Leading into the future.
Strategy International · Think Tank & Consulting ServicesStrategy International · Think Tank & Consulting ServicesStrategy International · Think Tank & Consulting Services
(+357) 96 886 872
CY-2042, Nicosia

Commentary: Three questions to Dr. Elie Abouaoun, SI’s MENA Senior Advisor, about the recent attack on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus and its implications

  • Home
  • Type
  • Commentary
  • Commentary: Three questions to Dr. Elie Abouaoun, SI’s MENA Senior Advisor, about the recent attack on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus and its implications
Blog

Commentary: Three questions to Dr. Elie Abouaoun, SI’s MENA Senior Advisor, about the recent attack on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus and its implications

Three questions to Dr. Elie Abouaoun, SI’s MENA Senior Advisor, about the recent attack on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus and its implications

Why is this attack different?

This attack differs from its predecessors in a several ways. Firstly, the fact that it targeted an Iranian diplomatic facility in Damascus is quite meaningful. Israel is making it very apparent that it will cross any boundaries—real or imagined—when it comes to pursuing high-value targets. Furthermore, this time around, the seven officers that were killed had a different profile. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, according to Iranian media and observers, is the most senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Lebanon and Syria. He was also the second most senior IRGC commander to be assassinated since Qasim Sulaimani was killed in January 2020 by an American drone attack in Baghdad. The Iranians suffered severe moral, political, and tactical losses as a result of this attack. It confirms Israel’s superior intelligence capabilities and its capacity to launch strategic strikes against vital sites and targets around the region. But Iran’s capabilities and operations in Syria and Lebanon won’t be much impacted by this assassination. The Iranians have long since come to realize that they cannot have an irreplaceable commander. To prevent operations from being disrupted, they constantly have procedures in place to fill the vacancies in commander posts.

What form of retaliation can be expected from Iran following the recent attack on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus?

Iran is more likely to adopt a multi-tiered strategy than to immediately engage in a large-scale retaliation. The first tier will probably take the form of a theatrical and highly symbolic attack reminiscent of the rocket attack on the Ain al-Asad U.S. military base in Iraq after the assassination of Qasim Sulaimani in January 2020. This will aim at restoring an appearance of strength without triggering a conventional war, which Iran perceives as disadvantageous. This is also necessary to appease certain influential Iranian politicians who have been criticizing Iran for what they see as its lax policies toward the United States and Israel, especially post October 2023.
At the same time, Iran will carefully prepare a more profound and effective retaliation to set limits on its behalf. This essential part of the counterattack will be carried out at the time and in the way determined by Iran. The Mullah regime in Tehran despises being drawn into a conflict over which they have no control. They systematically take measures to guarantee that they have the final say in all decisions on the nature, scope, venue, and timing of any action they take. Finally, Iran will consider using its proxies to send a strong message to its neighbors in the region.

What concerns do the U.S. and GCC countries have regarding the recent attack in Damascus, and how might Iran respond to these concerns?

The U.S. and GCC countries are, rightly so, concerned that the recent attack in Damascus may lead to a potential escalation of conflict with Iran, requiring their direct involvement at a time when they believe that going to an upfront war with Iran is counterproductive and unnecessary for the time being. They are sending a strong statement to that effect by formally denying any knowledge of or support for the attack. Nonetheless, Iran will take this as a chance to demonstrate its might and remind its neighbors—especially those in the Gulf Cooperation Council—of its potential. More crucially, by utilizing its numerous proxies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, Iran will once again demonstrate the applicability of their strategic concept, the “Unity of War Fronts.”

Author

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

DISCLOSURE

All written content of this article on this site is the exclusive copyright and property of Strategy International (SI) Ltd and the author who has written to It.

To note, the opinions stated do not necessarily reflect the official policies of Strategy International.

No prior use in part or in its complete form, written, words, maps, charts or statistical, numerical information can be made, unless there is a written prior request and consent by the author and Strategy International and its legal representative.

All requests should be directed at [email protected]

Topics

Contact

Office address:

24 Minoos Street, Strovolos,
CY-2042 Nicosia

Telephone:

(+357) 96 886 872
MON - FRI

Mail for information:

We look forward to discussing with your organization our joint collaboration.

Contact us via the details below, or enter your request.

    error: Content is protected !