But the same cannot be said about the Israelis.
In June, Tehran unveiled its so-called “hypersonic” missile which allegedly can hit Israel in 400 seconds. Of course, it was merely propaganda. If Iran indeed possessed such a weapon, Israel would have been wiped out today. Its sponsored terrorist arm – Hamas – would not need to slaughter 1,400 Jewish people on Oct 7, which triggered the Israel-Hamas war and led to more deaths of Palestinians.
Likewise, after the Hamas’ terrorism that gave Israel an excuse to launch thousands of airstrikes to annihilate the terror group, the Iranian regime issued dozens of empty warnings to the Jews. It warned Israel of escalation if it does not end its aggression. It warned of “multiple fronts” retaliation against Israel. It warned Israel to stop its offensive against Gaza before it is “too late”.
It warned of possible “pre-emptive” attacks as Israel readies Gaza ground offensive. It also warned Israel to stop the bombardment of Gaza or else the entire region would go to war with the Jews. Heck, not only Iran has been warning Israel for three weeks, but it has also warned the military superpower United States that it will not be spared if Washington keeps supporting Israel.
However, the more Iran warns Israel of deadly consequences, the more Gaza Strip is being transformed to rubble. Israel calls the Iranian bluff. Despite warnings of regional escalation if the Israeli military enters Gaza for a ground invasion, neither the US nor Israel believes that the Iranian Mullahs have the balls to enter the war directly. Instead, President Joe Biden has warned Iran to “be careful”.
To make sure Tehran got the memo, the White House moved two American aircraft carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean – USS Ford and USS Eisenhower. The display of military power was to deter Iran from joining the Israel-Hamas conflict. However, Hezbollah militant group has joined the conflict – exchanging fire with Israeli forces at a smaller scale than anticipated.
Not only the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is reducing Gaza to rubble in its war to dismantle Hamas, as well as engaging Hezbollah across the Israel-Lebanon border, the badass has also sent fighter jets to strike Syrian military targets and airports. In fact, Israeli fighter jets have already knocked out Syria’s Aleppo International Airport not once, not twice, but four times in just two weeks.
Every time Syria reopens the Aleppo airport after repairing it, the IDF will come back to bomb it again. Israel had struck Syrian military targets after rockets were fired from Syria toward Israeli communities in the Golan Heights. But why did it attack a commercial airport? Answer – to prevent the shipment of advanced weapons from Iran to its Middle East proxies, especially Hezbollah.
So, Israel appears to have no problem fighting its enemies on multiple fronts. Since Lebanon-based Hezbollah was established in 1982, it has been opposing Israel and Western influence in the region. Along with Russia and Iran, the terror group supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during its civil war. A Shia Muslim organization, Hezbollah is also Iran’s proxy.
Syria, meanwhile, has opposed Israel since its formation in 1948. While the Syrian government has condemned Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestinians, in reality, Syria still could not forget how it was defeated in the Six-Day War of 1967 that led to Israel occupying Syria’s Golan Heights – which it still controls today. However, Syria did not directly attack Israel.
Interestingly, Hezbollah has had to recognize Syrian groups’ presence in Lebanon after the Lebanese Civil War ended in 1990. In exchange, President Assad too has had to accept Iran and Hezbollah’s militants in Syria. All of them have a common enemy – Israel. Therefore, it was Hezbollah in Syria – not the Assad government – that fired rockets at Israel.
In a complex and intricate relationship, Hamas started the war when it tried to “invade” Israel, forcing Hezbollah to also join the party as the Lebanese militant group is not only more powerful but has to defend its credibility as a defender of the Palestinians. Even though Hezbollah is Lebanon’s most powerful political and military force, the Lebanese government isn’t interested in a war due to its ailing economy.
Lebanon was also concerned that Hezbollah could trigger the intervention of the US if the terror group opened a second front. Hence, to drag Syria into the war, Hezbollah has been firing missiles at Israel from Syria. As comical as it may sound, both Israel and Hezbollah might have an understanding to keep their fighting limited at the borders, and not escalate it into a full-blown war.
Hezbollah could cause serious damage to Israel due to its stockpile of about 150,000 rockets. However, Lebanon will be bombarded with Tomahawk cruise missiles from American warships if Israel is attacked. That’s why Saudi Arabia told its citizens to immediately leave Lebanon. The US and British embassies in Beirut too had advised their citizens to leave Lebanon while flights “remain available”.
