On Iran’s strike

Fadi Quran- At Stanford, I attended a masterclass on military strategy led by a person with decades of experience, including serving at the highest levels in the military and government. One lesson he thought that I always remember was this:

He asked us:

“Say the US decided to attack Iraq with a new stealth jet it hadn’t used before that evaded all radars? The attack was a success. Was it strategic?”

Many in the class raised their hands to say “yes, it achieved its goal”. But the professor said: “It may not have been”.


“Because now your adversaries know your capabilities and it’s a matter of time before they find ways around them. If this attack could be done with conventional weapons, it’s better to keep your top weapons until you need them. Using them creates a disadvantage.”

My analysis is that the scale of Iran’s attack, the diversity of locations it targeted, and weapons it used, forced Israel to uncover the majority of anti-missile technologies the US and it have across the region.

The Iranians did not use any weapons Israel didn’t know it had, it just used a lot of them. But the Iranians likely now have almost a full map of what Israel’s missile defence system looks like, as well as where in Jordan and the Gulf the US has installations. It also knows how long it takes to prepare them, how Israeli society responds…etc

This is a huge strategic cost to Israel, while Arab regimes now are being blasted by their peoples, particularly the Jordanian monarchy, for not doing anything to protect Gazans but then going all out to protect Israel.

Crucially, Iran can now reverse engineer all the intel gathered from this attack to make a much more deadly one credible. While the US and Israel will have to re-design away from their current model which has been compromised. Its success in stopping this choreographed attack is thus still very costly.

Moreover, with the threat of a regional war that neither the US nor the Arab regimes want feeling nearer, it’s likely their pressure on Israel to back down will increase, making a ceasefire more feasible.

Anyone assuming this is just theatrics is missing the context of how militaries assess strategy versus tactics. Theatre is an important factor, but gathering intelligence of the “enemy’s” posture is more valuable, especially if one believes they’re in a long war of attrition.

Netanyahu and the Israel government prefer a quick hot and urgent war where they can pull in America. The Iranians prefer a longer war of attrition that bleeds Israel of its deterrence capabilities and makes it an ally for Arabs and the US that’s too costly to have.

Lastly, if you are a person who hates war, if you want peace, the best and only way to get there in the region is to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and dignity.

There is no sustainable peace possible as long as Palestinians live under an oppressive system of apartheid.

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