Friedman: It's 'Impossible to Exaggerate' What Iran Just Did

This is a huge escalation of its shadow war with Israel, even if the missiles were shot down
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2024 7:17 AM CDT
Friedman: Don't Underestimate What Iran Just Did
Israel's Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024.   (AP Photo/Tomer Neuberg)

Iran fired about 300 missiles and drones at Israel, and nearly every one of them was shot down before doing any damage. But consider what might have happened if even a few more snuck through, writes Thomas Friedman in the New York Times. Iran could have struck Israel's parliament or a high-rise apartment in Jerusalem, making today's aftermath far more volatile. It might be tempting to shrug off Iran's retaliatory strike, but that would be "a huge geopolitical mistake," writes Friedman. In his view, "it is impossible to exaggerate the political-military implications of what just happened." No country has attacked Israel in such a direct manner since Saddam Hussein more than 30 years ago, and he argues that the action cannot go unchecked. He is not, however, suggesting that Israel be allowed to fire back in kind.

"Without a U.S.-led global initiative to impose sanctions on Iran and further isolate it on the world stage, Iran's behavior would be tacitly normalized, in which case Israel will most likely retaliate in kind and we're on our way to a major Middle East war and $250-a-barrel oil," writes Friedman. He argues that Iran has made a grave mistake and must be punished for it on the international stage. In fact, he sees what happened as an opportunity for what he calls the "Inclusion Network" in the Mideast—"more open, connected countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel and the NATO allies"—and a setback for the "Resistance Network" pushing for the opposite. Read the full column. (The lone serious injury of the Iranian attack is a 7-year-old girl.)

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