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The Iranian Assault

By Margot Englander, Editor-in-Chief

Following the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war, Israel’s global standing has become damaged as Israel has become the subject of growing international criticism. It is indisputable that Israel’s relationship with many countries has deteriorated. This is shown through the fact that almost every country in South America has cut diplomatic ties with Israel. On the other hand, most African countries (while condemning Israel) have not made any significant moves. The most interesting relationships to study, however, are Israel’s ties with its Arab neighbors, which became apparent following the Iranian assault on Israel in April. 

In the early morning of April 14, 2024, Iran attacked Israel directly (not through any of its many proxies, which include Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis) through an unprecedented wave of missiles and drones. Weapons were launched directly from Iran, as well as from Syria and Yemen, and the attack was accompanied by a barrage of rocket fire from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. So many entities are at play that it can be hard to keep track. This attack on Israel pulled in multiple nations, framing the conflict as the United States and the West against Iran, Russia, and China. The United States Central Command – which has worked with Israel since 2011 – has continuously worked to foster a relationship between the United States and Middle Eastern partners, both Israeli and Arab. The fruit of their labor became evident as Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait aided Israel by providing intelligence and intercepting Iranian missiles and drones. They have tried to downplay their aid and kept quiet about their role. 

Iranian-Israeli tensions have long simmered among the backdrop of the Middle East. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been vehemently anti-Israel and has cultivated a strong “axis of resistance” network in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestinian territories. Today, these groups – Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and others  – are more partners than proxies. In addition to the war in Gaza, Israel has been strategically targeting critical figures of the axis of resistance, and over 18 members of the IGRCC Qods force members have been killed since October 7th (not including the attack on Iran’s Damascus embassy compound). Iran telegraphed its intentions to strike Israel to the United States and several Arab and European capitals and claimed that their strike would be relatively limited. 99% of the attack vessels were thwarted, there was minor damage to Israeli infrastructure, and a seven-year-old in a Bedouin-Arab town was critically injured. 

So, was the Iranian attack successful? If Iran was attempting to damage Israel, they would not have given up the element of surprise and would have pulled in power from the capable Hezbollah group up in Israel’s north. However, they did not. Their attack was a successful intelligence-gathering mission about Israel’s defense capabilities and its network of allies. Iran forced Israel and the United States to pay 10x the amount to defend Israel that Iran paid to launch the attack. This does not mean that Iran’s strike was overwhelmingly a success either. It had its fair share of consequences – namely, the end to Israel’s isolation in the Middle East. Israel was losing global support as the Israel-Hamas war raged on. It seemed as if every day, more countries were turning their backs on Israel as the death count mounted. Iran’s attack changed the narrative as the West has rallied behind Israel. Jordan and Saudi Arabia shared intelligence, contributed military power, and downed Iranian drones that flew into their airspace. April 14th brought a powerful image of Israelis, Arabs, and Westerners uniting to take down their common enemy. 

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