Is Israel trying to provoke WWIII to stave off Gaza genocide defeat?

Support Iran’s right to self-defence!

Defend the Axis of Resistance, against Zionist/US/NATO bloc!

Joint statement of LCFI and   

In the early hours of Sunday, 14th April, Iran fired, in three waves, more than 300 drones, missiles and finally more sophisticated, possibly hypersonic ballistic missiles at Israel. Most of them appear to have been intercepted by Israel’s air defences or those of its imperialist allies, the US, France and Britain, except for the third wave, which significantly damaged Nevatim and Ramon airbases in the Negev area, and an intelligence centre in the Golan Heights area, all of which were instrumental in Israel’s earlier act of aggression against Iran’s mission in Syria.

This retaliation was for the Israeli air attack on an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus, Syria on 1st April, an annex of the Iranian Embassy itself. By the Vienna Convention, embassy buildings are regarded throughout the world as being part of the territory of the state the embassy serves. Israel’s attack on the Damascus building was thus regarded by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran as an attack on Iranian territory itself. It was an overt act of war and bound at some point to provoke some kind of Iranian military attack on Israeli territory.

The building Israel destroyed contained seven members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG), including the commander of its Quds force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, and his deputy, Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi. All-in-all 16 were killed by Israel. The presence of the senior IRCG figures was part of Iran’s military-political relationship with the Lebanese government, which includes the Shi’a resistance organisation Hizbullah, which has twice defeated near-genocidal Israeli invasions of Lebanon which massacred Palestinians and Lebanese Shia, going back as far as 1978. The Israelis scream that the presence of the highly efficient IRCG meant that the building was “not an embassy”, but every significant power in the world that has allies that it seeks to defend from third party attack uses diplomatic premises to further military collaboration with such allies.

Everyone knows that the CIA and Mossad habitually use US and Israeli Embassy buildings around the world to further their aims in terms of both military objectives and espionage. The criteria Israel tries to use to excuse attacking the Damascus Iranian Embassy could be used equally well to justify attacking every single US and Israeli Embassy on the planet. The Iranian military presence was part of the ‘Axis of Resistance’ to Israeli activities in West Asia, activities in pursuit of its aim of a Greater Israel though conquest and genocide of the Palestinian people and more besides, with some renderings of Greater Israel encompassing the whole of Jordan, most of Syria, Iraq up to the River Euphrates and Egypt up to the Nile.

In the case of Syria, everyone knows that Iran and Hizbullah not only defend Syria against direct US and Israeli aggression, but also have played a major role over more than a decade, along with Russia, in thwarting attempts by pro-imperialist jihadist proxies trying to reproduce the destruction of Libya by such proxies, and actual US, British and French intervention forces, in 2011 and after. It is now quite well known that Al Qaeda and ISIS reactionary jihadists have when wounded been given medical treatment by Israel.  The Israeli Islamophobic propaganda offensive against Hamas, accusing them of being akin to Daesh/IS, that they have waged since Oct 7th at the very least, can be defined according to the traditional Jewish term chutzpah, a classic rendering of which is the story of the man who murdered both his parents and then attempted to plead for mercy because he was now an orphan.

The Israeli attack was part not only of its current genocidal campaign against the people of Gaza, but also of this attempt to destabilise and destroy Syria. Iran is now de-facto an ally of Russia and China, both implicitly through its membership of the BRICS bloc, which it joined in January, but also though its membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Council. In that sense, this in turn carries echoes of not merely an anti-Iran agenda from the Zionist genocidaire regime, but also of an anti-Russian, anti-Chinese agenda that merges with the Zionist regime’s more traditional hatreds and obsessions, of Palestinians – of Muslim, Christian and other creeds — other local Arab peoples, and Arabs and other Muslim peoples more generally. Attacks on both Mosques and Churches during the genocide in Gaza, most notably the Al Aqsa Mosque itself, certainly indicate that. All these reactionary missions merge into one in terms of Israel’s attacks on Iran’s presence in Syria. And these occurrences, though they have some autonomy, fit in with the wider drive towards generalised conflict between the forces loyal to the US, seeking to preserve its worldwide imperialist hegemony, and those forces led by Russia and China seeking to reduce the US to just one part of a ‘multipolar world’.

