Iranian attack on Israel said to be imminent

Iranian attack on Israel said to be imminent April 11, 2024

The US believes a major attack by Iran on Israel is imminent, according to reports citing sources familiar with US and Israeli intelligence assessments. It is apparently a matter of when Tehran will attack rather than if they will attack, though it is unclear whether such an assault will come directly from Iranian territory or from one or more of its proxies.

Here’s the background: On April 1, Israel allegedly bombed Iran’s embassy in Damascus, Syria, a strike that Iran said killed seven of its military advisors, including three senior commanders. Yesterday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel “must be punished and it shall be” for the attack. Now Israel is warning that if Iran directly attacks Israel in retaliation for the bombing in Damascus, Israel will strike directly at Iranian territory.

Why should any of this be of great concern to Americans?

As we’ll see today, to ask the question is to answer it.

Iran’s nuclear weapon breakout time is at zero

According to Foreign Policy, the Institute for Science and International Security currently assesses Iran’s breakout time—the period necessary for Iran to assemble a nuclear weapon—at zero. This means that Iran has enough weapons-grade uranium to build a bomb within days and enough to assemble six weapons within thirty days.

Iran is already successfully weaponizing proxies to fight Israel on its behalf, encircling the besieged nation with terrorist groups Hezbollah in the north, Hamas in the west, Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the east, the Houthis in the south, and militias in Syria and Iraq in the northeast.

The irony is that Iran, which is Shiite and Persian, is using Arabs, many of whom are Sunni, to do its bidding. As one commentator notes, “Attacking Iran’s proxies in the region has . . . been largely ineffective, given the regime’s indifference to Arabs martyring themselves for its cause.”

But Iran’s reach transcends the Middle East. Tehran is now aligned directly with Russia and China, delivering more than two thousand drones to aid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and exporting vast oil shipments to aid the Chinese government. It joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in July 2023, further solidifying its economic and defense alliance with the two.

How far America’s support for Israel has fallen

Iran’s multipolar strategy is working.

A bipartisan letter sent earlier this year by over a dozen senators noted that, despite US sanctions, “Iran is now exporting on average more than 1.4 million barrels of crude oil per day,” two-thirds of it to China. The letter adds that because of illicit oil exports and pervasive sanctions evasion, Iran’s economy is growing by 4 percent annually and its foreign currency reserves increased by 45 percent from 2021 to 2023.

In the meantime, Hamas’s strategy of sacrificing Palestinian civilians to shelter its troops is working as well. As civilian casualties in Gaza have tragically but predictably climbed, support for Israel in the West has fallen. Americans’ support for Israel’s military actions has declined from 50 percent in November 2023 to only 36 percent today. Support for Israel among young evangelicals in the US has plummeted by more than 50 percent in just three years.

All this raises the pressing question: If Iran attacks Israel, how will Americans respond?

President Biden vowed yesterday that the US commitment to defend Israel against Iran is “ironclad.” We are learning this morning that a senior US military commander in charge of the Middle East is expected to go to Israel today to coordinate a response to an attack from Iran.

But will Americans support this commitment, and at what cost?

The very fact that many will ask this question shows how far we have regressed from the founding ideals that enabled our democracy.

“There shall be none to make him afraid”

As I have noted this week, American democracy cannot be sustained merely by the rule of law and must depend on the consensual morality and values of its people. Among these founding values was our belief that “all people are created equal,” whatever their ethnicity or religion.

This belief especially extended to the Jewish members of our infant nation. In a 1790 letter to the Hebrew congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, George Washington wrote:

May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

Would this letter from the “father of America” speak for all Americans today? Or have we so commodified and objectified people and nations that we value them only to the degree that they benefit us?

Asked differently: Is supporting the Jewish people in their quest for a secure homeland a commitment we will make only if it is in our personal interest to do so?

There was a time when the answer was clear. On this day in 1945, the US army liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp. US President Harry Truman was the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel, just minutes after its founding in 1948.

However, if Iran attacks Israel, Americans will learn much about ourselves and the current health of our consensual democracy. In the meantime, the people of Israel need us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6) more now than at any time since the war began.

Let’s answer this call now.

Thursday news to know:

Quote for the day:

“Though Israel is a secular state, its very existence is testimony to faith: the faith of a hundred generations that Jews would return; the faith that led the pioneers to rebuild a land against seemingly impossible odds; the faith that after the Holocaust the Jewish people could live again; the faith that, in the face of death, continues to say: choose life.” —Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

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