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‘Iran will not respond’: Middle East experts, dissidents comment on Damascus strike

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‘Iran will not respond’: Middle East experts, dissidents comment on Damascus strike



An alleged Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus Monday night resulted in the killing of a number of Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Quds Force generals, and it is considered one of the biggest strikes against these two Iranian organizations after the killing of Qassem Soleimani—the commander of the Iranian Quds Force—in a US airstrike in Baghdad in January 2020.

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According to Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian media loyal to Iran, the highest of these leaders is General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Syria and Lebanon. He is considered the de facto ruler of the Iranian-backed militias in Damascus and Beirut. In addition to Zahedi, among the dead were the Chief of Staff of the Revolutionary Guard, Mohammad Hadi Rahimi, General Hossein Aman Allahi, General Hossein Aman Allahi, Seyyed Mehdi Jaladati, Engineer Mohsen Sadaqat, Ali Agha Babaei, and Seyed Ali Salehi Rouzbahani, according to a statement by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Also, according to what was reported by Lebanese media close to Hezbollah, among the dead were also Muhammad Adnan Sanbour and Mustafa Suleiman, who were leaders in the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, said in a statement published by Iranian news agencies, “The malicious Zionist entity will receive its punishment at the hands of our brave men. We will make the Zionists regret the crime of attacking the Iranian consulate in Damascus and others like it.”

Members of Syrian Red Crescent work near the damaged site after what Syrian and Iranian media described as an Israeli air strike on Iran’s consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus April 1, 2024. (credit: FIRAS MAKDESI/REUTERS)

On Monday evening, the Iranian Supreme Security Council held a meeting in the presence of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after the Israeli bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus. The Secretariat of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council said, “The Council took the appropriate decisions regarding the war crime related to the Israeli bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus,” noting that the Council’s decisions were taken in a session attended by Raisi, which took place on Monday evening.

The success of the strike

Sufyan al-Samarrai, head of the Baghdad Post website, told The Media Line, “This is one of the largest strikes directed against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the Quds Force, and Hezbollah.” He continued, “This Israeli military strike was successful, and in its goal, they were involved in major war crimes in Syria and Lebanon, and they were also running an operations room to conspire against Jordan and Saudi Arabia.”

He also said, “We can only applaud this successful strike. All of Iran’s followers and militias must be eliminated so that the region can enjoy security and stability.”

Echoing the sentiment of accountability yet spotlighting the human cost, Syrian journalist Majd Kanaan told The Media Line, “These leaders were involved in the blood of the Syrian and Lebanese people, and they were planning to destroy several countries in the region.”

“The Khomeini regime in Iran is experiencing its worst period. It is in unnatural humiliation and cannot respond, even though Israel is only a few hundred kilometers away from Damascus, and they have large forces stationed in the Syrian capital.”

He added, “The most we will see is bombing some empty American bases in Iraq. This is all they can do.”

Bridging perspectives on the aftermath, Saudi political analyst Enad Al-Shamrani told The Media Line, “Striking the heads of sedition and terrorism is a popular demand. These are not leaders for liberating Jerusalem, but leaders for occupying Arab capitals.”

“General Zahedi was the responsible person in Syria, and we can say that he is the de facto ruler of Syria, but now he has been killed, and we do not know who will come after him.” He added: “The second row of Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Quds Force generals are not as efficient as the leaders of the first row, of whom there are only a few remaining.”

According to Al-Shamrani, “The Gulf countries were not far from targeting the leaders of the Revolutionary Guard, and they are truly criminals.”

Amid discussions of the strike’s strategic ramifications, Ahmed Al-Shibl, a member of Hezbollah in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, told The Media Line, “So far, there are no orders to respond to Israeli attacks.”

“These martyred leaders were killed because they were defending the truth with our brothers in Gaza. They were fighting the Zionist enemy, and that is why Israel targeted them.”

“The blood of the martyrs will not be shed,” he continued. “We will respond decisively against America, Israel, the evil triangle, and all the traitors and Zionists who help them, and our response will be decisive.”

He added, “We all go in sacrifice for the leaders. These are spiritual leaders before they are field commanders. The resistance does not abandon the blood of its martyrs.”

Intensifying the call for retribution, Hussain Khozam, an Iranian political activist, told The Media Line, “The Islamic resistance will not remain silent regarding these attacks. The response will be decisive against all Israeli interests, just as the response will be decisive from the resistance in Gaza.”

He continued, “These martyrs gave their lives in service of religion and to defend the oppressed in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Yemen. The resistance’s response will be decisive.”

In contrast, Mohammad Shazar, a Syrian dissident, told The Media Line, “Iran will not respond. All it will do is a few missiles that its militias will launch toward American bases in Iraq, and perhaps Saudi Arabia or even Jordan.”

