Shockwaves to Shattered Defenses: The Myth of Israeli Supremacy Crumbles

By attacking the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Netanyahu sought to escape the inevitable reality of a bitter military failure and to restore Israel’s illusion of power. As is often the case, he managed to do the exact opposite.

It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of the operation launched by Hamas and factions of the Palestinian Resistance on October 7, which forever annihilated the prestige of the Israeli army. Yet the strikes launched by Iran on April 13 and 14 are also truly historic.

For the first time, the backbone of the Axis of Resistance targeted Israel directly from its territory, launching the largest missile attack ever recorded against Israel and the largest drone attack in history. We have entered a whole new phase in the Arab-Israeli and Persian-Israeli conflict, and this is the final one as all the taboos have now been broken, and new equations have been established.

Israel’s deterrence capacity no longer exists. Since October 7, Hamas, Hezbollah, Ansar Allah and the Iraqi Resistance have shattered it. Still, these were Resistance movements, not a State with much more to lose. This direct action by Iran is all the more significant as Israel has been threatening to bomb Iran for decades without ever daring to do so, while Iran very quickly carried out its threats.

Iran launched its strike despite U.S. and Western threats, demonstrating unparalleled courage and a readiness to enter into a regional war and directly threatening the United States and its Arab vassals in the region with direct strikes in the event of interference. This audacity foiled the bluff of the Biden administration, which officially declared that it would not support an Israeli response from which it disassociated itself in advance.

Iran’s military prowess was clearly demonstrated. Despite the fact that this attack was known in advance and that the capabilities – both aviation and anti-missile defenses of no less than five military powers directly assisting Israel (the United States, Great Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan) were unable to stop Iran from striking Israeli territory. Israel’s defense systems were saturated, sirens sounded from north to south for hours, and yet at least twenty direct hits were recorded.

Iran demonstrated its moral superiority. It strictly applied Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which authorizes the use of force in self-defense, targeted only military targets (two air bases that were destroyed according to Iran and damaged according to Israel), and gave advance warning of its strike, which enabled the countries affected to close their airspace, thus protecting the civilian airliners that Israel had been endangering for days by massively jamming GPS signals throughout the region.

Finally, as Marwa Osman put it, the failure of Israel’s five layers of defense was compensated for by a sixth layer of media defense, with journalists repeating that Israel and its allies were able to intercept 99% of the projectiles. Given the impacts recorded, this would mean that Iran fired 1,000 to 2,000 drones and missiles, whereas all the Western data puts the figure below 500; the aim of this deceit was obviously to allow Israel to save face and enable it to claim victory as it supposedly was able to intercept 99% of the projectiles.

Sayed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said in 2007,

Those who make threats should have realized that military threats or attacks against Iran – in the sense of hit-and-run attacks – are no longer possible. Those who invade us will have to suffer from the devastating consequences of their actions.

While his statement has been mocked many times, particularly given the numerous Israeli attacks on Iranian bases in Syria that have cost the lives of many members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with relative impunity, no one today doubts the seriousness of this assertion. When its territory is hit, as was the case with the blatant Israeli strike against its consulate in Damascus, the aggressor is hit directly. And from now on, as Hossein Salami, the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC, stated following Iran’s attack, any open attack against Iranian interests will be met with the same retribution,

We have established a new equation with the Zionist entity, responding directly from Iranian territory to any aggression on its part against Iranian interests, property, personalities and citizens in any part of the world. We have opened a new chapter in the confrontation with the enemy.

This is a truly tectonic shift in the equations of power and deterrence. Those who play down the importance of the attack ignore its long-term political and strategic significance, which is in line with Iran’s vision, shared by the entire Axis of Resistance, of the form, scale and timing of the struggle against Israel. As Fadi Quran, the Campaign Director of Avaaz, pointed out following the attack,

The scale of Iran’s attack, the diversity of locations it targeted, and weapons it used forced Israel to uncover the majority of anti-missile technologies the U.S. and it have across the region. The Iranians did not use any weapons Israel didn’t know it had; it just used a lot of them. But the Iranians likely now have almost a full map of what Israel’s missile defense system looks like, as well as where in Jordan and the Gulf the U.S. has installations. It also knows how long it takes to prepare them, how Israeli society responds…etc.

This is a huge strategic cost to Israel, while Arab regimes are now being blasted by their peoples, particularly the Jordanian monarchy, for not doing anything to protect Gazans but then going all out to protect Israel. Crucially, Iran can now reverse engineer all the intel gathered from this attack to make a much more deadly one credible. While the U.S. and Israel will have to re-design away from their current model which has been compromised. Its success in stopping this choreographed attack is thus still very costly.”

While Israel proved barely capable of defending itself, at an exorbitant cost of over a billion dollars no less, against an attack that was limited in scope, lacked the element of surprise and cost Iran a measly 35 million dollars, there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that in the event of a regional war, Israel’s defense capabilities would quickly be saturated, leaving its territory devastated and its population decimated. The Israeli population is now clearly aware of this, and the depopulation process that has already cost it hundreds of thousands of nationals since October 7 is only set to increase.

For their part, the Palestinian people, abandoned by the world and Arab regimes in particular, were able to enjoy a brief respite. Gaza experienced its first hours of calm since October 7 during this unforgettable night. Palestinians were able to let their joy burst forth when they saw the epic images of the Iranian missiles flying over the Knesset and the Al-Aqsa mosque before striking the hearts of those responsible for their mass slaughter.

Not unlike the psychological shock of October 7, that of the night of April 13 will forever be engraved in people’s consciences. It will galvanize the Resistance while speeding up the process of “reverse migration” of Israeli settlers who have lived through a night of terror and nightmare and are now convinced that their army is incapable of protecting them.

With the senseless act of attacking the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Netanyahu sought to escape the inevitable reality of the bitter military failure of the army of occupation, despite six months of genocide and destruction, and to restore Israel’s illusion of power. The result is the opposite of what he likely expected, with Israel weaker and more isolated than ever.

Israel now has only one choice: to end the war in Gaza or go forward with a suicidal escalation that will set the region ablaze. The United States has clearly announced its desire to calm tensions and reach a ceasefire. The question now is whether Netanyahu’s instinct for self-preservation (his political survival) will take over the general interest. This scenario would put the very existence of Israel at risk.

Editor’s Note: The author of this article has chosen to publish under a pseudonym. This decision stems from residing in a European country where expressing criticism of Israel has become increasingly challenging. Sadly, governmental crackdowns on activism have compelled the author and others to take this precaution to safeguard their ability to contribute to public discourse. We believe it is crucial to respect their decision while valuing the insights and perspectives they offer in their writing.

Feature photo | A woman walks past a banner showing missiles being launched, in northern Tehran, Iran, April 19, 2024. Vahid Salemi | AP

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.