Alex Fishman
Alex Fishman
Photo: Ynet
Smoke billows from a Japanese-owned oil tanker after an attack attributed to Iran off the cost of Oman

Will Israel face Iran alone?

Analysis: Jerusalem cannot ignore deadly attack on oil tanker connected to Israeli company but with Western world increasingly reluctant to engage as they seek to return to nuclear deal, Israel could find itself without allies as it faces regional foe that is more belligerent than ever

Alex Fishman |
Published: 08.01.21, 23:47
Jerusalem cannot afford to ignore Iran's provocative attack on the Israeli-operated oil tanker off the coast of Oman on Friday.
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  • A lack of response by Israel would only ramp up Iranian aggression against it and other Middle Eastern governments - not to mention potentially diminishing Israel's strategic standing in the region.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    ספינת MERCER STREET שהותקפה
    ספינת MERCER STREET שהותקפה
    Smoke billows from a Japanese-owned oil tanker after an attack attributed to Iran off the cost of Oman
    This is why Israel's leaders are no doubt pondering the timing and scope of their response.
    The attack on the oil tanker over the weekend was an Iranian misstep. It damaged a Japanese-owned vessel operated by a British company that is part-owned by an Israeli and killed a Romanian citizen and a British national.
    A Russian was also among the members of crew on board. What would the leaders of the Islamic Republic have told Moscow had he too been hurt?
    No other country will carry out a response in Israel's place for the West has grown weary of Middle Eastern wars. But even so Israeli officials are trying to enlist the U.S., Europe and Japan in curbing Iranian subversive actions in the region.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    יאיר לפיד ואנתוני בלינקן במפגש ראשון ברומא
    יאיר לפיד ואנתוני בלינקן במפגש ראשון ברומא
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting in Rome in June
    (Photo: AP)
    Israeli politicians and representatives of the IDF are all attempting to convince their American and European counterparts that Iran is not Israel's problem alone, and that it is time for others - including Japan and the UK - to take action.
    Just three or four years ago, the U.S. and European nations fought diligently against Middle Eastern terrorism. Now the Americans barely respond to almost daily rocket fire on their own embassy and military bases housing troops in Iraq.
    They are withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan and despite public denials, will leave Syria and Iraq too. It is only a matter of time.
    The ennui felt in the West over the Middle East has created a vacuum that Iran is racing to fill, unimpeded by everyone except Israel, which is fighting a "war between wars" on land and sea.
    How can this be happening? Where are the world powers who should be standing with Israel in the face of the Iranian threat? Do they not understand that Russia is still waiting on the sidelines to reap the fruits of mistakes made by the West?
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מימין קאסם סולימאני מפקד כוח קודס חסן נסראללה עלי חמינאי איראן חיזבאללה
    מימין קאסם סולימאני מפקד כוח קודס חסן נסראללה עלי חמינאי איראן חיזבאללה
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, left, meeting with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
    When Israel (allegedly) decided to act on Iran smuggling oil and weapons to Syria and Lebanon via the Mediterranean, its purpose was clear. This was an effort to offset Iranian economic gains and weaken the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group backed by Iran.
    It is unclear whether Israel's inevitable response to Friday's attack will be part of an overall strategy to combat Iranian entrenchment in the region or an impulsive, knee-jerk reaction.
    But with Iran about to get a more extreme and conservative president who will surely want to prove himself, the country needs allies that today seem to be thin on the ground.
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