Iran, Israel & Manufactured Conflict…

Iran attacks Israel, news headline

So much political and media attention was focused on Iran’s imminent ‘attack’ on Israel last weekend that it almost had the feeling of manufactured theater to it. 

News channels and sites were pretty much running a live countdown to the Iranian drones entering Israeli airspace: the coverage almost had the quality of a sports event.
For hours, various commentators were asked to predict the results: how many Iranian weapons would get through, what damage would be done, what would Israel’s response be, what role was the US and UK playing, were we witnessing the outbreak of international war, etc.
Numerous articles appeared meanwhile warning that we were on the brink of World War III.

The overwrought and excited nature of the coverage seemed, in the end, slightly out-of-synch with what actually transpired.
Similarly, the nature of the Iranian threat to Israel seemed somewhat misrepresented too: in some cases, the event was portrayed as simply an outrageous Iranian assault on Israel, which might trigger a broader conflict.
A lot of the more casual observers might’ve entirely missed the fact that Iran’s actions were a retaliation for Israel attacking an Iranian target inside Damascus.
And some news coverage barely mentioned that the Israeli strike in the Syrian capital was itself a violation of international law on two fronts: first being the attack on a foreign consulate, and second being the unprovoked attack on the sovereign territory of another nation, namely Syria.
Meanwhile the actual Iranian action against Israel, after all the excitable build-up, seemingly didn’t amount to anything. More or less everything was intercepted and the damage was extremely limited.
In actual fact, it was likely designed to be that way by the Iranian regime itself. Tehran needed to be seen to be reacting to the Israeli strike in Damascus: but, at the same time, they didn’t want to actually provoke a war, so they carried out a limited and tame retaliation, giving Israel plenty of time and advance warning.
It was mere tit for tat. Something not entirely dissimilar occurred a few months ago between Iran and Pakistan, when the Iranians struck a target inside Pakistan, claiming that Israeli spies were operating there: and Pakistan responded with a perfunctory retaliatory strike in Iran that did no real damage.
I mean, the incoming ‘threat’ was literally being tracked for hours and Tehran had entire telegraphed what it was going to do.
There was no real danger to either Israel or to world peace.
But you wouldn’t have thought that from the coverage: or from Britain and the US rushing to get involved directly in Israel’s defense – when Israeli defenses could’ve presumably handled the matter without outside assistance.
All of which seemed designed to overinflate the perception of the situation.

Further, beyond that exchange itself, coverage has continued to seem somewhat out-of-synch with the apparent reality.
Governments and media have continued to stoke the fears of a wider war, with Israel warning it will retaliate soon against Iran for Saturday’s drone attack.
This being despite the fact that (1) Tehran stated more or less immediately that the matter was closed now after their symbolic and meaningless attack, and (2) that the attack itself *was a retaliation* in the first place, meaning that Israel’s plans to ‘respond’ to the Iranian action don’t make sense in the context of what this was all about.
You can’t help but suspect that there’s some stage-managed theater going on here.
Witness the increasingly unhinged Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotoevely speaking on the LBC days ago (see above video) and raving about how Iran could attack the UK with the same drones it used on Israel.
Which is reminiscent of the Israeli embassy’s over-the-top scare videos about Hamas doing an October 7th in London on Christmas Day. Actually, it’s a bit reminiscent too of Saddam being able to strike London in 45 minutes.
Also, this YouTube ad below popped up in my feed suspiciously quickly on Saturday night: at a point where I don’t think the Iranian drones had even reached Israel yet.

