Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Tuesday June 18, 2024
Tuesday June 18, 2024

US and Israel brace for imminent Iranian retaliation following Damascus airstrike



Following the Israeli airstrike on Iran’s embassy in Damascus, the US and Israel prepare for potential Iranian attacks on their assets in the region

In a significant escalation of tensions, the United States and Israel are on high alert for a possible “significant” attack by Iran, potentially targeting their assets in the Middle East as early as next week. This development follows the Israeli airstrike on April 1, 2024, which targeted the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, resulting in the death of top Iranian commanders.

US senior officials, echoing sentiments from their Israeli counterparts, now consider an Iranian retaliatory attack as “inevitable.” The nations are actively positioning themselves in anticipation of the various forms that Iran’s response could take. The concern is that both US and Israeli assets and personnel in the region are at significant risk.

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President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have discussed the looming threat, emphasizing the gravity of the situation. The exact timing and method of Iran’s potential strike remain uncertain, but the Biden administration is particularly wary of a direct strike on Israel. Such an action would likely lead to a rapid escalation of conflict in the Middle East, expanding the current Israel-Hamas war into a broader regional confrontation — a scenario the US has sought to avoid.

Recent months had seen a relative lull in hostilities, with the exception of a drone attack near the al-Tanf garrison in Syria, attributed to Iranian proxies. This attack followed closely on the heels of the Israeli airstrike, signaling a potential resurgence of violence.

The targeting of the Iranian embassy, which Iran insists was a consular section, by Israel marks a severe escalation, as diplomatic facilities are generally considered sovereign territory. Iran has vowed to retaliate, particularly after the deaths of significant figures such as Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and others in the airstrike.

In the aftermath, the US has explicitly informed Iran of its non-involvement in the embassy attack and warned against targeting American assets. Meanwhile, Iran’s messaging has implicated the US, though Washington has rejected these accusations and reiterated its call for Iran not to escalate tensions further.

The situation underscores the complex and volatile dynamics in the Middle East, with the US and Israel preparing for a range of possible scenarios. As tensions mount, the international community watches closely, aware of the potential for this confrontation to evolve into a wider conflict.


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