War has been declared.

Not just Hamas’ war, launched on Oct. 7, 2023.

Not just Hezbollah’s war, the next day, on Oct. 8, with its daily attacks out of Lebanon that have depopulated the north of Israel.

Not just the Houthis’ war out of Yemen, guided by spy boats of the Revolutionary Guard, firing missiles at Eilat, hijacking ships, and blocking the Bab al-Mandab strait.

Not the war of the pro-Iranian militias operating out of Iraq that, since taking Kirkuk in 2017, are killing my Kurdish friends.

And not the war of the pro-Iranian factions that colonize Bashar Assad’s Syria and use it as a highway to pump more rockets into Lebanon and harass both the Golan Heights and northern Israel.


War, real war, the mother of all these battles, with the power that is coordinating, from one theater to the next, all these proxies—Iran itself is now coming forward.

Why were the mullahs so imprudent?

Why put aside the ambiguity that led to the belief, up to now, in a series of asymmetrical wars staged for the television cameras of the West, offering images of an army of overarmed Israeli Robocops against apparently Lilliputian organizations?

Why choose to show the world, at this critical moment, that Israel is not the “genocidal” state that “massacres children,” as it had been presented to us, but rather a small nation attacked by a much larger imperial power that has sworn to annihilate it, and which, after having surrounded Israel, from north to south and from the east, with its squadrons of mercenaries, decides to take action and bring the fatal blow by submerging it—in a tactical scenario almost as novel as that of Oct. 7—under a cloud of drones and missiles?

And, on the other hand, why this deluge of fire, both terrible and ridiculous, since 99% of it was stopped by Israeli and American Patriot missiles or so badly aimed that it landed in Iranian territory? Why such a blunder that served only to underline the solidity of both Israel’s defenses and its alliances? What interest does Tehran have in resoldering, through backlash, the Abraham Accords sealed four years ago and which seemed, of late, to be in trouble?

The future will say.

But, in truth, it doesn’t matter much.

We can leave the mystery of the mullah-tocracy and its twisted strategies, which are quite possibly simply absurd.

Because, today, only one thing matters.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is not just a failed regime, economically ruined, disavowed by its youth, women, and its living elements, revealed to have the force of a paper tiger.

It’s also a country that—like the USSR of recent times, where there coexisted both a real country devastated by economic misery and public demoralization, and decoupled from that, an ultramodern military-industrial complex able to compete with the United States—established a secret but effective nuclear industry.

It’s a country whose programs in that area have only grown and prospered as America changed course, over the last 15 years, oscillating between Obama’s ineffectual and misbegotten policy of détente and, under Trump, ineffectual ranting.

And, as for Iran’s nuclear programs, their sites have been moved and often buried over the years; their centrifuges have become capable of producing enough enriched uranium to build stockpiles 22 times above the limit authorized by the 2015 nuclear deal; IAEA inspectors no longer have meaningful access to them. These sites have become giant black holes, off the radar, from which the world could learn, in six months, in a year, suddenly, that Iran has been allowed to join North Korea and Russia in the club of dictatorships capable of setting the planet on fire …

I’ll add that the same Iranian drones that, with the exception of a young girl in the south of the country, systematically missed their targets are the very ones that Putin has used, for two years now, to ravage Ukraine.

And I’ll add that the same Iran that was mocked, this Monday morning, for its pathetic failure in the face of the solidity of the Iron Dome, recently engaged, in the Persian Gulf, in joint naval maneuvers, largely unnoticed, with the Russian and Chinese navies.

Let’s imagine, then, that the Iranian regime emerges unharmed from this adventure.

Let’s imagine that it sees this adventure not as a lamentable defeat, but as a dress rehearsal. And let’s suppose that they repeat it, six months, a year from now, with faster and more accurate drones and missiles, equipped with operational nuclear warheads.

That, for Israel and, beyond, for the region, is a terrifying prospect. It is a clear existential threat.

And that is why it feels unreasonable to me that “cowardly relief” reigns among Israel’s allies and dictates, everywhere, the same recommendation for “de-escalation” and “restraint.”

Iran has declared war.

There is no other choice, alas, but to retaliate.

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