Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Targeting the Octopus’ Head

Targeting the Octopus’ Head

Wednesday, 15 June, 2022 - 06:30
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

As the chances for achieving a nuclear agreement with Iran dwindle, notable Israeli statements are being made about Tehran coming closer to acquiring nuclear weapons and Israel shifting towards a new strategy to target Iran.

“We are implementing the Octopus Doctrine,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the Economist.

“We no longer play with the tentacles, with Iran’s proxies: we’ve created a new equation by going for the head,” he added.

“The past year saw a turning point in Israel’s strategy vis-à-vis Iran,” Bennett told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last week.

“Israel has taken action against the head of the terrorist octopus and not just against the arms as was done in previous decades,” he added.

“The days of impunity are over. We are taking action, everywhere, at any time, and will continue to do so.”

It is evident that there is a noticeable escalation of Israeli operations inside Iran, not only against prominent figures linked to the nuclear program but also military personnel and lower-level scientists.

Some of these assassinations are not announced by Iran to avoid embarrassment.

“Tehran is expanding its influence around Israel, and Tel Aviv is expanding its influence deeper inside Iran,” said Eurasia Group’s Iranian affairs analyst Henry Rome, according to a quote by Asharq Al-Awsat.

The so-called “shadow war” turned into targeting the “octopus’ head.”

All of this means that the region is experiencing a moment of escalation, which may mean the outbreak of a military confrontation between Iran and Israel, perhaps unplanned.

At this point, it is necessary to talk away from emotion. In the event of a war of this kind, its repercussions will be real in the region, and what comes after it will not be the same as before, but it is expected and not surprising.

Iran has pursued its expansion in the region without a moment of political rationality.

Since 2003, Tehran has continued to escalate and play brinksmanship without fearing consequences. Qassem Soleimani, for example, before his assassination, acted as if he was the commander of the region, not a militia leader.

Not only did Iran fail to commit to any deal, but it also missed the impetus from the US.

The nuclear agreement is almost at a total stalemate, not because Iran doesn’t want an agreement, but because it cannot make honest and real decisions. The cleric-led country is blocked by a dilemma of who will be its next supreme leader and a Revolutionary Guards seeking hegemony.

Therefore, it is natural for us to reach the expected moment of confrontation, which Iran itself caused.

In our region, it has already been said to the Obama administration that there is no solution except by “cutting off the head of the snake,” not in defense of Israel, but because of Iran’s destruction of our Arab countries and its continued targeting of their security.

With the approach of targeting the head of the octopus, we are closer than ever to an Israeli-Iranian military confrontation. What is required now, and I wrote it repeatedly, is to anticipate the consequences because Iran, as usual, does not respond to Israel directly.

Whenever Israel targets Iran anywhere, Tehran either responds in Iraq, by burning Gaza and Lebanon or targeting the Gulf. Therefore, this requires preparation and vigilance.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks