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Israel and Iran Exchange Attacks—Danger of Regional War Intensifies

What's Happening, Why, and Where the Interests of Humanity Lie


Update, April 21—On Friday, April 19, Israel carried out a drone/missile attack on a military facility in Isfahan in central Iran in retaliation for the Iranian attack on Israel on April 13 with over 300 drones and missiles. That Iranian attack was in response to the Israeli bombing of an Iranian embassy compound in Syria. Israel, as usual, did not officially confirm that it had carried out the April 19 attack. Iran, as of this writing, has not threatened a further response. But the situation remains highly volatile and dangerous, and the points made in the article below that we posted last week remain highly relevant.

Over the last months, there has been an intensifying and escalating back-and-forth fight between the nuclear armed and U.S.-backed Israel versus the regional power Iran.

This took a leap on April 1 when Israel bombed an Iranian consulate in Syria. As we wrote last week, “The consulate is attached to the Iranian Embassy and includes the residence of Iran’s ambassador. The ambassador and his family were not killed, but two Iranian generals and five officers were. According to the U.S. State Department, 'an attack on an embassy is considered an attack on the country it represents.' So, by rules the U.S. claims to uphold, the attack on this embassy was an attack on Iran.

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, April 14, 2024.


Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, April 14, 2024.    Photo: AP

“Israel, as is its usual policy, did not officially confirm being responsible for the attack. But according to U.S. news reports, the attack was an escalation of Israeli attacks on Iran because of its support for Hamas and other forces in the region fighting Israel.... 

“Israel’s bombing of the Iranian embassy compound in Syria was an outrageous act that inflamed an already explosive situation. It was guaranteed to provoke a response from Iran.” 

That response came on the night of Saturday, April 13. Iran launched a direct attack on Israel with a barrage of over 300 drones and missiles. While this was unprecedented, it seems to have done little damage to Israel as most of the drones and missiles were intercepted by Israel and the U.S. military, exploding them in the air before they hit their targets. 

Iran has stated that it will not carry out further attacks on Israelthe matter is “concluded”unless Israel launches further attacks in which case Iran’s response will be “considerably more severe.”

We don't know where this will end up but there are three essential things to understand about this volatile situation:

One. This is extremely dangerous. Israel may well decide that it must not allow such an attack to go “unanswered.” They may hit back on a higher level, and Iran in turn may decide that they must hit back. This could easily draw in the United States, which has already pledged to “stand with Israel” if it is attacked, as well as Russia or even China, which have been forging closer ties to Iran, and could conceivably be drawn into a larger conflict. This holds the danger of nuclear armed powers facing off.

Two. This is not “a fight between democracy and tyranny,” as the U.S. rulers tell it. The U.S. backs up Israel as the key military force maintaining American domination of the Middle East. 

While the struggle to abolish the state of Israel and end imperialist domination in Palestine is righteous and must be supported, neither Iran nor Hamas has any aspiration other than to be new oppressors, replacing the old. They are both theocratic forces intent on maintaining religious rule and the oppression of women and LGBTQ people. And they are increasingly tied into the larger imperialist powers, Russia and China.

Three. Both the danger of this current battle between Israel and Iran getting totally out of control and ending in nuclear catastrophe and the ongoing horror of the U.S.-backed genocidal war against the Palestinians in Gaza are driven by this system of capitalism-imperialism. All this underscores the importance of what Bob Avakian has said:

We, the people of the world, can no longer afford to allow these imperialists to continue to dominate the world and determine the destiny of humanity. They need to be overthrown as quickly as possible. And it is a scientific fact that humanity does not have to live this way—a whole different way to organize society, a whole better world, is possible.

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