Washington sold out Israel’s deterrence to save Iran’s

The Americans played Israel, and are continuing to do so by preventing an Israeli reaction to Iran’s unprecedented attack.

By Yigal Carmon | | Topics: Iran, Biden
US President Joe Biden meets with member of the national security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran on April 13, 2024, in the White House Situation Room. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
US President Joe Biden meets with member of the national security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran on April 13, 2024, in the White House Situation Room. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.

To understand what happened in the Middle East overnight Saturday, one has to go back four years to the killing by the United States of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

Iran needed to retaliate symbolically to save face, and asked to do so. The United States allowed Tehran to attack its Ayn al-Asad airbase in Iraq. Fifteen missiles were fired at the base, causing minor damage and shedding not one drop of blood, a feat for which Iran may deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.

Lt. Col. Staci Coleman, the commander of the 443rd Air Expeditionary Squadron, and members of her squadron testified that they had been briefed about an impending Iranian ballistic missile attack almost six hours before it happened. Captain Wesley Florez, the executive officer of the 1st Expeditionary Rescue Group, said that he had received information about the attack early the previous afternoon.

Former president Donald Trump told Fox News in February 2024: “Do you know, we hit them [Iran] very hard for something that they did, and they had to hit back, they feel they have to do that and I understand that. Do you know, they called me to tell me ‘We’re going to hit a certain location but we’re not gonna hit it, it’s gonna be outside of the perimeter’…They let us know. And we had 16 missiles that went off…And we knew they weren’t going to hit. And now I reveal it…So they aimed those missiles and they said, ‘Please don’t attack us, we’re not going to hit you.’ That was respect, we had respect.”

Iran’s then-foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the Iranian regime had informed Iraq of its plans to launch missiles at the US base. This move guaranteed Iraq would then inform the United States, so that precautions would be taken to prevent the loss of life.

Now, let’s come back to Iran’s missile and drone strike on Israel on April 14. Iran wanted to restore its deterrence after the killing in Damascus of Iranian General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who by Iran’s own testimony was the mastermind of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack. The United States then did to Israel what it had done to itself: It coordinated with the Iranians so that civilians would not be struck. Arab media are already reporting this coordination. Iran made it easy for the United States, Israel, Britain and Jordan to know what it would and would not do, and where it would do it.

Israel was not part of this coordination.

Iran then launched 300 cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, with the only injury being to a 7-year-old Bedouin Israeli girl, whose house was hit by shrapnel from an Israeli interceptor.

When Hamas shoots, there are injuries. When Hezbollah shoots, there are injuries. When Iran shoots, there are none.

Just as was the case with Ayn al-Asad four years ago, the Iranian strike caused minor damage, in this case to Israel’s Nevatim Air Force Base in the northern Negev, but no one was injured there, either.

Can this be explained by claiming, out of sheer hubris, that the Iranians are weak and stupid? Only naïve people can believe this.

In the days before the attack, America, according to media reports, had exchanges with Iran. Early warnings had been coming from America for a whole week, including in reports by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. All of Israel was put in hysteria over the upcoming Iranian attack, which anyway benefited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pushing from the news his responsibility for October 7.

America coordinated the attack with Iran so that no one would be physically injured or killed. This was achieved thanks to the highly skilled American, Israeli, British and Jordanian air defenses.

The Americans played Israel, and are continuing to do so by preventing an Israeli reaction. In fact, they began the pressure on Israel not to react even before the attack took place. US CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael Kurilla went to Israel on April 13 and pressed for prior coordination with the United States of any action by Israel.

Now, President Joe Biden has said it himself: You weren’t hurt, they failed. Don’t do anything. Don’t escalate because you will be dragging us into a war. We protected you and no one was hurt, the answer will be diplomatic.

Indeed, almost no one was hurt—but Israel’s deterrence was struck down by Washington’s coordination with Iran. Israel’s deterrence was sold out to save Iran’s.

When the ballistic missiles that can reach Tel Aviv from Iran in 12 minutes were delayed, I told friends that it was probably in order to stop for refreshments along the way and that the Americans were going to tell us not to react.

Al Jazeera, the Qatari channel aligned with Iran, reported that drones spotted over Aqaba in southern Jordan were continuing on their way to Eilat. Anyone who knows the area knows that drones anywhere in Aqaba could reach Eilat in two minutes, and yet there were no drone bombings in Eilat.

This coordination with Iran that guaranteed no casualties, no injuries, was carried out over Israel’s head.

Israel’s air force, like those of the United States, United Kingdom and Jordan, did a great job. They had full information about the incoming missiles. Israel got the information from the Americans, who got the information about the what, where and when of the air strikes from the Iranians, enabling an unfathomable 99% interception rate.

But Israel’s deterrence was lost, and restoring it will be a painful process because, as the Iranians are threatening, their next attack will not be pre-coordinated. The worst thing Israel could do would be to believe that the results of this weekend’s attack is the best Iran can achieve. They can do far more.

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