Counterattack?

 

I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power. It was a ridiculous display of impotence. >300 missiles, ballistic missiles and drones – each celebrated with wall art as a demonstration of Iran’s ability burn Israeli cities and crush the Israeli military and they hit a single base and hurt a single child.

This is showing that they *can’t* issue a direct attack. Their allies just got left out to dry.

For this reason, a counterattack would serve no strategic purpose. Israel already won the messaging war.

With one exception….

Bombing the entrances to the Basij armories in major cities would require only a few missiles in only a few places. However, it would open up significant arsenals to the civilian population who could then take things into their own hands. 

That would be a game changer.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    JosephCox: I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power.

    That would seem to assume the Iranian people know what really happened.  But, do they?

    • #1
  2. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    kedavis (View Comment):

    JosephCox: I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power.

    That would seem to assume the Iranian people know what really happened. But, do they?

    Iranian TV is showing footage from the Texas wildfires as evidence of their success!

    But they aren’t who really matters. Hezbollah now knows that their sponsors aren’t going to save them. They probably approached this with the same attitude they approached 10/7 – if it looks promising, we’ll step in. But they didn’t.

    Saudi, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan, Egypt – all saw a display of force based on the much vaunted Iranian missile and drone problem that was actually a display of impotence. Their fear of current Iran – non-nuclear Iran – just precipitously dropped.

    • #2
  3. Clarendon Coolidge
    Clarendon
    @Mackinder

    Jordan participated in the shooting down of incoming Iranian missiles aimed at Israel. That is the game-changer.

    • #3
  4. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    Clarendon (View Comment):

    Jordan participated in the shooting down of incoming Iranian missiles aimed at Israel. That is the game-changer.

    Without Israel, the existence of Jordan as a country would be over.

    I believe the same goes for the entire existing order in Egypt.

    Neither can accept Iranian success.

    • #4
  5. Clarendon Coolidge
    Clarendon
    @Mackinder

    Couldn’t agree more. It’s just that things that people have known for years are playing out in the real world now.

    • #5
  6. The Notorious E.K.G. Moderator
    The Notorious E.K.G.
    @EKentGolding

    The USA and Israel should use this opportunity to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program.  Eliminate all of it- nominally civilian and military.   Take out the technology,  and take out the scientists & engineers.  Everything.   

    Take out the Iranian factories producing Russian arms also.    Shut down Russia’s Iranian supply chain.

    • #6
  7. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    A genius analysis. Thank you.

    I was astonished that Hezbollah did not attack simultaneously. But if they are not merely an appendage of Iran, your analysis makes sense. 

    I also support arming the Iranian people, so they can take matters into their own hands. 

    • #7
  8. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Not counterattacking would serve to further insult Iran’s leadership.

    One is reminded of Osama Bin Laden and the Strong Horse.

    Israel has just made it very, very clear that Israel is the Strong Horse. This, more than anything else, will move Arab hearts and minds. Arabs deeply respect strength. 

    Peculiarly enough, this might even help the Palestinians accept that they cannot win. The sooner they admit defeat, the better it is for everyone involved.

     

    • #8
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I think the US should destroy every military site in Iran. Should have done that in 2005.

    Iran is an enemy of America and Israel. it is at war with us and our ally.

    And we do nothing.

     

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Sprinkle the Iranian countryside with a few FP-45 delivery crates.

    Empty ones.

    Give the IRGC something to think about.

    • #10
  11. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    JosephCox: I do not support a counterattack on Iran.

    I do . . .

    • #11
  12. MWD B612 "Dawg" Inactive
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I think the US should destroy every military site in Iran. Should have done that in 2005.

    You mean 1979.

    • #12
  13. Quintus Sertorius Coolidge
    Quintus Sertorius
    @BillGollier

    Excellent analysis and post!!!! You have summed up the situation perfectly. Iran has been for decades the man behind the curtain…all smoke and mirrors but nothing of any substance. Oh pundits will spin this and Iran will spin this but every one of Iran’s proxies this morning knows in reality that Iran can do nothing of real magnitude; all they can do is cruise around the edges. Iran has huge egg on its face this morning. 

    • #13
  14. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    JosephCox: They lost major face in terms of their display of military power.

