Will Israel succeed in dragging the U.S. into a war with Iran



After the air strike by Israeli bombers on April 2 on the Iranian Consulate General in the Syrian capital, which resulted in the death of two generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and ten other people, a series of reasonably alarmist forecasts appeared.

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi was among the casualties. He was the highest-ranking officer in the IRGC, killed after the physical elimination in 2020 of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Al-Quds Special Forces.

«It has begun», — many analysts summarized. The prelude to a major war in the Near and Middle East is unfolding before our eyes, which is fraught with the direct involvement of such an extra-regional actor as the United States, Israel’s consistent sponsor and guardian.

When, two days later, militants from the Islamic Resistance in Iraq attacked the Ramat David IDF airbase in northern Israel with drones, the dark predictions had an even more solid foundation. The UAV raid was linked to similar Islamist attacks in March on Ben-Gurion Airport, the airfield near Kiryat Shmona, and a power plant in Tel Aviv. But it is a strike on a purely military facility that could signal the war’s transition into a hot phase.

It is noteworthy how Washington reacted to the liquidation of Iranian high-ranking military officers in Damascus, that is, on the territory of a third country. As Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters,

«Given the high tensions in the region, we want to … make it very clear that the U.S. was not involved in the strike on Damascus».

The Israeli strike represents an escalation of the still relatively cold war between Israel and Iran. In fact, Tel Aviv has «crossed a new (red) line» in this tacit war — this is how Ali Vaez, director of the Iranian Studies Section at the International Crisis Group, commented on the situation. In his view, striking the building of the Iranian diplomatic mission in Damascus «is virtually tantamount to striking Iran’s sovereign territory».

As a result, the degree of confrontation between the two sworn enemies has increased by several degrees. But at the same time, according to Ali Vaez, the Persians «place the responsibility for Israel’s actions on the United States, because America arms and finances the Israeli military».

On April 2, at midnight (!), the Swiss ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) on an emergency basis. The Alpine republic is a formal mediator between Washington and Tehran because the countries have not had formal diplomatic relations since April 1980. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in a post on social network X that the ambassador had been instructed to send an unequivocal message across the ocean: «The US will have to answer» for Israel’s act of aggression.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei published a post in this regard in social network X (which has turned into a free media platform uncensored by Democrats by the grace of Elon Musk). Moreover, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei made his statement not in Farsi, but in Hebrew, apparently for the sake of clarity:

«God willing, we will make the Zionists repent for the crime of attacking the Iranian consulate in Damascus».

At the same time, Vera Bergengruen, a Time magazine columnist, citing the opinion of U.S. analysts, points out that

«Iran does not want the conflict to escalate into a direct confrontation. The Iranians believe Israel is eager to expand the war because it would help the Netanyahu government politically and potentially draw the U.S. into a confrontation with Iran».

Bergengruen’s headline conclusion is symptomatic: «U.S. Scrambles to Contain Fallout from Israel’s Strikes».

This does not cancel the situation of force majeure, when the logic of a confrontation leaves no chance to avoid the transition to a forceful option. Such an effect could have the misinterpretation of what President Joe Biden meant when he declared last October 19: the United States intends to remain an «indispensable nation» at all latitudes and meridians.

On January 31, legendary New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, gave detailed advice on how to adjust the U.S. administration’s Middle East policy. The author proposes a «convergence of strategic thinking and planning», calls it the «Biden Doctrine», and builds it on three pillars, or rather, three tracks.

The first: hard-pressing Iran, allowing military strikes against its allies in the region («proxies and agents»).

Second: a US diplomatic initiative to create a Palestinian state — «right now».

Third track: enhanced U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia, which involves normalizing relations between the oil kingdom and Israel.

The flexibility of Friedman’s «strategic thinking» manifested itself in his return to the original decision of the November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly to create two states, Arab and Jewish, on the territory of formerly mandated Palestine. The realization of this inevitability came to the author after he, summing up all the facts, summarized:

«Israel is losing now on three fronts…It is losing its ability to ensure its security without being overextended in the long run; it is invading Gaza without any plan for how to find a legitimate Palestinian partner unaffiliated with Hamas… And it loses on the regional stability front: Israel is now the target of an Iranian offensive from four directions — from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Shiite militias in Iraq».

Friedman’s rationalization needs to be placed in the context of a debate in Washington between proponents of the Napoleonic tactic of «On s’engage et puis… on voit» and pragmatists who suggest considering the pros and cons when it comes to the notion that the East, including the Middle East, is a «delicate matter».

In the first category is Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA official and Farsi specialist at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. His position:

«They (Iranians) are willing to encourage and direct their proxies to kill us; we say we won’t kill Iranians in response. This is why the Iranian theocracy’s strategy of war by strangers is so successful: proxies attack us, and we never attack Iran directly. It’s a losing game».

An opposing view is held, for example, by Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, who argues that Washington hawks constantly exaggerate Iran’s ability to control the various militant groups with which it cooperates.

In this case, Ambassador Crocker is willing to believe that Nasser Kanaani, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, is telling the truth when he states that Tehran is «not involved in the decision-making of resistance groups», apparently meaning by that term both the Islamic Resistance in Iraq and the Houthis.

Analyst Stephen Wertheim, author of Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy, believes that America is experiencing an «overstretch» effect by actively interfering in the processes taking place in the Middle East, Europe and the Indo-Pacific region. In Wertheim’s opinion, the United States

«lacks a clear strategy, while its military-industrial base is ill-prepared, its strategic capabilities are limited, and its domestic politics are polarized and often paralyzed».

In the context of the currently poorly resolved U.S.-China standoff, which threatens a military clash in the medium term, for which the Western financial oligarchy is secretly preparing, as well as the involvement of the U.S. military-industrial complex in a proxy war with Russia in the Ukrainian theater, given the upcoming November 5 presidential election, the Obama-Clinton-Biden clan can hardly afford to be dragged into a war between Israel and Iran.

If that happens, then imperial overstretch, as Paul Kennedy warned in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, could cause the funeral bells to start mourning American hegemony much sooner than expected.