More Than Just Theater

Simplicius explains why the theatrical and easily-defended drone strike was, contra the initial appearances and Clown World media reports, considerably more than just the usual Middle East Kabuki, and was actually a significant and serious message delivered to the US-based patrons of Israel more than to the Netanyahu administration or the IDF:

This strike was unprecedented for several important reasons. Firstly, it was of course the first Iranian strike on Israeli soil directly from Iranian soil itself, rather than utilizing proxies from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc. This alone was a big watershed step that has opened up all sorts of unprecedented milestones and potentials for escalatory spirals.

Secondly, it was one of the most advanced and longest range peer-to-peer style exchanges in history. Even in Russia, where I have noted we’ve seen the first ever truly modern near-peer conflict, with unprecedented scenes never before witnessed like when highly advanced NATO Storm Shadow missiles flew to Crimea while literally in the same moments, advanced Russian Kalibrs flew past them in the opposite direction—such an exchange has never been witnessed before, as we’ve become accustomed to seeing NATO pound on weaker, unarmed opponents over the last few decades. But no, last night Iran upped the ante even more. Because even in Russia, such exchanges at least happen directly over the Russian border onto its neighbor, where logistics and ISR is for obvious reasons much simpler.

But Iran did something unprecedented. They conducted the first ever modern, potentially hypersonic, assault on an enemy with SRBMs and MRBMs across a vast multi-domain space covering several countries and timezones, and potentially as much as 1200-2000km. This has never before been witnessed…

The point is that, just as we’re in the midst of the Houthis having proven the West’s total inability to sustain defense against mass persistent drone swarms, here too Iran may have just proven an absolutely lethal inability of Israel and the West to sustain against a potential long drawn-out Iranian strike campaign; i.e. one prosecuted over the course of days or weeks, with consistent daily mass-barrages. Such a campaign would likely critically deplete the West’s ability to shoot down even the lowest scale Shahed drone threat. Just look at Ukraine—it is going through the same lesson as we speak.

What does this mean?

One neglected consequence of this is that Iran now stands to field the ability to totally disrupt Israel’s economic way of life. If Iran were to engage in a committed campaign of mass strikes, it could totally paralyze the Israeli economy by making entire areas uninhabitable, causing mass migrations in the same way the Hamas attack led thousands of Israelis to flee.

Unlike Israel’s barbaric and savage genocide aimed primarily at civilians, last night’s Iranian attack exclusively targeted military sites. But if Iran wanted to, they could launch mass infrastructure attacks in the way Russia has now done to Ukraine’s energy grids, further compounding the economic damage. In short: Iran could mire Israel in months’ and years’ long economic malaise or outright devastation.

I suspect the degree of restraint shown by the Iranians, combined with their now-proven ability to hit well-protected Israeli targets with both their slower ballistic missiles and their hypersonics, was sufficient to convince the US military that any escalation on its part would be disastrous. It is one thing to flex rhetorically and chant “bomb-bomb-Iran” when no one on either side is actually doing anything, it’s another to start playing the attrition game when the other side has at least an order of magnitude advantage.

It’s estimated that the attack may have cost as little as one-fortieth the expense of the combined US-British-French-Israeli defense, and utilized less than one-tenth of one percent of Iran’s ballistic missiles.

I think it is far too soon to conclude, as Ha’aretz already has, that Israel has been defeated. After all, the Ukrainians have been fighting at the behest of Clown World for more than two years, and there is no reason to imagine that the Israelis are going to be let off the hook simply because the most probable outcomes look grim at the moment.

But at least we can be relieved that both the US military and the Iranian military are not simply playing along with the neocon-Netanyahu plan to escalate into the war for which the neocons have been publicly calling since the late 1990s.

The next few weeks should be informative. But regardless, it is clear that the second front in WWIII is now officially active.