Dem 51
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Israel Bombs Iran

Details are still scarce, but late last night, Israel apparently fired at least one missile at the Isfahan region of Iran. Obviously, this is the latest move in the game of tit-for-tat that the two nations have been playing for several weeks (and, really, for several generations).

We do not presume to know what motivated the Israelis, but we can pass along the two most common explanations that are floating around. The less damning is that the internal politics of the nation demanded a response to the recent Iranian missile attack. The more damning is that PM Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, and members of the war cabinet in general, know they are likely to be voted out of office once hostilities subside, and so they want to keep the hostilities going for as long as is possible.

In any event, with international support for Israel shakier than it's been in a long time, Netanyahu & Co. are playing a dangerous game here. Should this become a broader war, with Iran and the various militant groups it backs joining in, full-throttle, things could get very, very ugly. Presumably the U.S. and U.K. would rally to the defense of Israel, but while that was a 100% certainty in years past, it's not 100% right now.

Meanwhile, this is not great news for Joe Biden. His early-in-the-week statecraft was enough to get Israel to delay a response, but clearly wasn't enough to persuade them to forgo a response entirely. If this does devolve into a broader regional conflict, you don't need us to tell you that's very problematic for his reelection hopes. (Z)

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