A Palestinian man walks through the rubble of his shop which was destroyed in an Israeli strike, in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip March 31, 2024.

Khamenei Advisor Says Russia And Iran Winners Of Gaza War

Saturday, 04/06/2024

Russia has found “a good opportunity in the Gaza war,” which has overshadowed the war in Ukraine, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the top military advisor of Iran Supreme Leader, stated on Friday.

Iran’s state media quoted Safavi as saying that Russia has been able to consolidate its hold over occupied territories since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel that unleashed the Gaza war.

Ali Khamenei’s advisor also reiterated statements by other Islamic Republic officials that Israel is losing the Gaza war, and the United States is losing power and influence in the Middle East.

The leaders of the clerical, military government in Iran find themselves in an uncomfortable situation since April 1, when a precision Israeli air strike killed two top Revolutionary Guard generals and five other officers in Damascus. These individuals who were apparently in charge of Tehran’s war on Israel in Lebanon and Syria, were holding a meeting in one of the buildings in Iran’s embassy compound.

Although Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other officials vowed revenge, many experts and observers believe Iran’s rulers are reluctant to undertake actions that could precipitate a wider war with Israel. But at the same time, they could lose credibility among their domestic followers and regional proxies, if they do not launch a military response.

Slain Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani (left) and Yahya Rahim Safavi, the top military advisor of Iran Supreme Leader, at an IRGC event at Tehran’s Azadi stadium in October 2018

Rahim Safavi highlighted apparent rifts between the Biden administration and the Israeli government, saying that “Differences have emerged even between the US President and the Zionist regime, to the extent that the American side has told Israel that if they don’t change their policies, America will have to change its approach.”

Israeli attacks have killed 18 senior IRGC officers since December, a trend that has become difficult to explain away by the Islamic Republic.

Aftab News, an agency close to more moderate factions in Iran, highlighted the dilemma the Iranian regime faces in the wake of the Israeli strike in Syria. In an analysis on Friday, the website wrote that previous threats of retaliation after Israel killed Iranian forces never materialized.

“It seems that a series of Israeli attacks on individuals and interests of the Islamic Republic, and the failure to fulfil the promise of ‘hard revenge,’ have increased dissatisfaction among its own forces. This dissatisfaction recently reached a peak with Israel's attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, leading to calls for a ‘decisive and swift response’ from various political spectra, especially the Revolutionary Guards,” Aftab News said.

However, numerous commentators in Tehran, who are allowed to speak to the government-controlled media, have urged a measured reaction to Israel's Monday attack, cautioning that the strike could be a ploy to draw Iran into direct conflict.

Others in Tehran argue that if the Islamic Republic fails to show a forceful response, Israel will become more emboldened and increase the intensity of its attacks. Mohammad Sadeq Kooshki is a professor in Tehran University who told Etemad News that if in the past 30 years Iran had shown reacted forcefully to Israeli provocations, today, it would be safer from attacks.

The Iranian regime is not just vulnerable because of Israeli strikes, but it has lost popularity among the majority of the people who have suffered from runaway inflation and overall economic regression. The danger of fresh unrest is ever present following repeated nationwide protests since 2017.

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