Saturday, April 20, 2024

Israel’s Attack on Iran: World War III Preview | TOME


Israel Attack on Iran Is What World War III Looks Like

Israel’s attack on Iran late Thursday night was met with a dangerously premature sigh of relief from both the news media and U.S. government, that somehow full-scale “war” was avoided.

Outlets like the New York Times were quick to characterize the attack as “subdued” and “limited” in scope, pointing to Iranian statements that the attack was launched from within Iranian borders and used small drones rather than fighter jets. Then it was further revealed that the Israeli attack included a stealth cruise missile launched from long range so as to not upset Israel’s new Arab partners.

But this, in fact, is what actual war looks like these days: Sometimes it’s a volley of 300 missiles and drones, and sometimes it is lean, targeted, and carried out covertly. Gone are the days of vast conquering armies and conventional military confrontations between two parties. So long as experts, the government, and the media worry only about a kind of war that is obsolete, it cannot see the war right in front of our faces.

The misconception has even infected the U.S. government.

“The downplaying of direct attacks on its soil may indicate the Islamic Republic lacks the desire, or capability, to match its bluster with professed military might,” a State Department communiqué produced after the attack and obtained by The Intercept says. “Over weeks of unprecedented military exchanges between Iran and Israel … Iranian officials appear keen to avoid further escalation.”

On Thursday, prior to the attack, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian vowed that if Israel strikes back, “the next response from us will be immediate and at a maximum level.” Now, Tehran has to adjust to the reality that a massive Israeli counterattack didn’t come and might never.

As the media and the world awaits full-scale war between Iran and Israel and even frets about nuclear escalation, a huge reality of modern warfare is being overlooked: We are already fighting World War III. No, it is not empires marching armies through countries, conquering continents. And no, it isn’t millions of young men (and now women) pressed in uniform on scales of nearly 100 years ago. And no, in most societies where war is a constant, the public doesn’t even have to feel the pain of war, except in that the military dominates everything and robs everything else of resources: programs to fight poverty, food, housing, health care, transportation, climate change.

World War III instead is all around, a planet that is aflame with armed conflict and awash in arms sales, an overlapping Venn diagram of killing that engulfs the globe, and a constant bonanza for national security “experts” and the military–industrial complex.

Let’s take a tour of the battlefield.

In the Middle East, the U.S., Turkey, Iraq, and even Iran all have footholds in Syria as their internal civil war continues unabated. And all of it goes unremarked most of the time as people look elsewhere for World War II-like battles. Iranian; Iranian-funded or backed or inspired; or independent militias in Syria and Iraq target U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq, and now Jordan. The United States bombs, but so does Israel, and Turkey, and other silent partners of Washington in the war against Iran, and Syria, and ISIS, and Hezbollah. The fight against ISIS, Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. says, involves 80-plus “partners” fighting not just in Syria and Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and Libya. A coalition of 80-plus countries — but the U.S. is loath to name them all, especially the allied “special” operators who are clandestinely working on the ground.

What we do know is that 10 countries have been involved in airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, including the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Korea. Like so many other conflicts, it’s not altogether clear who bombed who or from where, nor other members of the supporting cast. The U.S. bombs from aircraft carriers and from the Gulf states, and from Kuwait and Jordan, and possibly even from Saudi Arabia and Oman. But World War III is about keeping things secret, so who knows.

In the Red Sea, these same countries — plus France, Italy, Norway, Seychelles, Spain, Greece, Finland, Australia, and Sri Lanka — have joined to fend off Houthi attacks at sea. Even more countries are allegedly participating in the coalition in secret, given the sensitivities surrounding support for Israel during its war with Hamas. But then there’s also the war against pirates, and the war against nuclear proliferation, and the war against arms smuggling, and the Middle East war even against drugs, all carried out by a vast international maritime fleet involving dozens of countries.

While Israel’s war in Gaza, and its back and forth with Iran, is atop the Billboard charts for now, in Ukraine, a trench war and a standoff has now dragged on for more than two years. Here as well, all eyes have been on some kind of decisive victory or defeat, but World War III is more characterized by Ukraine or its proxies regularly attacking targets inside Mother Russia, attacks that Moscow downplays. Russians fighting on the Ukrainian side are now making regular incursions into Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions. Meanwhile, the real World War III is NATO already at war with Russia, increasing its activities adjacent to the enemy, expanding its ranks, building up its military, and supplying arms to Ukraine. The United States, meanwhile, is deployed from Norway to Bulgaria, and has in the past two years built up a major new base in Poland. Meanwhile…

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