Reality Sets in and Iran Walks Back Its Threat to Enter the Israel-Hamas War

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Iran has made a significant move to back away from the threat of war with Israel, which it made only Saturday. On Saturday, it was reported that Iran had threatened Israel that a ground invasion of Gaza would bring Iranian Intervention (NEW: Iran Says They’ll Get Involved if Israel Mounts a Ground Offensive in Gaza).

After working hand-in-hand with Hamas to plan the terrorist group’s attacks on Israel, Iran now claims it doesn’t want a further escalation in the week-long war between Israel and Hamas. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with UN envoy to the Middle East Tor Wennesland on Saturday in Beirut, Axios reported, with Amir-Abdollahian asking Wennesland to get a message to Israel warning them that if they mount a ground offensive in Gaza, Iran will have to get involved.

In this statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian parroted Vladimir Putin’s talking points about “red lines.”

Amir-Abdollahian also stressed that his country has “red lines” and told the UN envoy that if Israel’s attacks continue, and especially if a land attack on Gaza is launched, Iran “will have to respond.”

After meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in his palatial five-star digs (WATCH: Stunning Meeting Between Iranian FM and Hamas Leader Raises All Kinds of Questions) far from the front lines in Qatar, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian revised his extended comments by way of a statement by Iran’s United Nations mission to clarify that Hamas was on its own.

“Iran’s armed forces will not engage, provided that the Israeli apartheid does not dare to attack Iran, its interests, and nationals. The resistance front can defend itself,”

While I’m not sure anyone took Iran’s threat of military intervention seriously — I know I didn’t — seeing the public walk-back of a patently ridiculous threat is interesting. Iranian troops can only reach Israel overland unless they want to risk running the gauntlet of flying into Syria.

The odds of Israel standing passively by as they trundle across Iraq, Jordan, and Syria to reach the front approach √(−1). Iran doesn’t have an air force that can carry out strike operations over that distance. Its missile force is a one-shot affair that probably can’t overwhelm Israel’s missile defense capability. These options require at least two other countries to join the hostilities by allowing Iran to use their airspace. In short, (like someone else) the threat was bluster. 

One also can’t overlook the timing. Amirabdollahian issued his threat as he was meeting with Hamas’s leader. This served to bolster Iran’s role as a regional powerbroker. Shortly after the meeting, and quite possibly based on what he learned at that meeting, the Iranian foreign minister had his US delegation quietly issue a major modification of that threat.

I suspect Iran counted on giving the hyper-timid National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan a bad case of fecal incontinence by threatening to expand the war and having him lean on Israel to stop a ground attack. When that didn’t play out, Amirabdollahian was left with the option of walking back his threat or being revealed as an empty suit. He chose his credibility.

 

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