Zionism Facing Defeat

The real nature of Israel is eminently visible in the genocidal murder of over 40,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the prison breakout of 7th October, the deliberate creation of a deadly famine through the blocking of food, water and fuel to Gaza, publicly announced in advance by the Israeli regime, by the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, healthcare, education facilities, etc., and the deliberate displacement through mass terrorisation of the overwhelming majority of its 2.3 million people. As well as the creeping extension of the methods Israel is using in Gaza to the West Bank and the massive wave of arrests, detentions, settler and state killings and ethnic cleansing that is escalating there also.

But the problem is that for all the genocidal slaughter it has carried out over the last six months, Israel is not winning in Gaza. It has failed to eliminate and defeat Hamas, instead its cowardly army has contented itself with massacring defenceless civilians, while absurdly claiming that it has no choice because Hamas supposedly hides among them as ‘human shields’. This has been the most reported and documented genocidal slaughter in history, even though Israel has murdered many journalists to try to suppress the news coming out. They have been unable to do so because of the ubiquity of social media and camera/mobile phone technology. Israel itself is not stable: there have been huge protests against Netanyahu’s overt corruption, his handling of the ‘hostage’ crisis, and the far-right nature of his regime over the last few months, even though much of it is on a chauvinist basis and does not touch the oppression of the Palestinian people. But the genocidal outrages in Gaza have given rise to the biggest worldwide protest movement in history, with many millions on the streets in countries worldwide, and billions behind them, in the Muslim world from the Maghreb to Indonesia, wider in East Asia, in Latin America, and in the imperialist countries of Western Europe and North America.

Huge Palestine Solidarity march to Israeli Embassy in London, February 2024

In some places these have led to workers’ solidarity actions, in other places, such as Yemen and now Iran, the mass solidarity of millions has had a military counterpart as armed actions have been taken against Israel by governments driven by solidarity with the Palestinians. The Houthi blockade of the Red Sea has cost Israel, and Western companies and governments who trade with Israel, many billions of dollars in lost revenue.  The prison breakout on October 7th forced Israel to evacuate many of its civilians from a wide area near Gaza. So-far sporadic hostilities with Hizbullah forces in the North have also forced large-scale evacuation of the Northern strip of Israel, near the Lebanese border. Netanyahu gambled on the attack on the Damascus Iranian consulate to escalate the war in order to hide the failures of the IDF forces in Gaza, but the result of this action appears to have forced the withdrawal of most of the IDF forces from the Gaza strip, apart from a smaller contingent that splits the strip in two and prevents those driven into the South of Gaza by the earlier bombardment and mass slaughter returning to the North.

The attack on the Damascus Embassy caused a major problem for both US imperialism, and its Biden administration on the one hand, and Israel and the Netanyahu fragile war coalition on the other. The US ruling class is divided about how to handle Iran, and that division has been evident for several years. Obama’s Iran deal, which placed limitations on Iran’s development of nuclear power technology, supposedly to stop its development of nuclear weapons, in exchange for a lifting of long-standing US sanctions, is one manifestation of this. Netanyahu and the Israel lobby played a major role in agitating in US bourgeois politics against this deal: recall Netanyahu’s address attacking Obama’s deal to a joint session of Congress in 2015 where the conduct of US politicians was described by the eminent anti-Zionist US Jewish commentator Norman Finkelstein as like “demented Jack-in-the-Boxes”.  They gave Netanyahu something like 26 standing ovations!

