.

In other words, give Hezbollah (and, I would suggest, Iraqi militias) more advanced weapons and let them use them. Syrian/Iraqi militias firing on Israeli bound ships would expand the Israeli blockade significantly, wouldn’t it?

The point, of course, is that assassinating Soleimani led directly to the current humiliation of the US by Yemen, and the blockade against Israeli ships in the Red seas.

Poking the lion, just like poking the bear, has consequences.

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  1. Bill H.

    My guess is that Iranian reaction will be, for all practical purposes, nothing. Israel badly wants a war between Iran and the US, but Iran is not that stupid. The US may be but has not fallen for it so far.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Iran will probably do nothing directly attributable. (Though a counter-assassination in a third country wouldn’t cause a war.)

    But I expect they will do something.

  3. Feral Finster

    If Iran does not respond in a matter that gives Israel an excuse to run screaming to its American thug, Israel will simply act more and more aggressively until it gets what it wants.

    The United States is entirely complicit in this, unless you truly believe that there is nobody in State who has the intelligence that God gave a six week old kitten.

  4. Soredemos

    @Feral Finster

    What’s most amazing about US foreign entanglements is the sheer, insane degree to which we don’t have to be doing any of them. The US is literally one of the least threatened nations in history. It chooses to cross ten thousand miles of ocean and stir up trouble with places that couldn’t give less of a shit about it and who essentially want to be left alone.

    ‘Trade with everyone but ally with no one’. Money talks, and whoever was regional hegemon in any particular region of the world would be perfectly happy to buy and sell with a truly neutral, non-confrontational US. Why does it actually matter to the US if a Sunni or Shia state dominates the Gulf oil trade? It’s actually no concern to us at all.

  5. Purple Library Guy

    Soredemos–Well, if what the US wanted was trade on fair, neutral terms that would be true. But that’s not what they want, they want a playing field tilted to pour all the money and goods into their laps, via both unfair trade as such and investment that sucks the profits out of the country being invested in. And they’ve been quite successful–if you look at money flows between the Third World and the developed world, it turns out the net is a massive exodus of money from places like Africa to places like the US (and Canada, mostly via mining companies for some reason).

    The thing is, all those other places cannot be expected to want that. Keeping it happening requires exercises of power–military power, financial power, media power, espionage and covert operations power, whatever they can come up with. So that’s why they do it. Not that ordinary Americans get any of that wealth, it’s for billionaires.

  6. Z

    Israel’s rabid attack Rottweiler (U.S.) to the country that has it on their leash (Israel):

    Don’t tell us what you are going to do because we don’t want to be recognized as being complicit in it, but know that whatever you do, we will provide you with all the money and weapons you need, thwart any U.N. actions against you, and, if need be, even provide direct military assistance to you. But please … please, please, please … at least play along with our pillow fights with you so that we can maintain some level of plausible deniability of our complicit-ness in it all. After all, it’s in your best interests too!


  7. Mark Level

    Poking the lion, just like poking the bear, has consequences.

    Odd that I never paid attention to what Persia’s symbolic spirit animal is, but a lion fits well, thanks for that detail, Ian.

    In the past, some commenter here griped that Alexander Mercouris of the Duran was giving Israel a pass on their bad behavior. That may have been partially true (as a former barrister, Mercouris is a Brit Establishment figure & is quite careful in what he says; the Duran may be the only, or one of the few “pro-Russia” sites never de-monetized by YouTube censors.)

    In any case, the gloves are off. You don’t have to believe me, just watch the first 15 minutes or so of this lengthy dispatch–

    I was a bit disappointed that he’s not (yet) educated himself as to the sinister role of World Central Kitchen’s founder & Antony Blinken bff, celebrity chef Jose Andres, in running cover for the Zionists by sending small amounts of aid in to assist in crushing UNRWA, the only institution with the history & contacts to somewhat counter the deliberate starvation of Palestinians. In any case, Mr. Andres got a bit of poetic justice with the deliberate murder of 7 of his workers (nearly all white! so the world will pay attention, even the US Mighty Wurlitzer) & may not be singing the same paeans to Israeli apartheid that he started sharing in early October last year. (In any case, Alexander does a masterful job of shutting down the US’s “Iran controls EVERYONE in the Mideast” canard.)

  8. Carborundum

    The shipments to Yemen ramped up before Soleimani was taken off the board. Heck, they may be a chunk of the reason he was hit – reporting is that they attempted a simultaneous strike on the operational commander in Yemen.

  9. someofparts

    Trifling little responses to various comments so far –

    I encountered references to the lion as the Persian (and Ottoman) spirit animal in the wonderful Ottoman history series I’ve binge-watched. Also, fwiw, it turns out that eagles (aka our spirit animal) don’t actually make the cool sounds we hear in media. Those cool high-pitched whistles come from hawks. Eagles actually have dorky voices, like ducks or something.

    By all means refer to the U.S. as vermin or maggots but please, don’t say mean things about Rottweilers. They are adorable sweetie doodles and one of my favorite breeds.

    And from our man Bob Dylan – ‘Money doesn’t talk. It swears.’

    Finally, it always summarizes and clarifies my sense of U.S. foreign policy to remember that the “rules-based order” is just a bloodthirsty form of Calvinball.

  10. NR

    Wow. I just can’t even imagine how someone could call the deliberate, targeted murder of seven people who were risking their lives to bring food to a starving population “poetic justice.”

    Do people here even listen to themselves?

  11. mago

    Poetic justice is pretty cold, but ML is correct in pointing out that celebrity chef Andres was grandstanding with a token gesture that played PR for both him and the genociders.
    It blew up in everyone’s face, while underscoring the point to other would be aid providers that you don’t wanna do it unless you’re willing to pay the price.

