Iran Has Sent A Message To Israel With Limited Action

Oz Zeren
9 min readApr 14, 2024

Iran’s response to Israel attacking its embassy and killing an Iranian general and various other Iranian military personnel took place last night. Depending on various sources, ~200 drones and 20–30 ballistic missiles were used.

While the Israeli side exaggerates the drones and missiles it shot down and the Iranian side exaggerates the hits, the videos posted in the intelligence channels leave no doubt that Iran hit some targets despite a lot of drones seeming to have been destroyed.

This seems to be by design: Iran has launched ~200 Saheed drones that took 7–8 hours to arrive at Israel, giving Israel and its allies ample time to shoot many of them down. Despite that, a lot of drones seem to have been shot over Israel or during their descent as opposed to being shot down on the way.

The US, the UK, France, and Jordan seem to have shot down these drones to protect Israel. It’s evident that these drones were used to saturate the air defenses to protect the ballistic missiles like it’s being done in Ukraine by Russia and they were not intended to hit their targets over the cities, targeting civilians as Israel falsely claims. Bits and pieces of falling drones may have been dangerous, however, due to Israelis having been sent to shelters way before the attack and Israel and its 3 obedient allies laboriously shooting most of them down seems to have prevented any damage to the civilian infrastructure as Iran seems to have intended avoiding.

But the drone saturation seems to have been quite successful in that it looks like Iran has successfully hit 2 different major Israeli air bases with ballistic missiles. Videos of each base getting hit by 3 missiles are available in the intelligence channels across the Internet. The exact number of hits and the interval between the missile hits to each base are very organized, indicating that this was how it was planned — hit each base with 3 missiles. These bases were used for various attacks against Iranian personnel in the past so it follows reason that they were targeted.

In the process of shooting down these drones, each of which cost $10,000, Israel and its obedient allies are estimated to have burned $1 billion dollars within one night.

What Does All This Mean?

Iran could have easily saturated the air defenses by sending more drones and it could have hit all its targets with drones and missiles alike. Each Saheed costs $10,000, and one launcher contains 8–10 of them. Iran is manufacturing these like hotcakes, in addition to exporting them to Russia.

Iran could have easily dispatched a few times more drones and ballistic missiles and hit many more targets. Just sending multiple waves of drones one after another would have saturated the defenses and would have allowed the 3rd or 4th drone to pass through and hit its target, judging from the tactic that Russia is employing with these drones in Ukraine. The ballistic missiles would be unstoppable at that point, they would go down to their targets unopposed thanks to the saturated air defenses.

This shows that Iran did not want to harm civilians and civilian targets and it specifically wanted to hit the airbases that Israel used to attack Iranians in the past. It seems to have succeeded in its objectives. This is a clear message to both Israel and the rest of the world. It says:

“Israel has been violating international law by attacking Iranian military personnel and embassies. We have responded within Article 51 of the UN convention by hitting the military targets that were used to violate international law”

This is a legitimate, measured response that no honest actor can object to. As the international mechanisms did not do anything for Israel’s violations of international law in the past and the UN is crippled by the protection that the US, the UK, and France are providing to Israel through their vetoes, Iran has only the option of triggering Article 51 in self-defense, which they did. Now Israel knows that there are consequences to its actions.

An even bigger message is that Iran demonstrated that it can overcome Israel’s air defenses easily and hit targets. And not only that — it took the resources of 3 countries collaborating with Israel to shoot down the incoming drones and missiles. So Iran has demonstrated that it can do this despite all of Israel’s allies cooperating in the region to defend it. Needless to say, any of these allies can also be the target as now it is proven that their defenses can also be overcome.

A step beyond this, there are bigger geopolitical implications:

Iran has sent another message, this time to the US, by boarding and capturing an Israeli ship in the Hormuz strait a day before. This is a symbolic action. What it means is that “In the case of any hostility against us, we will shut down the Hormuz Strait”. This would immediately cripple the economy in the West by sending energy prices skyrocketing. The US seems to have gotten the message, as evidenced by the Biden Administration telling Israel not to respond to the Iranian drone action last night.

There were three other, even bigger messages that were sent by different actors in the few days prior to the event and immediately after, which have a much bigger weight in global politics.

First, there was a major Russian intercontinental ballistic missile test 2 days before the event. Russia’s explanation of the test was quite bland as can be seen from the reference. However, the missile seems to have been the type that Russia was using to send messages to the US by doing such tests during the Syrian affair’s height, and taking into consideration how Iran wouldn’t take an action like it did last night without consulting Russia, this missile test seems to have been a message to the US and its allies about how they should not have thoughts of attacking Iran.

Another major surprise was the Gulf nations directly telling the US that they wouldn’t let the US bases on their soil be used in any attack against Iran. This is a major message as these countries were with whom the US collaborated to create the economic war against the USSR at the end of the 1970s to starve the Soviet economy. This statement from these countries demonstrates that times have greatly changed.

A major message came from the Chinese side after the action. Chinese newspapers said that Iran had made a measured response to the Israeli attack on its embassy. Whereas the Chinese government did not condemn the attack and instead express concern about potential escalation in the region. Sending a subtle hint to Israel that they should not escalate, and in the process, also sending a message to the US and its allies in the same direction.

