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World Teeters at Edge of Expanded Southwest Asia War

Isreali fighter jets patrolling the skies. Credit: IDF

April 13, 2024 (EIRNS)—The Israel Defense Forces announced late afternoon (Washington time) on April 13, that the long-awaited Iranian retaliation for the Israel April 1 destruction of the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, in which top Iranian military commanders were killed, had begun. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari reported that Iran had launched about 200 drones against Israel, which will take several hours to arrive. He said Israel was prepared, with fighter jets patrolling the skies. The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel would retaliate in kind against Iran. President Joe Biden stated: “We are devoted to the defense of Israel. We will support Israel. We will defend, help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed.” According to late reports, the U.S. has shot down some of the Iranian drones.

How quickly and how far the military strikes and counter-strikes will go, will determine whether or not the tripwire for a full-scale regional war—and a possible world war—has been triggered. At about 6 p.m. Washington time, an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was announced for April 14, and the Iranian UN Mission tweeted the following:

“Conducted on the strength of Article 51 of the UN Charter pertaining to legitimate defense, Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded. However, should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the U.S. MUST STAY AWAY!”

Related developments over the last 48 hours include:

• President Biden cut short a weekend beach vacation to return to the White House and consult with national security officials. The State Department issued a warning to government personnel and their families to not travel outside of the greater Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and the southern city of Be’er Sheva.

• The Pentagon announced it was strengthening its force posture in the region, to “bolster regional deterrence efforts and increase force protection,” an anonymous official said in a background briefing, RT reported White House spokesman John Kirby said: “There have been force posture changes.… I’m not going to get into speaking about the details of our commitment to help Israel defend itself.” According to the Wall Street Journal, two destroyers, including one armed with the Aegis missile defense system, have been “repositioned” in the area. The head of the U.S. Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, has extended his stay in Israel. Kurilla arrived on Thursday, April 11, to “coordinate” a defense from possible Iranian strikes.

• Iran’s IRGC announced on April 13 that they had seized an Israeli-linked ship in the Strait of Hormuz. AP reported that “Iran’s state-run IRNA said a special forces unit of the Guard’s navy carried out the attack on the vessel, which other media in the country widely identified as the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime.”

• Hezbollah on April 11 said it had fired dozens of rockets at Israeli army positions in response to earlier Israeli strikes in the south of Lebanon. The Times of Israel reported: “The attacks Friday evening came not long after the IDF said it struck several buildings used by Hezbollah, where operatives were gathered, in southern Lebanon’s Ayta ash-Shab.”

• Some 500 Israeli settlers stormed a couple of Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, looking for a missing Israeli teenage shepherd. They set fire to homes and cars, and at least one Palestinian man was killed by gunfire in the village of Al-Mughayyir, CNN reported. A village leader told CNN: “According to Abu-Alia, the Israeli military arrived at the scene at around 3 p.m. local time, but did not stop the settlers from attacking the village. Instead, Israeli soldiers allowed them to raid homes, prevented Palestinian residents from moving around and blocked ambulances from reaching the injured, he alleged.” The teenage shepherd was later found to have been assassinated.