Is Regional War at Stake as Israel Weighs Response to Iran? Roundtable from Tehran, Tel Aviv & D.C.

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The Middle East is bracing for the possibility of regional war after Iran responded to Israel’s bombing of the Iranian Consulate in Damascus with a major drone and missile attack Saturday. The attack caused little damage inside Israel, as it intercepted nearly all of the drones and missiles with help from the United States, Britain, France and Jordan. Iran’s government described the attack as a defensive maneuver after Israel’s unprovoked strike on its embassy killed some of Iran’s top military brass. This was “a performative operation to send a message,” says journalist Reza Sayah, who joins us from Tehran. But while Iran “does not want to escalate matters,” Israel may be preparing to do just that. Washington, D.C.-based analyst Trita Parsi says that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been trying to instigate conflict between the U.S. and Iran for “more than two decades,” and given that Biden has demonstrated an unwillingness to “draw any red lines for Israel publicly,” these latest provocations could become a prime “opportunity” for such a war. Crucially, Iranian restraint “cannot last forever,” warns our final roundtable guest, the Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, who touches on both Iran’s own sovereignty and increasing global pressure for Israel to end its war on Gaza. “Gaza is still starving and bleeding, and we shouldn’t forget it,” says Levy.

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