Iran’s Nightmares

Details of the recent limited Israeli retaliatory strike against Iranian anti-aircraft missile batteries at Isfahan are still sketchy. But nonetheless, we can draw some conclusions.

Israel’s small volley of missiles hit their intended targets, to the point of zeroing in on the very launchers designed to stop such incoming ordnance.

The target was near the Natanz enrichment facility. That proximity was by design. Israel showed Iran it could take out the very anti-missile battery designed to thwart an attack on its nearby nuclear facility.

The larger message sent to the world was that Israel could send a retaliatory barrage at Iranian nuclear sites with reasonable assurances that the incoming attacks could not be stopped. By comparison, Iran’s earlier attack on Israel was much greater and more indiscriminate. It was also a huge flop, with an estimated 99 percent of the more than 320 drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles failing to hit their planned targets.

Moreover, it was reported that more than 50 percent of Iran’s roughly 115-120 ballistic missiles failed at launch or malfunctioned in flight.

Collate these facts, and it presents a disturbing corrective to Iran’s non-stop boasts of soon possessing a nuclear arsenal that will obliterate the Jewish state.

Consider further the following nightmarish scenarios: Were Iranian nuclear-tipped missiles ever launched at Israel, they could pass over, in addition to Syria and Iraq, either Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, or all four. In the cases of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, such trajectories would constitute an act of war, especially considering that some of Iran’s recent aerial barrages were intercepted and destroyed over Arab territory well before they reached Israel.

Iran’s strike prompted Arab nations, the US, the UK, and France to work in concert to destroy almost all of Iran’s drones. For Iran, that is a premonition of the sort of sophisticated aerial opposition it might face if it ever decided to stage a nuclear version.

Even if half of Iran’s ballistic missiles did launch successfully, only a handful apparently neared their intended targets—in sharp contrast to Israel’s successful attack on Iranian missile batteries. Is it thus conceivable that any Iranian-nuclear-tipped missile launched toward Israel might pose as great a threat to Iran itself or its neighbors as to Israel?

And even if such missiles made it into the air and even if they successfully traversed Arab airspace, there is still an overwhelming chance they would be neutralized before detonating above Israel.

Any such launch would warrant an immediate Israeli response. And the incoming bombs and missiles would likely have a 100 percent certainty of evading Iran’s countermeasures and hitting their targets.

Now that the soil of both Iran and Israel is no longer sacred and immune from attack, the mystique of the Iranian nuclear threat has dissipated.

It should be harder for the theocracy to shake down Western governments for hostage bribes, sanctions relief, and Iran-deal giveaways on the implied threat of Iran successfully nuking the Jewish state.

The new reality is that Iran has goaded an Israel that has numerous nuclear weapons and dozens of nuclear-tipped missiles in hardened silos and on submarines. Tehran has zero ability to stop any of these missiles or sophisticated fifth-generation Israeli aircraft armed with nuclear bombs and missiles.

Iran must now fear that if it launched 2-3 nuclear missiles, there would be overwhelming odds that they would either fail at launch, go awry in the air, implode inside Iran, be taken down over Arab territory by Israel’s allies, or be knocked down by the tripartite Israel anti-missile defense system.

Add it all up, and the Iranian attack on Israel seems a historic blunder. It showed the world the impotence of an Iranian aerial assault at the very time it threatens to go nuclear. It revealed that an incompetent Iran may be as much a threat to itself as to its enemies. It opened up a new chapter in which its own soil, thanks to its attack on Israel, is no longer off limits to any Western power.

Its failure to stop a much smaller Israel response, coupled with the overwhelming success of Israel and its allies in stopping a much larger Iranian attack, reminds the Iranian autocracy that its shrill rhetoric is designed to mask its impotence and to hide its own vulnerabilities from its enemies.

And the long-suffering Iranian people?

The truth will come out that its own theocracy hit the Israeli homeland with negligible results and earned a successful, though merely demonstrative, Israeli response in return.

So Iranians will learn their homeland is now vulnerable and, for the future, no longer off limits.

And they will conclude that Israel has more effective allies than Iran and that their own ballistic missiles may be more suicidal than homicidal.

As a result, they may conclude that the real enemies of the Iranian nation are not the Jewish people of Israel after all, but their own unhinged Islamist theocrats.


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42 thoughts on “Iran’s Nightmares”

  1. My only concern is that Iran’s theocratic leaders may not be restrained by rational concepts like Mutually Assured Destruction. They might consider provoking a nuclear annihilation of their own people to be, at worst, a glorious martyrdom.


    I worry more about Iran using a “suitcase nuke” of the kind described in spy thrillers than missiles. The delivery method is practically invulnerable to defenses like those that can destroy missiles, and the result can be just as effective in terms of the mullahs’ goals.

  3. Jeffrey J Munks

    Another cogent analysis of the situation over there. Thanks, Dr. Hanson.

