Monday, May 27, 2024

Inside West Asia


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Fears of a full-scale war persists in West Asia – after Iran fired missiles and attempted bombing of Israel in coordinated hits on Saturday. This was in retaliation to an Israeli airstrike on a consular building in Damascus, Syria, killing two military generals and five more of the Revolutionary Guards on April 1. The Jewish state, with its superior war technology, thwarted the rush of these missiles inside its territory for most part, and no serious harm was caused. The situation is tailor-made for a major escalation as Israel sees sufficient grounds for ‘retaliation’, possibly targeting Teheran’s well-guarded nuclear installations.
Israel’s war cabinet, meeting on Tuesday for the third time since the Iranian counter-offensive, is unlikely to let things pass. The Israeli defence chief has affirmed that this raining of missiles “will be met with a response.” The question is when. Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi has warned that even the smallest action against Iranian interests “will certainly be met with a severe, widespread and painful response.” The retaliation, Iran said, ”would be in a matter of seconds.” The intervention of the US, a close ally of Israel, is expected, for good or for worse. The US lawmakers are currently in the process of granting more aid to Israel, which could include military and monetary assistance. On its part, the UN has certified that Israel violated international law by bombing the Iranian consular office in Damascus, which, anyway, is clear as sunlight.
It is likely, as is alleged by Jordan, that Israel’s abrupt strike on Iranian military guards was prompted by a crude intent to shift international focus from the six-months-old war in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are at the receiving end of Israel’s aerial bombings and bloodshed. Israel has also been attempting to block supply of humanitarian aid to the hapless people of Gaza, Muslims, torn by the long-held war. The offensive started on October 7 last, Israel on one side and Hezbollah and other militants on the other, with both sides exchanging fire across the UN-designated Blue Line that separates Lebanon and Israel. Nearly 34,000 Palestinians were killed and more than double that number wounded by Israeli offensive in the past six months. Nearly 50 Palestinians died a day ago as Israel continued its aerial bombardment. The West Asian crisis has defied a solution after Israel occupied land it seized from Syria in 1967. While the US keeps expressing its sympathy to the suffering Palestinians, its commitment for support is to Israel. Many see Israel as an outpost of the US, considering the way the two jell. Iranian rulers’ aggressive styles and their alleged promotion of international terrorism are also worsening the West Asia scenario.


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