Thursday, January 09, 2020

  • Thursday, January 09, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Anyone who tries to explain the events of the past week without understanding the honor/shame culture is getting it wrong.

Iran has always been an explicit and avowed enemy of the US since the Islamic Revolution. Over the last two decades, it has sought to become a regional and even a world superpower.

It has used proxies and terror to achieve its aims because it knows that a direct challenge to the US would be disastrous. But it has been testing the boundaries, as we have seen over the past year.

The proxies give Iran (im)plausible deniability, but the fiction works for both Iran and its enemies, neither of which are interested in a new war. Iran has used its proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen very effectively.

Anyone who thinks that the killing of Soleimani is going to make Iran change either its goals or its methods because of its desire for revenge or saving face doesn't understand the honor/shame mentality.

Iran needed to "avenge" Soleimani. It had to do it with a direct attack on the US. That is the only way it could restore "honor." But on the other hand Iran is rational and it knew that killing a single American would be an escalation that the US could not let go.

Therefore, whether with backchannel communication or not, Iran calibrated a response that would not kill Americans but that it could trumpet to its people as a  crushing blow to the Great Satan, restoring honor.

People who say that Iran isn't done with its response, and that Iran will also hit the US (or Israel) with its proxies, don't understand that a proxy attack is valueless as a means to regain honor. By definition, honor accrues to the people who do the act, not the ones who tell them to do it. Iran cannot claim credit for a Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad rocket attack because by doing that it destroys the fiction of those parties being independent. If a proxy hits the US (or Israel) and Iran claims responsibility, as honor/shame would demand, then the US or Israel can publicly say that they will hit Iran back directly since the pretense is gone.

Iran is not going to risk that.

There is no increased risk to Israel or the US at this time beyond what Iran has been steadily doing for years. Not only that, but Iran has been significantly weakened by the combination of the loss of its main strategist, the effects of sanctions and the simmering unrest of its own people.

By any measure, Iran is in far worse shape today than it was a week ago. It has no more cards to play than it did beforehand, and the US is no longer viewed as a paper tiger that can't do anything (as Khamenei tweeted a couple of says before the attack.)

The hit on Soleimani is an unqualified victory for the US and the free world.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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