A similar message was repeated by India — expressing concern about escalation in the region without condemning the Iranian attack — which sent the same message as China did to Israel and its allies.

The Aftermath

This changed the geopolitical landscape.

Now it has been demonstrated that Israeli air defenses are not invulnerable as they claimed. Further, all the air defenses of its allies combined, are not the impenetrable shield they were claimed to be. The exaggerated ‘quality’ of Israeli and Western defense equipment has been brought down to the level that they should have been. They are just air defense, and they can be saturated and overcome.

Moreover, Iran or any other actor does not even need to actually overcome the defenses and hit their targets — having spent $1 billion overnight to shoot down drones that cost $10,000 apiece, the act of shooting down incoming drones looks more expensive than any actual physical damage that would be done to any target when hit. So, Iran does not need to hit any targets at this point — it can just keep sending drones to be shot down and make its rivals spend missiles with a $1 million price tag to shoot down each $10,000 cost drone — a hilarious proposition. Supporting Israel has become very costly for the US and its satellites.

The extremists in power in Israel are at an impasse on their side — their economy is crippled, they murdered some 6000 children in their Gaza War without accomplishing any goal, Israel has become a genocidal state in the eyes of 80% of the world, there is immense opposition to them inside the country and if they relax their settler-colonial extremist rhetoric even a little, they will lose support from their extremist voters and they will lose the government. At this point, their only way out is to create a total war by retaliating against Iran to trigger a bigger war, but the major patron that holds Israel’s lifeline does not want them to.

At this point, the best way out of their conundrum is to declare victory on different grounds and back out of everything. They can claim that they successfully defended against an Iranian attack and back off from the escalation. On the Gaza side, there is little saving face and the most they can do is to claim that their Gaza operation has been successful in hurting Hamas and pull out of Gaza. The pariah status that they gained during this operation in the eyes of 80% of the world and even some of Israel’s allies, will take decades to lose, if they can ever lose it. The best course of action would be to admit some kind of defeat, and then use that diplomatic reasoning to start a conversation for permanent peace in the region. But the extremists in power in Israel came to power on extremist settler-colonial rhetoric, and they can’t let go of that rhetoric without major retooling of the rhetoric towards other goals to avoid losing support. One would think that becoming a genocidal state in the eyes of 80% of the world that holds the majority of the resources and manufacturing of human civilization, leaving aside the biggest markets, would be a good reason to drop such extremist rhetoric, but the past 6 months have shown that the extremists in power in Israel “don’t make rational decisions” as Biden Administration seems to have bluntly stated yesterday.

The Biden Administration is also at an impasse on their side. They are overextended between the Ukraine War and the Gaza war, and now their supposed ally is literally trying to open a third front that will overextend them even more — imperiling the Biden Administration’s plans about the Taiwan war even before they are hatched. The US economy is already in a crisis with skyrocketing inflation that is tanking the Biden Administration in the polls. Any more disturbances to the energy prices or any more disturbance to the economy due to any such conflict risk would make it even worse. The Biden Administration is stuck with all the wars it started and backed and the aftermath of the sanctions against Russia reorienting the global economy towards China, Russia, India, and the Global South as Janet Yellen keeps going to China to beg them to buy US bonds to float US debt and at the same time beg them to cut back on EV production as Chinese manufacturers legitimately out-compete American manufacturers.

On the other side, the Global South, which is basically ‘the rest of the world outside the US and Europe’ at this point, has seen that neither the geopolitical nor the military machine of the US-controlled West is invulnerable and unbeatable. All it takes is a horde of cheap drones to overwhelm that military machine. And even further — you don’t need to cause any infrastructure or military damage — just the act of shooting down cheap drones can cripple the West’s economy. In fact, airbases, and air defense systems not having been destroyed and instead being working at full capacity so that they can keep spending costly missiles to shoot down cheap drones seems to be more damaging to the target country than them getting destroyed. The defense companies that manufacture the missiles will make bank, but the state economy will go bankrupt.

China, Russia, and India have shown that they will stand by their allies. This will strengthen the resolve of the Global South to bring about the egalitarian multipolar world order of cooperating states. The countries that break their chains and join this new multipolar world will not be alone — neither economically nor militarily.

On the other hand, the US, the UK, France, and Jordan have taken literal military action to defend Israel, making them complicit with what Israel is doing in Gaza in the eyes of 80% of the world as these were already rumored to have been defending Israel from retaliation during its war in Gaza.

Conclusion

All of these show that the old exploitative world order is dead and it’s not feasible to spend money and energy to push for it anymore. The economic and diplomatic losses from doing so are far greater than what could have been gained even in the heyday of the old system.

The world is in a transformation, and those who don’t jump on the train of the multipolar world will be left behind in a way that would be disastrous for their prosperity and development. The keywords of the new era are peace, egalitarianism, and cooperation.

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Oz Zeren

Writing for a better future. I work in Tech. I like Philosophy, History, Computers, Gaming, the Internet. I’m excited about the Creator Economy, Web 3.0, DAOs.