FIRST PERSON - Alex Magno - The Philippine Star

Our trilateral security alliance with the US and Japan could not have been timelier. The world seems to be teetering on the brink of war.

Saturday night into Sunday morning, Iran fired over 300 drones and missiles into Israel. This is the first time ever that weapons were fired from Iranian soil into Israeli territory. Iran’s proxy, the Hezbollah, joined in the attack by firing its own rockets.

Israel’s amazing Iron Dome air defense system intercepted 99 percent of the projectiles thrown at it. From every measure, this was a crushing defeat for Iran. Last weekend’s air battle underscores the new maxim of modern warfare: technological advantage trumps numerical superiority. Iran’s awesome missile and drone arsenal was shown to be entirely impotent against cutting edge air defense.

Israel’s abundant air defense contrasts sharply with Ukraine’s depleted capacity to defend its own skies. While the US Republican Party hedges on supplying Ukraine with additional ammunition, Russia has been freely bombarding Ukraine’s cities with the objective of completely devastating the country’s energy infrastructure.

Also, the remarkable obliteration of the Iranian missile attack was the result of joint action by the air forces of the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Security alliances matter when push comes to shove.

It is not clear what Israel’s response will be. Netanyahu’s War Cabinet is still debating the options. Earlier on, Tel Aviv declared that any attack from Iran will be met with strong retaliation.

President Joe Biden advises Tel Aviv that the US will not join any attack on Iran. Ever cautious, Biden wants to prevent the conflict from widening. Recall that a couple of weeks ago, Washington sought to prevent Ukraine from bombing Russian oil refineries for fear of global supply shortages.

With the Middle East on the brink of exploding into a full-scale regional war and Ukraine continuing its punishing attack on Russian oil infrastructure, international banks are now forecasting that oil prices could soon hover around $100 per barrel. This is bad news for Biden’s reelection effort. It is bad news for all oil consumers worldwide.

Analysts have raised many questions about the Iranian missile attack on Israel. The attack was well telegraphed, enabling Israel and her allies enough time to take measures to thwart it. The missiles were aimed at Israeli military bases and not population centers.

It was as if the Iranians wanted a show of force that, at the same time, avoids an inevitable slide to war. The show of force was flustered. But the slide to war continues.

The clergymen who rule Iran are under pressure from hardliners to avenge Israel’s attack on the Damascus compound housing senior Revolutionary Guard officials advising Iranian proxy militias. Two Iranian generals and several senior officers were killed.

The attack resembles the US drone strike in Baghdad several years ago that killed the charismatic commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran retaliated by firing missiles into US bases – but immediately signaling they were done with their business. All they wanted was a show of retaliation without an irreversible escalation.

Tehran seems to be doing a repeat with their missile barrage on Israel: mounting a great show of retaliatory power before sliding back to the status quo ante.

But Tel Aviv will not likely play along with this. Their territory has been attacked. If the deed goes unpunished, it will be repeated.

Besides, Netanyahu’s ruling coalition is dominated by right-wing hardliners, some of whom are openly insisting that Israel must take this opportunity to cripple Iran’s nuclear capability.  That nuclear weapons build-up, after all, has the avowed objective of wiping Israel off the map. Netanyahu will need to appease them, too.

Left alone, Iran’s mullahs will continue extending their zone of influence in this volatile region by arming radical militias. Tehran supplied the Houthi rebels in Yemen with the missiles they now use to hamper commercial shipping through the Red Sea. Iranian arms have been supplied to the Hamas and the Hezbollah, both dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

The participation of Jordan and Saudi Arabia in quashing Iran’s missile assault on Israel is understandable. Both countries are wary of Shia Iran’s glowing sphere of influence in their region. Saudi Arabia has been at the receiving end of Houthi missile attacks. The radical Palestinian groups have been plotting to overthrow the monarchy in Jordan.

Snowed under by the news of Iran’s massive missile attack was the capture, just hours before, of an international container ship at the Strait of Hormuz. The ship was seized by commandos of the Revolutionary Guard – the hardline militia operating outside the command structure of Iran’s regular army.

With the Houthis menacing the narrow entrance to the Red Sea and Iranian militia choking Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, global shipping is threatened. By extension, the global economy is threatened. About 70 percent of global oil supplies pass through waterways Iran or her proxies could shut down.

For as long as the radical mullahs in Tehran are able, as they have been, to disrupt international trade, the world will not be safe.

When he was president, Donald Trump abrogated the deal that enabled the international community to monitor Iran’s nuclear facilities. As a consequence, Iran can now freely process uranium to weapons-grade. It is believed Iran has enough to manufacture three or more warheads.

The world cannot forever live under the shadow of a regime in Tehran that thrives on hate.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with