By Haider Abbas
The drone attack on an ammunition factory in Isfahan on January 29, in Iran, tells as to how the geo-politics is unfolding. There are numerous reports in the Western media that the attack was a handiwork of Israel intelligence agency Mossad. But, a different angle has entered to add more to the quagmire, as Iran has summoned the Ukrainian diplomat to Tehran on January 30, tells Reuters 1, ‘Iran summoned Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Tehran over his country’s comments on a drone strike on an Iranian military factory. In Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ( of Ukraine) linked the incident directly to the war there. “Explosive night in Iran,” Mykhailo Podolyak had tweeted. “Did warn you.” A US official told Reuters that Israel appears to have been behind the attack.’
What really had happened between Iran and Israel, as both have been raring for a war, is yet to be known, as US and Israel media has claimed to have attacked Iran, which Iran claims to have defused! Until yet, Iran has not as yet taken any action against it. Though Iran has issued that revenge would come. However, the New York Times 2 has confirmed that the ‘target’s purpose is unclear’ and Times of Israel 3 has claimed that, ‘Mossad carried out Iran defense facility strike for Israel’s own interests.’ The Israel Ex. Prime Minister Bennet has contended that the drone attack (was) not aimed at stopping weapons exports to Russia. (But), he intensified Iran strikes after plot to kill Israelis in Turkey, Cyprus.’
Israel did attack, through its Kamikaze drones-which are suicide drones, but Iran hasn’t replied, and instead, there is a euphoria inside Iran, as Iran has successfully thwarted the attack. The Israel attack has successfully got failed as Israel just could not damage the Iranian military facility. Iran is ecstatic that it has successfully developed a defence-system which failed the Israel attack. Now, the question which arises is why Israel attacked, of course not without US support, the answer lies in Israel/US giving a larger message to Russia over the Ukraine war.
Iran has massively supplied its drones to Russia, which has earned the ire from Israel, while Israel has supplied its armored military vehicles etc to Ukraine. Both Iran and Israel are gung-ho against each other inside the Russia-Ukraine war. The Iranian drones cost-effectiveness is what serves the purpose for Russia, as Iranian drones are almost one-tenth of the cost of Russian drones and missiles, which Russia wants to conserve for further use against US and others, in case the war enters for long. US and European Union is in absolute support of Ukraine against Russia. It has supplied arms and billions of US Dollars to Ukraine and slapped sanctions on Russia, since the war had broken in February 2022. Iran has been under the US sanctions for around five-decades.
The Defence Industrial Complex at Isfahan is stands with almost no apparent damage. This is where Iran produces its attack-drones and ballistic missiles etc, which are transported to Russia etc. Interestingly, both Iran and Russia have also signed a contract to produce drones jointly and the delivery of such drones was to reach Russia by October 2023, as per Forbes 3 that ‘Iran might be waiting until October to supply Russia deadlier drones and missiles for Ukraine.’ Most arguably, UK and US do not want these drones to reach Russia. This liking of the West can be accessed by a news item published in Reuters 5 , that England and US cannot see Iranian drones reach to Russia. The West worst fears are also about the Russian technology to reach Iran as a part of give-and-take. The Britain’s ambassador to UN Barbara Woodward took to say that ‘ Russia is attempting to obtain more weapons from Iran, including hundreds of ballistic missiles, and offering Tehran an unprecedented level of military and technical support in return.’ The Iranian drones are now ‘long-range-enough’ to target Israel too.
Israel and US have been fundamentally opposed to Iran ever getting close to making a nuclear bomb. This is in contrast to Israel having a great number of nuclear-stockpiles with which Israel and US stomp their supremacy in the Middle-East. Hence, US and Britain easiest way-out was to make Israel attack the Iranian military facility. But, the attack did not ruffle-a-feather in Iran as Iran shot-down the Israel drones through its defence mechanism. Some drones went wayward and completely missed the target. It would be naïve to assume that Israel is to sit back, more particularly, after the right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu has been sworn into office. However, the general exhilaration in Iran is that it has given a message to Israel and US, as both had undergone joint-military exercises recently to plan an attack on Iran, that Iran can save its nuclear facility through its air-defense-system etc. An unnamed Iranian official has claimed in The Times of Israel 6 that ‘ the strike was ultimately unsuccessful. “[The Israelis] are using propaganda to cover up their failure.”’ Iran has time-and-again reiterated that it retaliate against Israel in case it is attacked.
It may well be construed that when Russia-Iran are jointly to produce drones etc, Russia might have also given its technology to Iran to safeguard it. Russia while at the same time has already warned Israel to not to supply weapons to Ukraine or else invite a retaliation. What are the choices for India? It can be easily understood that India’s interests clearly lie with Israel and no such stakes for India exist in Iran as Israel is the biggest exporter of its weapons to India. India does not buy even oil from Iran, after the US embargo in 2019. China has come forward to lend a helping hand to Iran as The Economic Times 7 informs that ‘Beijing (has) pledged over the weekend to promote a consumption recovery which would support fuel demand.’
There are however some hiccups for India as Russia is still the number one exporter of arms to India and if Russia and Israel to be at loggerheads, in any near time future, India will find it difficult to choose between the chose, However, since Russia is also inclined towards China which is against India, India will find it better to align with US which means Israel by extension. Let’s see what happens until then.
The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international issues.
6- Iran warns Israel not to ‘play with fire’ after drone attack on defense facility