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McFate Discusses Tensions Between Iran and Israel with Business Insider, Global News

April 15, 2024

Business Insider,Global News

Sean McFate

Sean McFate

On Saturday, Iran launched missiles and drones against Israel in what officials from Iran described as retaliation for the airstrike on the country's consulate in Syria nearly two weeks ago—despite warnings from the Biden administration. The U.S. anticipated that Iran would strike back, but it was only a matter of when and how. 

Iran's brazen dismissal of Biden's warning may be the result of a series of inconsistent strategic moves from the U.S. with its handling of the Israel-Gaza war, Sean McFate, adjunct professor in Maxwell's Washington programs, tells Business Insider.

Iran's retaliation was a way to show the international stage that the country had a backbone after Israel's airstrike in Damascus, says McFate. But, more broadly, Saturday's attack shows just how effective Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel was at stoking chaos in the Middle East, he says.

McFate was also interviewed on Global News Canada. “This has been a long time coming,” McFate says. “Israel and Iran have been basically at each other’s throats since the early 1980s when Iran created Hezbollah in Lebanon to defeat Israel. And Iran has had a long strategy of using proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen to attack Israel,” he says.

“And in response, Israel has attacked back. But it’s always been in the shadows. And for the last ten years Iran and Israel have been fighting each other across Syria in this shadow war. This is really the first time we’ve seen this shadow war bubble up into plain daylight. And it’s one of the most dangerous times between Israel and Iran in recent history,” says McFate. 

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