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Iran airstrikes on Israel more successful as an intelligence gathering mission

Iran airstrike Israel Syria

The massive attempted bombardment of Israel on Saturday night by Iran – which launched more than 300 missiles and explosive-bearing drones at its enemy – is regarded as an escalation in the tensions in the Middle East.

However, does the word “another” not need to go before “escalation” for an honest assessment of the events?

This strike by the Iranians was initiated, they say, as retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Syria at the beginning of the month in which 13 people – including one of Tehran’s senior military commanders – were killed.

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Given that the airstrike on Syria was an egregious violation of international law, was it not Israel which escalated matters in the first place?

The Iranian retaliation was clearly unsuccessful because, according to the Israelis, more than 90% of the incoming objects were destroyed before they could do any damage.

What was interesting, though, was that this achievement was the result of cooperation between the Israelis and Nato forces, including units from the United States, Britain and France.

In addition, air defences in Jordan helped out, destroying a number of the missiles and drones in their airspace.

The Israeli victory may be pyrrhic, though, because the Iranians would have been able to plot where the air defence came from, when it was activated and the position of Nato units.

READ MORE: Government is ‘not a proxy for Iran’

In other words, the attack was more successful as an intelligence gathering operation.

Iran has also managed to provoke the US and its allies into issuing the strongest declarations about their commitment to defending Israel … which will be a diplomatic victory for both Tehran and the Palestinians in Gaza, because it will cause ructions, to a greater or lesser extent, in those countries.

Geopolitics is a tricky, but subtle game. It’s a pity that human lives are its pawns.