UK, France, Germany Join Biden's Call For Israel's Restraint While Russia Defends Iran's Strike As 'Self-Defense'

As Israel's war cabinet again meets Monday to debate how to respond to Iran's first-ever direct attack on Israel, intense international reaction continues, with leading European countries joining the Biden White House in urging restraint. The United Kingdom, France and Germany have condemned the weekend Iranian attack which saw hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles target Israel, but they are warning against an Israeli counterattack, saying that this would assure that an all out war-is sparked. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said that while Israel's mulling a military response is understandable and justified, the country must "think with its head as well as its heart, to be smart as well as tough."

Cameron told BBC the UK's position is that Israel will be better to not retaliate because the Saturday night attack was a "double defeat" for Iran in that its assault failed to result in major damage despite over 350 projectiles launched, and that at the same time Tehran is coming under world condemnation and isolation. Cameron said the aggression has revealed "to the world that [Iran is] the malign influence in the region prepared to do this."

uk france germany join bidens call for israels restraint while russia defends irans strike as self defense
Via Al Jazeera

This is consistent with Biden's words to Prime Minister Netanyahu in the Saturday overnight hours when he told the Israeli leader to "take the win" and don't retaliate. The US is hoping Israeli decisions-makers "slow things down" at this point to avoid spiraling into major war. Washington has also affirmed it will not back any Israeli military action against Iran.

French President Emmanuel Macron also acknowledged to a French outlet Monday that the situation is "very unstable" and that Israel must show restraint. "We will do everything to avoid a conflagration," he said to BFMTV news channel.

But Iran has accused Britain, France, and Germany of "double standards" after they all condemned the Iranian attack. On Sunday Iran’s foreign ministry summoned their ambassadors over the "irresponsible stance", according to the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency.

Iran has further once again lashed out at the UN Security Council, pointing out that it failed to condemn the April 1st Israeli aggression against its consulate in Damascus which killed two top generals and several others. "The Security Council... failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security," Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said during Sunday's session. 

He said his country "had no choice" but to react in a "necessary and proportionate" and proportionate way while still asserting the Islamic Republic does not  "seek escalation or war." However, he underscored that "If the US initiates military operations against Iran, its citizens, or its security and interests, Iran will use its inherent right to respond proportionately."

Russia too has called for restraint, but defended Iranian actions as done in self-defense. "We have repeatedly warned that the numerous unresolved crises in the Middle East, primarily in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone, which are often fueled by irresponsible provocative actions, will lead to an increase in tension," its foreign ministry said.

Unlike the West, Russia firmly condemned the prior Israeli attack on Iran's sovereign embassy:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday held phone talks with Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov reiterated "decisive condemnation" of an Israeli strike in Syria this month that killed Iranian generals.

Russia has previously condemned Israel's conduct in its six-month war in Gaza.

Regional media noted of Moscow's stance: "Russia noted Tehran’s claim that the attack was made within the right to self-defense after the strike in Damascus, which Moscow condemned."

uk france germany join bidens call for israels restraint while russia defends irans strike as self defense
Israel's war cabinet meets, Anadolu via Getty Images

Interestingly, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said on Telegram that "America does not want a big war in the Middle East" as "The killings in Gaza worsen Biden’s prospects in the elections, and war between Israel and Iran would introduce additional uncertainty."

The below is some additional commentary via Bill Blain and his Morning Porridge blog...

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But, of course, the big issue is the Middle East.

Markets don’t like uncertainty – even though uncertain markets often offer the best opportunities. The current wisdom is that it’s all utterly dependent on how Israel responds – will they go big with an all-out strike on Iran bases and its nuclear capability, or will they take the apparent win Iran granted them over the weekend?

There has been something of the sense of a well-choregraphed dance between Israel and Iran circling each other over recent weeks and months – very aware it’s not what is done, but how actions are perceived. Everyone expected the well-flagged Iran attack over the weekend. That’s why Oil prices barely wobbled. After a few words of predictable fury, this morning there are signs an Israeli stand down might be on the cards – which would favor markets. Doesn’t mean it’s over – revenge is oft a dish best tasted cold and considered.

The weekend strikes gave Israel a tactical win. After Israel took out key Iranian generals in a pinpoint surgical missile strike on Iran’s embassy in Damascus, over 300 Iranian missiles, drones and rockets rained down, mostly in broken bits over deserts outside Israeli borders, swotted out the skies by Western and Israeli defence tech. Iron Dome and other systems were shown to work effectively.

But, strategically it might be a win for the Iran/China/Russia Axis. The strike’s apparent abject failure may have been exactly what the Iranian war planners expected. They would be very aware of how Russian drone and missile strikes have fared in Ukraine. The attack would have provided valuable information by forcing Israel to reveal just how effective their top of the range tech defences are at a time when global opinion meant there was a significantly reduced likelihood of a devasting Israeli counterstrike.

The Russians will be factoring countermeasures garnered from the strike into their current glide missile assaults, while the Chinese will already be pouring over the data to determine the practicalities of taking out similarly protected US carrier task forces in the South China Seas at some future date.

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Authored by Tyler Durden via ZeroHedge April 15th 2024