The Middle East is on the precipice. Israeli restraint would help.

(Chicago Tribune. Daniel DePetris).

Of all the retaliatory options against Israel that Iran had on its table, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chose the most bombastic: a direct missile and drone strike launched from Iranian soil. The attack, coming about two weeks after Israel bombed an Iranian diplomatic facility in Damascus, Syria, killing one of its top generals, was simply too much for the Iranians to take on the chin.

The question was never whether Iran would respond but rather how. The fact the Iranians felt the need to send more than 300 projectiles toward Israel, a salvo that included ballistic and cruise missiles, was as unprecedented as it was dangerous. There have been plenty of Iranian-sponsored attacks against Israeli interests around the world, but never before in history has Iran conducted an overt attack on Israel from within its own borders. The killing of one of its top military commanders, which occurred during daylight hours in the middle of the Syrian capital, was in Tehran’s view such an attrocity that nothing less than a flashy display of force was required. Israel set a precedent by dropping a bomb on an extension of the Iranian embassy in Syria; Iran, in return, decided to set one of its own.

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