The US and Israel were preparing for the possibility that Hezbollah could start a large-scale attack. However, after three days of Israeli ground incursions into Gaza and as the Palestinian death toll climbs over 8,000, the terror group might have second thoughts. Israel deliberately shows its ruthlessness to deter Syria, Hezbollah, as well as the Lebanese government.
The fact that Israel and Lebanon signed agreements in November last year to develop a gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon’s coast means cash-strapped Lebanon was shifting its priority to economics rather than war with Israel. Hezbollah could easily destroy the Israel-Lebanon deal by attacking Israel’s offshore rig but dares not do so.
Iran depends heavily on Hamas and Hezbollah to do its dirty job in fighting Israel. Yet, Hamas terrorists are now hiding in tunnels in Gaza, while the IDF continues to strike Hezbollah’s terror cell in southern Lebanon. It didn’t help that the U.S. forces in the region are moving more assets to assist in the defence of Israel, including a THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) missile battery and additional Patriot air defence battalions.
The burning question is whether the Iranian Mullahs have the balls to declare war on Israel. Despite its hostile rhetoric, Tehran isn’t stupid to engage the Israeli forces directly. It has sponsored Hamas, Hezbollah and even Yemen’s Houthi rebels to launch missiles at Israel. Heck, its proxy in Iraq has even launched drone attacks on American military bases in the country.
But Iran won’t go to war with Israel because it would mean the end of luxury life for the Mullahs and their families. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi understood how the Biden Administration allows Iran to earn US$40 billion in oil sales, in addition to another US$10 billion in the sale of electricity to Iraq, not to mention the recent release of US$6 billion in frozen cash.
Yes, thanks to President Biden, the Mullahs increased oil exports by about 1.5 million barrels a day, translating to US$40 billion in revenue to the Iranian government. By not enforcing oil sanctions on the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, cash flows freely to Tehran. Between April and August alone, Iran’s oil production jumped from 2.6 million to 3 million barrels a day.
Even if Iran has a death wish and wants to fight Israel, its military power is inferior. Israel, surrounded by hostile Muslim countries, has a defence budget of over US$24 billion. Crucially, the IDF has access to America’s high-tech equipment and intelligence. The Israeli Air Force has an estimated 648 aircraft of all types, including F-15, F-16, F-35 and more than 40 Apache attack helicopters.
It also has a staggering 2,200 tanks, including its best “Mark IV” Merkava variant – equipped with the “Trophy” active protection system. The country received US$263 billion of US foreign aid between 1946 and 2023, of which US$124 billion was in the form of military and defence aid. More importantly, Israel has unlimited ammunition, thanks to US weapon stores there, which Washington has started to backfill.
The biggest reason Iran has no appetite to start a war directly with Israel is because its enemy has nuclear weapons – estimated in the range between 80 and 400 warheads. That’s more than enough to wipe Iran off the world map. Like Russia, Israel will not think twice about nuking the Iranian Ayatollahs or Hezbollah for that matter, if its very existence were threatened.
And you can bet that Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Muslims worldwide would not shed tears over the destruction of Iran-led Shia Muslims. This is why Iran was busy instigating the Muslim world to fight Israel, while Tehran watched with popcorn. Engaging Israel in an open war is the red line Iran’s regime dares not and will not cross as it is tantamount to threatening its own very existence.
Of course, Tehran still remembers how Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general and the commander of the Quds Force, was killed by a US drone strike on January 3, 2020, near the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. The assassination was a message to Iran that other leaders could be targeted too. Worse, Tehran did not retaliate despite Israel’s multiple attacks on Iranian military targets in the past.
Still, the Mullahs are not safe. The US could order military strikes on Iran for funding, training, supporting and sharing intelligence with Hamas over years of planning to attack the American interest in the region. To make sure Israel did not misunderstand Iranian’s empty rhetoric, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Iran does not want war to “spread out” following the Hamas terrorism.
Ayatollahs also realized that unlike Israel which gets full support from the US, there’s little chance that Russia – currently busy with the Ukraine War – will come to Iran’s defence. Besides, Russia has good relations with Israel. China’s priority, meanwhile, is to make money. It won’t be involved in any Israel-Iran war. The most the Chinese would do is to urge for ceasefire and negotiations. Hence, Iran will be on its own.
Regardless of whether Israel or the US will strike Iran or not, Tehran is more than happy to let Tel-Aviv unleash maximum destruction against Gaza. Iran believes Muslims around the world, blinded by support for Palestinians, will be so angry with the Jewish people for the relentless attacks on the Gaza Strip that everyone has forgotten that Hamas terrorists were responsible for starting the war. – Finance Twitter