Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Is Iran's Strategic Patience at an End?

| Apr. 23, 2024

While this round of conflict appears to be over, more escalatory situations are likely to occur, and the likelihood of an extensive war between Iran and Israel has indeed risen.

The reported precise yet limited Israeli attack against an Iranian missile defense facility near Isfahan last week delivered a nuanced threat without pushing escalation forward. Based on operational superiority, it signaled a potential future destructive assault on Iranian strategic targets, should such a decision be made.

Iran's downplaying of the attack likely ends the most significant escalation observed between the two countries. The most noteworthy aspect of the recent escalation was an unprecedented large-scale Iranian military assault on Israeli territory. But, while many focus on the immediate context of the Israeli attack in Damascus, the bigger picture is commonly overlooked.

Yes, Iran meant to set a new equation by responding disproportionately to Israel's attack in Syria. However, it does not stand alone. This maneuver aligns with a broader pattern of daring and escalation with other adversaries, including Pakistan. This new approach, aimed at preventing regime destabilization, is based on increased confidence in risk management and a narrower, more conservative political system.

While this round of conflict appears to be over, more escalatory situations are likely to occur, and the likelihood of an extensive war between Iran and Israel has indeed risen. Now is the time to recalibrate the escalation course with more calculated conduct based on both sides' corrected understanding of perceptions, game rules, and red lines.

The immediate reason for the change in Iranian policy can be attributed to the recent Israeli operation in Damascus, which Iran perceived as a humiliating military attack on its sovereign territory, necessitating a significant response....

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For Academic Citation:

Zoran, Assaf."Is Iran's Strategic Patience at an End?" The National Interest, April 23, 2024.