The Israeli government-sponsored video rather oddly laments the Iranian attack threatening the Al-Aqsa mosque and other Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, trying to suggest an attack against all religions and cultures was taking place.
Which is a tad perverse, given what’s been going on at the Temple Mount for years now.
But is Iran being maneuvered into a war?
There’s now the potentially dangerous scenario of waiting on Israel to decide what it wants to do against Iran – with some indications that this weekend is the moment to watch for.
And for all the surface-level calls for restraint, one assumes Britain, the US and others will be standing by to assist the Israelis, whatever happens.
Just as we saw at the weekend.
Again, in the case of the US and UK, this included actual direct military engagement in coordination with Israel – without any domestic discussion about the ramifications of getting involved in the conflict.
This all seemed odd to me.
I’m no fan or defender of the Iranian regime, which harshly oppresses its own people and squanders the country’s resources on foreign proxy wars.
But trusting the Israeli and US/UK-led narrative or policy when it concerns the Middle East is like trusting a serial rapist to babysit a slumber party.
The trail of destruction and ruin from just the last twenty years is enormous.
And if there is a wider conflict about to unfold with Iran, it looks like it will be one that Iran is being maneuvered into in a way that best suits Israel.
The benefits of this whole exchange already have been apparent. Israel was coming under heavy criticism and scrutiny following recent incidents in Gaza, even from some of its closest allies.
Netanyahu was testing the patience of his allies and apologists, and things like the ICJ proceedings was turning Israel into a pariah state.
Suddenly, with this Iranian attack, everyone was right back to declaring unanimous support for Tel Aviv in general and this Netanyahu-led government in particular.
A conflict with Iran would also serve to draw international attention away from Gaza and the West Bank: possibly easing some of the pressure on Israel.
Would Israel want to drag other nations into a war and create a wider conflagration in the Middle East?
If it has the preordained support of Britain, the US and the West – which we’ve already seen includes military support – then it might not be too much of a gamble.
Not to mention, again, that it would provide a useful and timely distraction from what’s going on in Gaza.
It should also not be forgotten how involved Israel was, at the conception stage, in previous US-led actions in the Middle East, particularly the Iraq War and the Syria policies.
As I’ve noted here multiple times previously, Benjamin Netanyahu himself was in fact an inspiration for the entire US-led War on Terror and the author of the books that the post-9/11 programme was based on.
Not to mention Israel’s role in 9/11 itself, which set years of war into motion in the first place.
So yes, we have to assume that Israel – and particularly this current extremist government – would absolutely be willing to drag the West and various countries into a new war in the region.
And the principal Western players, as evidenced in the last few days, would seemingly be happy to go along with the programme.
It could be noted, of course, that a war with Iran has been manufactured or envisioned for many years now, the same way the Iraq War was.
So it’s possible this is playing out according to a vision.
The Iranian regime’s hatred for Israel is well established, as is its enmity towards the Zionist State. But a real war would not suit Iran’s interests: particularly knowing the extent to which the US, Britain and others have Israel’s back, not to mention that Iran lacks support from neighbouring counties.
So if a war is being manufactured, it isn’t being manufactured by the Iranian regime.
They would rather keep fighting via their proxies, like Hezbollah or the Houthis – and not put Iran itself in harm’s way.
Iran’s whole (arguably immoral)  strategy for years has been to fight or destabilise in other countries – Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon – and to keep conflict away from actual Iranian soil.
Not to mention the fear of the ‘Samson Option’ and Israel’s nuclear weapons. Small wonder why Netanyahu pushed Washington and the West for so long to make sure Iran couldn’t develop its own nuclear programme as a deterrent.
Whatever transpires in the next week, there is certainly a sense that a war against Iran is inevitable sooner or later: preordained even.
The Obama administration seemed to be trying to divert things from that course – and came under immense attack from Netanyahu and co for those diplomatic efforts. An attack that Netanyahu’s friend Donald Trump carried on  zealously, accusing the Obama administration of a betrayal. Even the broadly Israel friendly Joe Biden is currently coming under fire for having released Iranian funds back to Tehran.
If Netanyahu waits until Trump potentially takes the White House again later this year, his government will be in the more optimal position to move against Iran then. But whether Israel has the patience to wait for that is unclear.
Anyhow, what Israel does next will be interesting.

S. Awan

Independent journalist. Pariah. Believer in human rights, human dignity and liberty. Musician. Substandard Jedi. All-round failure. And future ghost.

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