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Iran in crisis of options over Israeli attack: keep silent? Retaliate? Or rely on proxy non-state allies?

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President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi

Iran finds itself in a difficult position following the recent attack on its consulate in Damascus by Israel. The Iranian leadership is faced with the dilemma of how to respond to this provocation while considering the potential consequences and risks involved.

There are three main options that Iran could consider: to keep silent, retaliate directly, or rely on its proxy non-state group allies.

Iran has historically projected its power through a network of ideologically aligned allies and non-state groups, known as the “Axis of Resistance.”

These groups include the Houthis of Yemen, Hamas of Palestine, Hezbollah of Lebanon, and Shia militia factions such as Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq.

Ikechukwu Emeka Onyia

The author, Ikechukwu Emeka Onyia

What are the implications direct confrontation with Israel for Iran?

While these groups have been effective in exerting influence in the region, a direct confrontation with Israel or the US could have severe economic implications for Iran.

Retaliating directly against Israel would be a risky move for Iran, as it could lead to a full-scale war that would have devastating consequences for its economy. Iran has shown reluctance to engage in direct conflict with Israel or the US in the past, opting instead for low-key proxy actions.

However, not responding to the attack on its consulate could be seen as a sign of weakness, potentially damaging Iran’s credibility as a regional power.

Are proxy non-state groups the answer?

Relying on its proxy non-state group allies is another option for Iran. These groups have a history of carrying out attacks on behalf of Iran and could be used to retaliate against Israel.

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However, the effectiveness of such attacks has been limited, and they have not had a significant impact on the ongoing conflict in Gaza or regional dynamics. Moreover, relying solely on proxy actions may not be enough to satisfy Iran’s desire for vengeance and could lead to a normalizing of attacks on Iranian officials and assets.

For Israel to have attack Iranian consulate in Damascus, it mean that they were intentional about it and want Iran to come out direct and stop hiding under non state-actors in the region to fight Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Will dance to Israel beats or continue with their own set up?

In conclusion, Iran finds itself in a crisis of options following the attack on its consulate in Damascus. Each option – keeping silent, retaliating directly, or relying on proxy allies – comes with its own set of risks and challenges.

Iran must carefully consider the potential consequences and decide on the best course of action that aligns with its strategic goals and national security interests.

About Iran

Iran, officially known as Persia, is a country located in Western Asia.

It shares borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

The capital and largest city of Iran is Tehran.

It has a population of almost 90 million people in an area of 1.648 million square kilometers (approximately 0.64 million square miles).

Iran ranks 17th in the world in both geographic size and population.

Versus Israel

The long-running and undeclared shadow war between Iran and Israel has escalated in recent times.

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Israel does not believe Iran’s repeated assertions that its nuclear program is purely peaceful.

Instead, Israel is convinced that Iran is secretly working toward developing a nuclear warhead and the means to deliver it using ballistic missiles.

Israel has carried out a series of covert actions to slow down or cripple Iran’s nuclear program.

These actions include the Stuxnet computer virus that incapacitated Iran’s centrifuges and the high-profile assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a key figure in Iran’s nuclear program.

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed to lift sanctions in exchange for stringent nuclear inspections, but tensions persist.

A mysterious explosion at Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Natanz knocked out power.

Is Israel responsible?

While Israel has not publicly claimed responsibility, reports suggest it was carried out by Israel’s overseas intelligence agency, Mossad.

Iran has vowed to take revenge, raising concerns about further escalation.

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, warned Israel that the Middle East could spiral out of control if it does not stop strikes on Gaza.

The US is also seen as being “to blame” for providing military support to Israel.

The situation remains highly sensitive, with both nations engaged in covert actions while carefully avoiding an all-out conflict.

The author, Ikechukwu Emeka Onyia, is a public affairs analyst.

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