    Don’t know how, when or where Iran will respond, but respond they will.
    There’s a lot of payback and blow back the air.

  12. NR

    Look, whatever you may think about José Andrés or World Central Kitchen, the fact is that the seven people who were killed by the IDF were there at great risk to themselves providing aid to people who desperately need it. Their “token gesture” very probably saved lives.

    It’s pretty despicable for people living in safety and comfort to applaud the deaths of people who were putting their lives on the line to help others.

  13. GrimJim

    “Rules-Based Order” is shorthand for “We make the rules, and you follow them, or else. And no, we have no rules to limit US.”

    US and allied elites have always been classic psychopathic narcissistic mob-style monsters. They are, after all, descended from that mix of Ancient Nobility and Modern Industrialist that formed in Britain and made its way around the world.

    The Ancient Nobility had the power and pedigree, the Modern Industrialists had the money and fresh genes. The two mixed and paid lip service to Industrial Meritocracy while maintaining the ancient traditions of Divine Right and Blue Blood (the Modern Industrialist genes just tinted it slightly green).

    Same group, worldwide, same beliefs, same methods. Religions and political parties are merely the broader opiates of the masses to keep the proles in line. The apparatchiks of the middle class were simply the modern priesthood of the gods who resided stop the ziggurat.

    The current generation once again wants to be worshipped as god-kings, so they are immiserating the proles into classic abject poverty worldwide…

    Anyway, I digress. If “Rules-Based Order” sounds like a Mafia-style method, it should, because the Mafia’s style was taken straight from the style and methods of the classic Ancient Nobility of Italy. The Italian Upper Class hates the Mafia not because of its real crimes, which mostly trouble the paesanos; they hate them because they think they are more than just paesanos, and ape their “betters.”

  14. ventzu

    Israel – and the US / UK – is increasingly isolated. Last week there was the UN Special Rapporteur’s report ‘Anatomy of a Genocide”, and a new ICJ judgement imposing additional measures on Israel. And yesterday 600 lawyers, including 3 former Supreme Court justices and a number of senior judges and KCs issued an open letter to Sunak reminding him of his obligations with respect to the prevention of genocide.

    Where does Israel – and the US and Europe – go from here. They are going to face genocide and complicity charges, with the whole world watching. The ‘rules-based order’ is perceptibly crumbling. That of course, may just lead to more desperate actions by Israel and the US.

  15. samm

    someofparts: “l so, fwiw, it turns out that eagles (aka our spirit animal) don’t actually make the cool sounds we hear in media. Those cool high-pitched whistles come from hawks. Eagles actually have dorky voices, like ducks or something.”

    No, that is not true. Where I live I hear see and hear bald eagles just about weekly, and they have loud and piercing calls which there is no mistaking.

  16. Feral Finster

    All this is true concerning the “rules-based international order”. What does anyone propose to do about it?

    Otherwise, it is as pointless as trying to reason with a virus, as quoting Bible verses to an armed robber.

  17. Mark Level

    Thank you, Mago, for correctly noting my intent in response to NR’s (predictable, as the rare right winger on this site) strawman attack on my statement.

    Of course I lament the deaths of the 7 WKC employees who I have no reason not to believe were well-intentioned people taking a dangerous risk.

    My comment was directed to the nasty Zionist & Blinken crony who aided his pal & the exterminationist Israeli state to further starve Gazans & gain celebrity cachet for himself. These people are monsters– it’s sad that he played with his employees’ lives & is an accessory to their tragic deaths.

    As to your smarmy denunciation of my “living in safety & comfort,” I have shared in the past on this site that when I was age 23-24 (in 1983-4) I spent 5 months in Central America (& 1 in Mexico), 80% of the Central American time picking coffee on sites very near where Contra murders had occurred, & also was once pushed out of a bus by Guatemalan child-soldiers with my girlfriend as well for inspection. On numerous occasions I sat in a trench with an AK-47 at night, & went thru one false alarm while doing so.

    Now that I am approaching age 65, I can no longer engage in such activities, for reasons any remotely sane person would understand. I welcome your hatred however. (Please share what a paragon you have been in supporting the oppressed in your lifetime, if you are so inclined.) “The little dog barks & the caravan moves on,” as our Arabic speaking brethren note.

  18. Ian Welsh

    I probably made a mistake in letting the original NR comment thru and may have compounded it by letting Mark respond.

    No more of this fight will be allowed thru. My apologies for doing so in the first place.

  19. different clue

    @Ian Welsh,

    If the two comments had said the same thing but in a more politely stated way, would they have been let-through-worthy without any cause for regret? And if so, would an apology ( even though graciously received by all) perhaps be not actually have even been necessary?

    I ask this because the viewpoint and information in the two comments ( IF they would have been written more dispassionately and less insultingly perhaps) seems useful to know and think about. (Obviously any more ping-comment-pong following on from these two comments would be carrying on a fight AS a fight and would add no more information or viewpoint-consideration assistance.)

  20. different clue

    If the IranGov wants to get quietly even, the whole sphere of ” American Interests” offers a plethora of undefendable soft targets. These interests might not even be American Properties or Assets as such, but maybe third or even fourth party assets or interests damage to which would also damage the AmeriGov’s webwork of interests and assets indirectly.

    If the IranGov wanted to make a point while getting even, it might try working through cutouts for plausible deniability to fund an embassy bombing or something like what al Qaeda people carried out against two American embassies in Africa some years ago.
    Obviously the IranGov would want to be able to operate from behind a fog of Totally Undeniable Deniability for something like that, and if they thought there was the least bit of so much as an actual fingerprint findable, they would not do that.

    Still, the USGov would be wise to step up counter-bombing/ counter-etc. security and alertness around every embassy and consulate that it has everywhere in the world. That would soak up a lot of time and money and alertness and departmental brainwidth, of course.

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