The wave of international solidarity with Israel generated by the Hamas attack inside its territory in October was short-lived. The daily massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, most of them women and children – which continues despite global condemnation – makes the country increasingly isolated.

It is in this context that expanding the conflict with the involvement of the United States and Iran could be a way for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to regain international empathy and domestic support, according to analysts interviewed by the Brazil in fact. They point out that the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1st – which resulted in several deaths, including that of an important Iranian military commander – was an act designed to cause last Sunday’s reaction.

“The bombing of the consulate was clearly a provocation, Israel has wanted to expand the conflict for a long time for several reasons,” said Mohammed Nadir, coordinator of the Arab Studies Laboratory at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC). “This attack followed several other attacks against Iranian targets in Syria, precisely to bring Iran into confrontation.”

Nadir believes that provoking Iran into a direct military dispute is the desire of the Israeli government, which has chosen Tehran as its “number 1 enemy”. “Israel accuses Iran of having instigated Hamas to cause the October 7 attacks, resents the growing Iranian influence with armed groups such as the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon, but above all, with the possibility of Tehran getting the atomic bomb.”

Research by the institute Front Anderson Barreto Moreira agrees with the analysis, stating that the Israeli attack on Damascus had the objective of “involving the United States in a high-potential war and saving not only the government [de Netanyahu]but to bring the State of Israel out of the isolation in which it finds itself.”

Netanyahu has been facing numerous internal problems. Even before the Hamas attacks, he was in danger of being ousted from his leadership. Knesset – the Israeli Parliament – for the opposition for trying to change the constitution to enact laws that reduced the powers of legislators. Recently, the prime minister has been the target of protests calling for his departure for failing to free hostages taken by Hamas.

Reasons for failure

However, analysts interviewed by the Brazil in fact agree that the Israeli strategy did not work.

“Firstly, because the United States does not have the slightest conditions to open a front of this size, given the humiliation and failure in Ukraine and without a solution to get out of that quagmire, they are leaving it to the Europeans. The elections are at risk, foreign policy is a chaos”, says Moreira.

“The fact that, just yesterday, Biden stated that he will not embark on any Israeli response against Iran is already a change of stance. ‘Israel can consider today as a victory’ was Biden’s phrase.”

For Mohammed Nadir, “the US does not want at this moment, after the failure in Afghanistan and Iraq, to ​​get involved in another military adventure; an attack alone would not solve it, it would have to send soldiers on the ground and there is no climate for that.”

“The American strategy today is aimed at China, not the Middle East. Furthermore, Russia, Iran’s ally, would not allow a war in the Middle East”, he ponders. “Let’s imagine that the US was willing to embark on a war along the lines of what happened in Iraq – which they are not. For Moscow, the alliance with Tehran allows for a strategic presence in the Gulf, a geopolitical privilege. That is why Russia does not would allow a regime change in Iran that would weaken it as a country.”

Analyst Giorgio Romano, also from OPEB (UFABC), also highlights the “intelligence of the Iranian response” to the attack on the consulate in Damascus.

“Netanyahu threw a banana peel to Iran, which could not choose to do nothing in the face of its internal population and groups over which it has influence, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Tehran demonstrated firepower by hitting a military base in southern Israel with missile, indicating what could happen in a possible surprise attack – which was not the case”, he explains.

“The attack was announced well in advance so that Israel could prepare. The United States, recognizing the restraint in Iran’s response, made a point of immediately closing the issue around the G7 with a clear position so that Israel would not retaliate.”

“Of course we are dealing with Netanyahu’s irrationality, but a clear indication that there will be no escalation is that oil prices fell today, after a rise generated by the uncertainty of what could happen.” .

‘Netanyahu is the great loser’

Moreira says that “the Netanyahu government is the biggest loser so far. If it does not respond to retaliation, it runs the risk of being removed from power by hard-line sectors that have already warned that they will not accept a non-response. If it responds without the support of the United States, it will the risk of suffering an even greater attack, reaffirmed more than once by the Iranian government.”

“For a government that is seeing thousands in the streets, having Parliament invaded asking for its resignation, condemned worldwide for the ongoing genocide in Palestine, it seems that any response will have no effect.”

On the other hand, the Iranian response – although it caused little concrete damage to Israel – had the merit of being the first direct attack ever carried out by the country against Israeli territory, which reinforces Iran’s status as a regional power, according to analysts. .

“Iran emerges as the new power in the region. It demonstrated that it has the capacity for confrontation and showed the vulnerabilities of its biggest rival. Furthermore, it articulated a vast support network: Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq with open air spaces for the passage of drones and missiles”, says Moreira.

“Despite Israel appealing to the UN, its image and position are already so destroyed that there has been no global commotion. With the exception of the United States and its allies in Europe, the world has not come out in defense or condemned the attacks. It is the multipolar order being built on the rubble of the old one”, he concludes.

Editing: Lucas Estanislau


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