Attack on Iran's consulate in Syria: what comes next?

Seven members of the Iranian Quds Force, the branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps responsible for foreign operations, were killed on Monday in an airstrike on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus. Two generals were among the casualties. Tehran has blamed Israel and threatened to retaliate. Israel has not yet commented. Europe's press fears an escalation in the conflict.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Israel's motives unclear

Der Standard does not rule out the possibility of further military escalation between Israel and Iran:

“In Tehran, the mullah regime is swearing it will retaliate. For its part Israel seems to be less and less afraid of escalation. It remains unclear whether this is due to the certainty that Iran - also in view of the US's threats - will not risk a full-scale war against Israel, or whether the opinion is gaining ground in Israel that a completely new situation must be brought about not only in the Gaza Strip but also in Lebanon and Syria.”

Adevărul (RO) /

One step away from war

Adevărul columnist Stefan Vlaston discusses the likelihood of escalation:

“Even if a piece of the Iranian state was destroyed in the incident, the Iranian army's hands remain tied because it is inferior to the Israeli army. On the other hand, if Iran does not attempt to respond militarily to the Israeli operation now, it will lose what little credibility it still has because its territory was directly attacked. ... An Iranian missile attack against Israel would force Israel to respond in kind, either with missiles or with its air force, which is far superior to that of Iran. From there it is only a step to an Israeli-Iranian war.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Also in the West's interest

De Telegraaf welcomes the attack:

“Iran and Hezbollah swear revenge, but at the same time they now know that their terrorist leaders are no longer safe anywhere. This message from Israel is also in the interests of the West. Security services had been warning of the growing threat of Iranian terror recently. In Europe, members of criminal gangs are being recruited to target opponents of the ayatollahs. ... In view of the threat, it is incomprehensible that the European Union continues to refuse to put the Revolutionary Guard on the terrorist list. ... The EU is proving to be deaf and blind to the danger.”

Večernji list (HR) /

The Israeli Nero

The attack in Damascus is just Netanyahu's latest diversionary tactic, Večernji list writes:

“Many commentators agree that Benjamin Netanyahu is doing everything he can to inflame the situation in the Middle East because he is under huge pressure both at home - where more than a hundred thousand Israelis took to the streets on the weekend to demand his resignation - and abroad. Netanyahu has already lost the unqualified support of Israel's partners, who are demanding that he stop the bloodshed in Gaza. But he knows that he would certainly end up behind bars should the war come to an end, as the Israeli courts are just waiting to reopen the corruption case against him. ... Many Israelis call him the 'Israeli Nero' - a reference to the emperor who set fire to Rome.”

The Times (GB) /

Netanyahu will not be brought into the fold

The Israeli PM is increasingly becoming a problem for the US, The Times comments:

“Mr Netanyahu has now shown Washington that he is not to be circumscribed, and will strike at any enemies he perceives as a threat. Few in Washington will quarrel with the choice of target. Zahedi was the most senior Iranian leader of the armed wing of the Revolutionary Guard after General Qasem Soleimani, killed by a US drone strike in Iraq in 2020. ... Attacking a diplomatic mission abroad is nevertheless a risk for Israel. At least some of the Arab world will believe Iran's assertion that it was planned and sanctioned by Washington. This further damages US credibility.”