    Yes and no.   Iran has taken action and can claim they have retaliated for the embassy bombing and thus “saved face”.  Yet at the same time the fully telegraphed and mostly ineffective attack will not result in escalation.  This is like challenging someone to a duel and then aiming over the head.  At the same time, the ineffectiveness shows that this type of attack is not a serious option for Iran. 

    • #14
  15. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    How sure are we Iran doesn’t have nukes and would be looking for an excuse (the world would possibly give it) to use them after a retaliatory strike? I have so little faith in our corrupt, LGBTQXYZ-inclusive (read ‘anti-meritocracy’) intelligence community and military that I don’t believe practically anything we’re told.

    I do believe the mullahs are genocidal/suicidal maniacs, however. 

    I’m just glad I don’t have to make any decisions for Israel. And I pray Israel’s leadership is praying about it.

    • #15
  16. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    JosephCox: I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power.

    I hadn’t thought of it that way.  I suppose you’re right.  There will be negative consequences for the Ayatollahs in terms of world standing etc.

    But if I were Israel, I would be doing my best to encourage Iran to not do that again.  Make this a teaching moment.  Make sure they know that every time they strike at Israel – successfully or not – that Israel will hit back.  Hard.

    I see your point.  But I think that if Israel elects not to attack Iran, I think they’re making a mistake.  Destroy a few military bases.  Bomb some weapons storage facilities.  Whatever – but do SOMETHING. 

    You can’t let Iran do things like this without massive and immediate consequences.

    • #16
  17. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    What was the effect of yesterday’s attack and responses on:

    –Iran’s stockpile of drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles?  And what is their timing of resupply operations?

    –Israel’s stockpile of defensive weapons?..and resupply timing?

    –US stockpile of defensive weapons?…and resupply timing?

    • #17
  18. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What was the effect of yesterday’s attack and responses on:

    –Iran’s stockpile of drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles? And what is their timing of resupply operations?

    –Israel’s stockpile of defensive weapons?..and resupply timing?

    –US stockpile of defensive weapons?…and resupply timing?

    There is no question that Israel’s defense costs are 10-100x the cost to Iran of the attack. For that reason alone, Israel must reduce Iran’s ability or willingness to do this on an ongoing basis.

    • #18
  19. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    I see your point.  But I think that if Israel elects not to attack Iran, I think they’re making a mistake.  Destroy a few military bases.  Bomb some weapons storage facilities.  Whatever – but do SOMETHING. 

    Basij bases are the perfect target. They are armories in cities that hate them. Cracking them open – and they aren’t design with missile defense in mind, just crowd defense – could result in regime change. 

    • #19
  20. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What was the effect of yesterday’s attack and responses on:

    –Iran’s stockpile of drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles? And what is their timing of resupply operations?

    –Israel’s stockpile of defensive weapons?..and resupply timing?

    –US stockpile of defensive weapons?…and resupply timing?

    No idea. Drones are cheap. Then again, the Russians seem to need them.

    • #20
  21. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    JosephCox:

    I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power. It was a ridiculous display of impotence. >300 missiles, ballistic missiles and drones – each celebrated with wall art as a demonstration of Iran’s ability burn Israeli cities and crush the Israeli military and they hit a single base and hurt a single child.

    This is showing that they *can’t* issue a direct attack. Their allies just got left out to dry.

    It is a success in ways that could not have been believed. As others pointed out, Iran used the absolute tiniest fraction of one small portion of their arsenal. Only fools and dishonest people would assert that Iran’s massive potential threat has not been now conveyed.

    They did not use any of their larger ballistic missile arsenal as far as we’ve been told. Particularly the types that would carry their likely current inventory of nuclear weapons. Also, Hezbollah is armed with much of the same that Iran used. This would have a travel time measured in minutes to tens of minutes.

    Something that is not being discussed much is real the implication of Hezbollah and Hamas not joining in. The effect here is noticeable. But secondary. They were not afraid. Instead, Iran is reminding Israel that Hezbollah and Hamas are disciplined and under Iran’s complete control. It is reminding Israel how weak support is for Israel in the West. It emphasizes that the West favors Iran by perpetrating and perpetuating the fiction of Hezbollah and Hamas somehow being independent of Iran and thus being victims of Israel.

