Iran launches missiles at Israel in retaliation for consulate strike in Damascus

Written By: - Date published: 4:18 am, April 15th, 2024 - 15 comments
Categories: gaza, International, Iran, israel, Palestine, Peace, United Nations, war - Tags: , ,

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s Blog.

In the last few hours, Iran has launched 300 missiles at Israel. Most of these were shot down by the Israeli missile defence system, and by Israel’s allies including the UK.

An antimissile system targets an Iranian aerial attack on Israel 14/04/2024

This attack was in retaliation for the Israeli bombing of the Iranian consulate annexe building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, killing 16 people. This was part of Israel’s broader campaign to target Hezbollah assets in Syria since 2011. This has escalated since October 7 2023 and the intensified conflict between Hamas and Israel.

In October I described the attacks by Hamas on 7 October as horrific and appalling. I went on to say:

Hardliners in both Israel and Palestine are in control, which makes the prospect of peace or a lasting resolution to the conflict in the region seem a distant prospect at this stage. Whether it is a two-state solution, a one-state solution with power sharing, or some other construct, there needs to be a way that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace. Until this happens, this conflict will destabilise not only the Middle East but the whole w

The horrific situation in Israel and Gaza

This conflict has indeed now escalated and the region is increasingly unstable. This is the first time that Iran has directly attacked Israeli territory. US President Joe Biden has told Israel that it will not participate in a counter-strike against Iran. However, Netanyahu and his hard-line coalition have ignored similar wise words of caution from the US in recent weeks. If Israel does respond, Iran has already signalled there will be further retaliation.

Since the 7 October attacks, Israel has argued that it has a right to defend itself. Israel does have this right, but it also has a responsibility to comply with international law and to the human rights of people living in Gaza. Israel also has a responsibility to stop the settler attacks in the West Bank, which have intensified since the 7 October 2023 attacks. It has a responsibility not to escalate violence by attacking Rafah, again something Biden has warned Israel against.

The South African Government has taken the Israeli Government to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), alleging that Israel is responsible for violations of the Genocide Convention in respect of its actions taken in Gaza. While it will likely be years before any decision is made by the ICJ, there is growing evidence that Israel has attacked hospitals and other civilian targets.

Historically the US Government has been Israel’s strongest ally, under both Democrat and Republican Presidents. Therefore it is no small thing that in a recent UN vote calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel-Gaza, the US abstained rather than using their power of veto. Many supporters of Palestine and those on the left have been critical of the Biden Administration over its response to the Gaza conflict. In reality, Biden has pushed back on the Netanyahu Government much harder than his predecessors. Unfortunately, the response of the Israeli Government to the horrific attacks by Hamas on 7 October has escalated the violence and has now drawn Iran into active conflict against Israel.

Israel should not have bombed the Iranian consulate buildings in Damascus. Iran should not have fired 300 missiles at Israel in response. Neither of these actions should have happened, but they now have. The world now watches to see if there is further retaliation and escalation of violence, or if calmer and wiser heads prevail.

The prospect of peace or a lasting resolution to the conflict in the region seems more distant than ever. But only by doing everything possible to achieve such an outcome will there be any chance of this conflict de-escalating and a lasting peace being achieved.

In an episode of The Rest is Politics recorded shortly after 7 October, Alastair and Rory interviewed historian Yuval Noah Harari who had family caught up in the Hamas attacks on Israel. During this interview, Yuval rightly said that for people living in places like London instead of taking a side in this conflict, we need to be seeking long-term solutions to this conflict. I do not claim to have these solutions. But as a first step, an immediate ceasefire and a return to peace talks is an essential first step. By contrast, any escalation in this conflict will do untold harm both in the region and globally.

15 comments on “Iran launches missiles at Israel in retaliation for consulate strike in Damascus ”

  1. Anne 1

    This attack was in retaliation for the Israeli bombing of the Iranian consulate annexe building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, killing 16 people. This was part of Israel’s broader campaign to target Hezbollah assets in Syria since 2011.

    As someone who is far from an expert on Middle East affairs, this is what puzzles me:

    While there is history of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, why attack an Iranian embassy annexe during a period of heightened activity in Gaza? The Israeli's knew there would be a response in kind.

    I have to assume it was a deliberate act to bring Iran into the conflict, thus increasing the chances of widening the hostilities into a possible full scale war in the Middle East.

    • Ad 1.1

      Israel made the calculation that taking out a key Iranian military leader was worth it.

      So far they've been proven right.

    • Subliminal 1.2

      Absolutely Anne. Netanyahu understands that what he is doing is too much even for the West to digest. He understands that he will not get to carry through with his genocide unless he can do it under cover of a wider regional war that brings in western military forces on his side. Although Iran probably realises these aims they cannot afford to let such blatant attacks on their trritory go unanswered. Given the desperation of Israel it seems unlikely that they will leave the Iran attack unanswered. Why otherwise would they have attacked the embassy in Damascus?

  2. Ad 2

    Israel have pulled Iran's strategy into the open rather than operating by proxies. Net positive.

    No one is counter-retaliating yet. Net neutral.

    US Senate gets a shove to vote on aid packages. Net positive.

  3. Stephen D 3

    An argument could be made that the real aggressor in the Middle East is Iran.

    Iran became an Islamic Republic in 1979. Subsequently Israel sees Iran as an existential threat to its very existence. This is made more explicit by Iran’s backing of its proxies, each of whose avowed intent is the destruction of Israel; Hezbollah in Syria, Hamas in Gaza and Houthis in Yemen.

    • David 3.1

      Iran certainly has been funding/supporting groups that oppose Israel as well as other Middle East nations that follow a different version of Islam, I guess this is similar to the Roman Catholic/Protestant split hundreds of years ago. Then add in the collapse of empires and the proxy wars of the Cold War and we have the mess that we have….

  4. mickysavage 4

    Thanks Nick.

    I really hope cooler heads prevail.

    There was also the Israeli attack on Beiruit in January that killed a senior Hamas official and civilians.

    Iran's attack was limited and broadcast and clearly designed to not provoke an all out war. If it wanted to really stretch Israel's aerial defences then Hezbollah reportedly has up to 150,000 missiles in its arsenal.

    Firing 300 including slow drones looks more like making a statement than an all out attack.

    • Subliminal 4.1

      It is unlikely that Israel will leave well enough alone. They are up to their necks in blood already. The only path back to any sort of normalcy has answering the ICJ case of genocide somewhere on it. Israel will not willingly submit to this.

      • Res Publica 4.1.1

        Steady on mate!

        Israel absolutely has a case to answer for its numerous and egregious war crimes against the Palestinian. The IDF's conduct and brazen disregard for the safety of civilians during the invasion of Gaza has been unacceptable as it is blatantly illegal.

        But I'd consider a couple of Quds force officers fair game given the Iranian regime's long history of sponsoring terrorist proxies such as Hamas and Hizballah, and long held objective of destroying the state of Israel.

        Oh, and while they're at it, weaking the influence of Saudi Arabia who are apparently the unacceptably wrong flavour of dour Muslim ultra-conservatism.

        It's entirely possible (and logical) to deplore Israel's conduct in Gaza, yet at the same time support it's right to exist and strike back against its enemies. Especially ones that are no respecters of international law and human rights themselves.

        Let's not forget the IRGC is not, on the whole, made up of happy peaceniks.

        • Subliminal 4.1.1.1

          Israel is a state "that are no respecters of international law and human rights"

          Doctors returning from a stint in the only Gazan hospital still partially functioning, the Gaza European Hospital, say:

          We walked through the wards and immediately found evidence of horrifying violence deliberately directed at civilians and even children. A three-year-old boy shot in the head, a 12-year-old girl shot through the chest, an ICU nurse shot through the abdomen, all by some of the best-trained marksmen in the world.

          That would be those brave IDF soldiers I suppose, engaged in self defence.

          As we got to work we were shocked by the violence inflicted on people. Incredibly powerful explosives ripped apart rock, floors, and walls and threw them through human bodies, penetrating skin with waves of dirt and debris. With the environment literally embedded in our patients’ bodies we have found infection control to be impossible.

          This is how Israel strikes back at its "enemies" using AI to identify male Palestinians as targets and tracking them to their homes at which point a bomb is delivered to the family. Which is the point at which the exploding building material travels through their bodies. Not because they were fighting from apartment buildings but because they were male and at home.

          No, sorry, logic dictates nothing of the sort. Logic just falls to dust in the horror of such blood lust.

          https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/surgeons-cruelty-israel-gaza

          https://www.972mag.com/lavender-ai-israeli-army-gaza/

  5. Stephen D 5

    Trying to unravel this lot would be almost impossible.

    It starts with the Old Testament, throw in the great Schism, add the Ottoman Empire, the meddling of the British Empire, the USA thinking they are an Empire, and Putin trying to create a mythical state.

    Good luck.

  6. Obtrectator 6

    I think if you take the religions out of it and substitute toxic masculinity, it all starts to make a lot more sense. The former, in all their manifestations, may have begun with benign intentions, but sooner or later they all get corrupted and turned to maintaining the power and prestige of the men at the top of whatever hierarchy has been created – and in the process oppressing and controlling women.

  7. Stephen D 7

    I don’t think you can take religion out of it.

    The combination of Judaism, and Christianity is toxic enough. Add in the Shia v Sunni schism, and whole Jew v Muslim issue, and it will take a Solomon to unravel it.

    • Binders full of women 7.1

      Agreed– as the late great Hitchens said— there will never be peace in the ME, EU failed, NATO failed, UN failed, Arab League failed, Blair failed, Clinton failed, .. there will never be peace because of three warring monotheististic mesianic death cults who will kill their neighbour and their neighbour's children.. all because of a scroll, a tablet, a cave.

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