Omar Banbih, an Iranian affairs specialist, told The Media Line, “The strike was painful for the Iranians. It is a fact that stopped many of its plans in Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and even the Gulf states.”

He continued, “Israel may have wanted to divert attention from its recent bombing of medical complexes in Gaza, and that is why it killed Iranian leaders who did not participate directly in the war in Gaza but rather committed other crimes in the Arab world.”





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Iranian FM: Israeli weapons are ‘toys for our children to play with’

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Iranian FM: Israeli weapons are ‘toys for our children to play with’



Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian joked a day after Israel’s strikes in Iran that the weapons used were “more like toys that our children play with – not drones,” according to a Saturday article from Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency. 

Making the comments in an interview with NBC News, Abdollahian said “As long as there is no new adventurism by Israel against our interests, then we are not going to have any new reactions.”

Threats against Israel

“If Israel takes a decisive action against my country and this is proven to us,” he said, “our response will be immediate and to the maximum and will cause them to regret it.”

The foreign minister went on to threaten that his comments were only a warning, and that “We could have hit Haifa and Tel Aviv… We could have also targeted all the economic ports of Israel.” 

The IDF displays an Iranian ballistic missile which they retrieved from the Dead Sea after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, at Julis military base, in southern Israel April 16, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Abdollahian said that the only reason that Iran had not successfully hit Haifa, Tel Aviv or any major port was because Iran’s “red lines [were] civilians…We only had a military purpose.”

A 7-year-old Arab girl was killed during Iran’s mass drone attack which saw hundreds of UAVs and multiple ballistic missiles fired seemingly randomly at Israel. While few Iranian aerial assault weapons successfully hit Israel, one hit a northern Arab village and one hit Arad- which is where the 7-year-old girl was killed. 





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White House urges Congress to quickly send foreign aid bill to Biden’s desk

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White House urges Congress to quickly send foreign aid bill to Biden’s desk



Passing the national security supplemental bills would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment, the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement released Friday morning as the House continues debates on rules for proceeding with the bills. 

The supplemental funding package provides long overdue funding to support Ukraine as it continues defending itself against Russia’s brutal war of aggression. Ukraine must prevail, the White House said. 

This supplemental funding also helps Israel protect its people against Hamas and Iran and its other proxies, including Hezbollah.

The White House’s statement

“It is critical that we quickly help Israel replenish its air defenses following Iran’s recent brazen and unprecedented attack and ensure Israel maintains its military edge against Iran or any other adversary,” according to the statement. 

A MURAL in Tel Aviv depicts US President Joe Biden as a superhero defending Israel against the Iranian attack. On the strategic level, Israel suffered a whopping loss as Iran pierced American and Israeli deterrence frameworks with apparent impunity, the writer maintains. (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

The funding would also provide urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance for Palestinian civilians in Gaza and vulnerable people suffering around the world, the statement said, as well as critical support to Indo-Pacific partners. 

“The world is watching what the Congress does,” the White House said. “The Administration urges both chambers of the Congress to quickly send this supplemental funding package to the President’s desk.”





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American money ear-marked for PA security used to pay families of terrorists from Jenin – report

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American money ear-marked for PA security used to pay families of terrorists from Jenin – report



The Palestinian Authority’s General Security Service (GIS) has apparently admitted to using American money earmarked for security to pay the family of terrorists from Jenin, according to a Palestinian Media Watch report.

According to the report, on April 4, 2024, PA news agency WAFA published that the GIS in Jenin had given a grant to “the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners from the service’s ranks in the district.”

The GIS gave grants to around 36 families from among the “martyrs and prisoners.”

The vast majority of those identified as “martyrs” or “prisoners” were members of the GIS who had committed acts of terror, according to the PMW.

The grant was given at the direction of PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who emphasized a core principle of Mahmoud Abbas: “If we are left with one penny, it will be paid to the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners.”

Taylor Force, 29, was killed by a Palestinian terrorist who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa on March 8, 2016 (credit: FACEBOOK)

Taylor Force Act

The US had all but ceased providing funds for the PA after the implementation of the 2017 Taylor Force Act, which blocked all funding for the PA general budget.

The act was named for Taylor Force, an American citizen killed in a terror attack in 2016, where the attacker’s family received money from the PA’s pay-for-slay program.

The exception to this was the funding of the PA’s security sector, which received around $45 million in 2022, according to the State Department’s website.

The PMW says that this money was then used to not only provide funds for terrorists and their families but also to train PA security forces, many of whom end up involved in terrorism, according to PA statements in 2023.

The PMW charge that US funds are now being used to directly fund and train terrorists in the West Bank.





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