    • #21
  22. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    JosephCox (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    I see your point. But I think that if Israel elects not to attack Iran, I think they’re making a mistake. Destroy a few military bases. Bomb some weapons storage facilities. Whatever – but do SOMETHING.

    Basij bases are the perfect target. They are armories in cities that hate them. Cracking them open – and they aren’t design with missile defense in mind, just crowd defense – could result in regime change.

    I’d prefer to see this done with plausible deniability on Israel’s part.  Like commandos or dissident partners and the smallest necessary explosives to get the job done.

    And whatever they do, I’d like to see them wait a few days.  I need my plane to land there Thursday morning!

    • #22
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    JosephCox (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    I see your point. But I think that if Israel elects not to attack Iran, I think they’re making a mistake. Destroy a few military bases. Bomb some weapons storage facilities. Whatever – but do SOMETHING.

    Basij bases are the perfect target. They are armories in cities that hate them. Cracking them open – and they aren’t design with missile defense in mind, just crowd defense – could result in regime change.

    Think of it as an ad hoc referendum on the status quo.

    • #23
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I think the US should destroy every military site in Iran. Should have done that in 2005.

    You mean 1979.

    Then too

    • #24
  25. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):
    Yet at the same time the fully telegraphed and mostly ineffective attack will not result in escalation.  This is like challenging someone to a duel and then aiming over the head.  At the same time, the ineffectiveness shows that this type of attack is not a serious option for Iran. 

    I don’t think they predicted that ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones would simply be a face-saving ineffective attack. It was, in fact, a face-losing attack.

    • #25
  26. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    JosephCox (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):
    Yet at the same time the fully telegraphed and mostly ineffective attack will not result in escalation. This is like challenging someone to a duel and then aiming over the head. At the same time, the ineffectiveness shows that this type of attack is not a serious option for Iran.

    I don’t think they predicted that ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones would simply be a face-saving ineffective attack. It was, in fact, a face-losing attack.

    One more thing… the response to Soleimani was 15 missiles – that was pro-forma. He was much much more important than whatshisname who was killed two weeks ago. 

    • #26
  27. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    iWe (View Comment):

    A genius analysis. Thank you.

    I was astonished that Hezbollah did not attack simultaneously. But if they are not merely an appendage of Iran, your analysis makes sense.

    I also support arming the Iranian people, so they can take matters into their own hands.

    They would have if Iran wanted it.

    I’m inclined to the view this was a strategically stupid decision made for some strategically stupid reason. In one respect similar to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Because their reasoning is opaque it leaves you asking questions about their motives and the leaders’ understanding of their military capabilities.

     

    • #27
  28. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    JosephCox: I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power.

    I hadn’t thought of it that way. I suppose you’re right. There will be negative consequences for the Ayatollahs in terms of world standing etc.

    But if I were Israel, I would be doing my best to encourage Iran to not do that again. Make this a teaching moment. Make sure they know that every time they strike at Israel – successfully or not – that Israel will hit back. Hard.

    I see your point. But I think that if Israel elects not to attack Iran, I think they’re making a mistake. Destroy a few military bases. Bomb some weapons storage facilities. Whatever – but do SOMETHING.

    You can’t let Iran do things like this without massive and immediate consequences.

    The last thing the Israelis need right now is a wider conflict. Punishing Iran can take many forms and should be delivered at a time and place of Israel’s choosing.

    • #28
  29. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    They would have if Iran wanted it.

    I’m just not sure. I think Nasrallah did what he did with Hamas. If the attack was a success, he’d pile on. If not, it would have been suicidal. He is Iran’s dog, but he is also in a country without resources which would face mass starvation in a war with Israel. And it isn’t even over Lebanese territory he can say he is defending (which is the party line). The Sunni and Christians may well have turned on him if he’d dragged them into a full-scale conflict. 

    • #29
  30. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    David Foster (View Comment):

    What was the effect of yesterday’s attack and responses on:

    –Iran’s stockpile of drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles? And what is their timing of resupply operations?

    –Israel’s stockpile of defensive weapons?..and resupply timing?

    –US stockpile of defensive weapons?…and resupply timing?

    All good questions. And we don’t know the answers. I wonder if our intelligence agencies know. 

    • #30
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