Trump’s far-right election campaign in 2016 was bankrolled by Likud through the gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, who was Trump’s biggest funder. As Likud wanted, Trump tore up Obama’s Iran deal and implemented the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. This had been pushed through by the Israel lobby more than 20 years earlier but kicked into the long grass by Clinton, Bush and Obama because it was irrational from the standpoint of US imperialism. He also formally recognised Israel’s annexation of Golan, the Jordan Valley, and East Jerusalem, which again previous US administrations had refrained from because they had no particular interest in doing so. The Trump administration thus gave a major boost to the power of the already-very-powerful Zionist lobby in the US. Though Trump was defeated by Biden’s Democrats in 2020, the cowardly and reactionary nature of the Democrats mean that they hardly dared challenge what Trump had done.

Though there has been a half-hearted attempt to revive Obama’s Iran deal, nothing else has changed in that regard, and Biden is still trying to shaft the Palestinians by completing Trump’s ‘Abraham Accords’ to supposedly ‘normalise’ Israeli relations with conservative Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is the massive exposure of the Gaza genocide and the mass rage this has generated in the whole Arab world, and wider developments such as the growth of BRICS, which Saudi Arabia and the UAE joined this year, which have made this problematic, not anything Biden has done to break with Trump’s far-right Zionism.

US Imperialism Wavers

However, the Gaza genocide and its massive exposure has caused massive political damage to the US, and the Biden administration is facing elections in the Autumn. As things stand, Biden is massively losing support from liberal and labor-inclined elements who traditionally support the Democrats, even though the way the deeply undemocratic US electoral system is designed makes it extremely difficult, in fact at present impossible, for a new political force to get on ballots to oppose both foul parties. Nevertheless, this makes the Democrats likely to lose to Trump, a mess of their own making, and that of the US ruling class, whose world imperialist hegemony is collapsing.

It is not clear whether the pullout of the bulk of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip is the result of US pressure on Israel, or of Israeli fears of facing Iran with most of its military bogged down in a quagmire. But it is clear that this diversionary escalation tactic in fact is bringing Israeli defeat in Gaza closer because Israel does not have the resources to carry on in Gaza and take on Iran, Hizbullah, etc. Palestinians have been quoted as saying that the night Israel had to deal with Iran’s retaliatory strikes was the first night since October 7th when they have not had to contend with massive Israeli air attacks on them. It has also been reported that the single night of Iranian retaliatory strike not only was the largest drone strike in history (so far), but also cost Israel over $1 billion dollars to deal with.

 In a statement issued on the day, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in welcoming the Iranian action, wrote that:

“…the legitimate Iranian response broke the prestige of the Zionist entity, revealing its fragility and inability to defend itself or restore its deterrence power. At the same time, it confirmed the ability of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the resistance factions to deliver painful strikes to the Zionist entity, deepening its internal crisis due to its inability to achieve any of its goals in eliminating the resistance in the Gaza Strip or stopping the strikes directed at it by the resistance in Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq.

“…the rush of the American administration and its partners in Britain, France, Germany, and some of their Arab tails in the region to use all their defensive weapons to try to protect the Zionist entity from the Iranian missiles and drones confirms the involvement of these parties in the Zionist crimes in the region, especially in Gaza. It also reveals that this Zionist entity has suffered a strategic defeat, has become humiliated and weak, and is unable to protect itself, now imploring its allies to take on this role.

“… the unprecedented Iranian strikes, the first of their kind in history against the Zionist entity, represent an important turning point in the battle of the Al-Aqsa Flood and in favour of the resistance factions. The repercussions of this strike will have pressing effects on the Zionist entity to stop its genocidal war on the Gaza Strip after the American administration and its allies realized that any escalation in the region would lead to a regional war where their bases and interests will not be safe, nor will the Zionist entity be able to defend itself after the collapse of its deterrence power and its humiliating defeat in front of the resistance in Gaza and other fronts.

The Israeli gamble on trying to provoke a regional, or world war, to negate its defeat in Gaza, may well be forlorn. The US is losing its world hegemony, and that is clear in other conflicts apart from those in West Asia. Particularly in Ukraine, where their proxy Ukrainian client is facing imminent collapse, and the strains on NATO resulting from this are such that European imperialist powers, fearing a collapse in US commitment to NATO under a Trump presidency due to isolationism, are fantasising about intervening in Ukraine on a bilateral basis, effectively outside the NATO framework. The Zionist lobby have in the past congratulated themselves in getting the US to fight its wars for it, but at this point the US seems to be somewhat paralysed. It was prepared to use its technological resources to prevent Israel’s own Iron Dome defence system being overwhelmed by a combined assault from the Axis of Resistance, but hesitates to participate in an actual Israeli attack on Iran.

And it certainly does not appear keen on the wilder ambitions for world war and the ‘Masada Complex’ that may well be harboured by Netanyahu and his even more far-right cohorts, like Smotrich or Ben Gvir, to use nuclear weapons against its opponents in West Asia, with Iran a particularly hated potential target.  It is worth noting that Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who is now a particularly enlightened commentator on geopolitics and the Russia question, has surmised that even though Iran does not possess nuclear weapons (by religious conviction, according to Ayatollah Khamenei), it nevertheless is now able to shelter under the Russian/Chinese nuclear umbrella by virtue of its membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Council, and equally importantly, its provision of drone technology to Russia for use in defending the Donbass.  This may well blunt the temptation for the US to act on Israel’s behalf against Iran even more. It is still possible that Israel’s nuclear arsenal may be used in such a conflict, but if so, they really could not expect impunity either.

There appears to have been a considerable exodus from Israel by parts of the Jewish population who have lost confidence in the stability and ability to prevail of Israel against the native people of the Levant. The October 7th action by Hamas was a huge defeat for Israel, not in strictly military terms, as they regained control of ‘their’ territory within a few days and forced the insurgents to flee back to the Gaza Strip. But it was a political defeat, as the division between Gaza and the adjacent areas of Israel is artificial and purely a product of ethnic cleaning and previous atrocities and massacres of the Arab civilian population. The vaunted stability of the Zionist colonisation was exposed as being built on sand. The only solution that the Zionists could envisage for that political problem was a genocidal one – the extermination of the ‘uppity’ population that had dared to defy the place allocated to it by the colonisers.

But that in turn has exposed the nature of Zionism to the whole world, and irrevocably destroyed its political reputation. The only justification that the Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie and its camp followers were able to propagate for the increasingly visible crimes of their state was that Israel was in some way an atonement for the Nazi genocide of Jews. The element of racist injustice that Arabs, entirely outside the European continent where the genocide took place, should have to supposedly pay for the crimes of Europeans against the mainly Ashkenazi European Jewish population, was passed over in silence by the same Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie and its European and North American camp followers and cult worshippers, in the last three quarters of a century or so. But the decisive exposure of the genocidal nature of the Zionist project by the Gaza genocide witnessed by the world over the last 6th months is an irrevocable defeat. Never again, as the perpetrator of genocide itself, will it be able to trade on the bastardisastion of the Nazi genocide to excuse its crimes. That ship has sailed. The developing exodus of Jewish colonists from Israel could well, as Ritter has pointed out, point to a coming collapse of the settler entity as to make the democratic demand for a single polity based on full political equality, a democratic demand capable of being implemented in practice.

A major defeat for Zionism and Western imperialism, particularly US imperialism, is taking shape. However, the strategic goals of these forces have not changed, and the working class needs to be on its guard for further reckless and destructive actions from these forces, and above all to struggle for the full liberation of the Palestinian people from Zionist genocidal oppression.

Defeat Zionism. Defend Iran and the Axis of Resistance from Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen. Destroy the Zionist State – for full equality and democratic rights for all in a workers Palestine. For permanent revolution across West Asia – for working class power!

US/British/French/EU imperialists – out of West Asia!