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Middle East – i2 Israel-Iran Risks Advisory 1/1



Image by Wix AI

18  APRIL 2024

 

High Impact Event

 

On April 13, Iran launched 170 drones and over 30 cruise missiles and 120 ballistic missiles at Israel in retaliation for alleged Israeli air strike on its consulate in Syria that resulted in the killing of Iran's three top generals. The barrage launched from Iranian mainland a direct flying distance of over 1700 kms was the first massive hybrid swarm of its kind in the Middle East. Some of the weapons launched at Israel were fired from Iraq and Yemen. Israel air defence with the assistance of US, UK, France, and Jordan neutralized the drones with almost negligible casualties. In response, Israel is considering a "limited and narrow" strike inside Iran.

 

Diplomacy

 

The US, UK, European countries, and the United Nations condemned Iran's attack and have called on Israel not to escalate the situation.  To appease Israel to an extent US and Europe toughened economic and political sanctions against Iran. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi telephoned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on April 16 who “expressed hope that all parties will show reasonable restraint and will not allow a new round of confrontation, fraught with catastrophic consequences for the entire region.”  Turkey, Hamas militant group and the Afghan Taliban backed Iran’s actions while India sought both sides to de-escalate the situation.  Pro Palestine protests were staged in some parts of the World including the United States.

 

Military Response

 

So far, Israeli response is evident in Gaza and across the Northern Border with Lebanon. Israeli Army tanks attacked parts of the northern Gaza Strip which they had left weeks ago, while Israel Air Force conducted air strikes on Rafah. As per Al Jazeera, Israeli army vehicles surrounded a school where hundreds of people were sheltering amid gunfire and explosions in Beit Hanoon in the northern Gaza Strip on April 15.  Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that three Hezbollah fighters, including two commanders, were killed in its airstrikes in southern Lebanon which included, Mahmoud Ibrahim Fadlallah, "an operative of Hezbollah's Rockets and Missiles Unit," was also killed in the same airstrike.

 

Risk and Impact

 

An Israeli direct on Iran including as the IAEA Secretary General Rafael Grossi fears on Iran’s nuclear plants is expected to lead to a cycle of escalation which will be difficult to control. A direct attack on Iran may also lead to the crisis spiraling out of control impacting the region while worldwide impact on the energy – oil prices and the already strained supply chains. Many world leaders have cancelled their visits abroad and seek to remain in their capitals to monitor any escalation and control impact on the home economy.

 

Red Sea Crisis

 

High Impact Even

 

US Central Command (CENTCOM) forces "engaged" two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in areas controlled by Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

 

Diplomacy

 

The US administration has decided to reclassify the Houthis in Yemen as a “specially designated global terrorist." Houthis attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea have been classified as terrorism. "These attacks fit the textbook definition of terrorism," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

 

Military

 

The US Navy has urgently called on the US Congress to pass a stalled national security spending plan to replenish the nearly $1 billion in munitions spent to counter attacks by Iran and its proxies in the Middle East in the past six months. U.S. forces continue to guard Navy and commercial ships in the Red Sea from Houthi rebel attacks, and American service members helped shoot down missiles launched by Iran against Israel.

 

The operations of the European Union's naval mission to the Red Sea have not been affected by Iran's direct attack on Israel but the force needs more combat ships to protect merchant vessels sailing through "a vast area", its commander told Reuters.

 

The Royal Navy will install the DragonFire directed-energy weapon system aboard warships by 2027 in response to increased airborne threats  as the government requires more weapons to combat missiles and drones like those fired by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

 

Risk and Impact

 

Continued attempts to target merchant shipping by the Houthis from Yemen and counters by the US and other armed forces participating in Operation Prosperity Guardian anticipated. Impact on trade including merchant shipping will be negative.

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