    As to the Iranian proxy threat within our borders that is currently stirring foment on the campuses of our once great universities, federal authorities should be rounding them all up, holding them for six months during which time they should be checked for visa status. Those who are here on student or work or other visas should, at the end of six months, be immediately deported and banned from ever setting foot in the U.S. again. Those that are home grown should be sentenced to a year in a special “re-education” camp where they would spend all day, every day, in a classroom reading your columns and learning the real history of the country that provides them home and succor.

    1. why incurhe expense of keeping htem here six months? Six HOURS should be enough to verify their visa satus. If they do not have legal status, put them on a one way flight back to from whence they slinked over here. WHY feed and house and protect ehm here for si months shen six hours will do.. and is far cheaper. Don’t waste a plugged nickel on the louts.

    2. I don’t disagree, but the problem with “should” is that it is not “shall” and never will be with these anti-American, spineless “American politicians and bureaucrats.

  4. I thought the very same thing the moment the reports came in. Like an overly aggressive yelping little dog that can be stamped out with a single footstep squash. And now everyone, including Iran, knows it. Changes the entire Middle East geopolitical calculus. And most importantly, it’s “good news” which is extremely rare these days.

    Nice article Victor.

  5. Iran certainly has the bomb or could assemble one in days. We know they have 60% enriched uranium and probably higher stuff. Anything over 20% is weapons usable; it doesn’t have to be weapons grade (over 90%). What stops them from sending one into the port of Tel Aviv or New York by container ship? They have insane allies everywhere; they may not know how to do sophisticated areal attacks but they know how to smuggle, lie, cheat, and hide.

  6. VDH – as usual, perfectly accurate analysis of the recent hostilities in the Middle East. Keep tellin’ it like it is.
    One thing that stands out for me is the answer given by our Commander in Chief and Vice President when asked by the press what their response would be to the Iranians for a preemptive strike: “Don’t.” Like a mother scolding her eight-year-old not to touch the cookie jar. But the eight-year-old ignores the instruction and grabs two Oreos anyway. Is that really all they can come up with? I can’t imagine Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR or Richard Nixon ever responding in such a thoughtless manner.

    1. Proof tha we are in far more serious trouble than most will readily admit. our current Heads Poohbah are a sorry lot, devoid of character or capability. At times I believe they are a far greater threat to our security than pipsqueak mice that roar.

  7. William Jasper

    Victor, I am a huge fan but sometimes I think you can be myopic, misinformed or misled. See Scott Ritter’s work. The Iranian strike was meant to deplete the capacity (inventory) of the Iron Dome, disproportionately using expensive missiles to intercept low cost missiles/drones and show that Iran could hit critical targets, not even using its best stuff. Tell me I am wrong.

    1. Richard A. Chiero

      Interesting theory, though the interceptor missiles within the Iron Dome framework known as ‘Tamir” cost as little as $40,000 each. But remember, the Dome is designed to intercept unguided missiles hurled at Israel primarily from the Hamas/Hezbollah launch pads. The Iron Dome would have been lethal in taking out the slow moving drones launched by Iran as well. It would appear that the more sophisticated, faster, guided munitions from Iran such as cruise and ballistic missiles were taken out by the combined air defenses of Israel and the adjoining countries along with the U.S., U.K., and France.

      If overburdening and depleting Iron Dome was the Iranian ploy all along (as happened on October 7 when Hamas overwhelmed Iron Dome resulting in greater Israeli losses) why hasn’t the other shoe dropped? I think as VDH points out, that the Iranian leadership and its purported military prowess is both impotent and vulnerable.

  8. Perhaps then, Iran will go back to its normal activity, of hiding behind the terrorists that it funds in the region.

  9. I believe what the IAF stuck, was not the S-300 missiles themselves, but the radar unit for the S-300s that was to be used to detect a threat and launch defensive missiles! Oops! It seems it did not detect the missile(s) coming right at it.

  10. Nobody said that the Israelis were not smart.

    Which of these combatants has a better meritocracy?

    And what is the current state of meritocratic recognition and advancement in America?

    We should be concerned. It ain’t working here. Dumb people do dumb things. Someday it catches up with you.

  11. The Iranian people oppose their oppressive government and want change. If the West supports them, there could be a new government in Iran and peace in the region. Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former Iranian king, represents their hope for a secular government that works closely with Israel and the West.

    1. Thomas O'Brien

      Hopefully, Trump if given a second term, will act on this. It is long past time that the mullahs be put totally out of business. They have threatened us and Israel far too long.

      Then Trump can build on the Abraham peace accords. As for Gaza, Hamas has signed its own death warrant. Let Israel mop them up. As for the other Iranian proxy terrorist groups that threaten Israel. Cease and desist. If not, your fate with be that of your kindred spirit, Hamas.

      All this is within our capabilities. In achieving it, a new era of peace will reign in the Middle East. Israel and moderate Arab nations will flourish.

      The time is now!

  12. As always, thank you for your insight and thoughtful presentation of the facts. I do feel sorry for the Iranian people trapped within their own country.

  13. As usual you’re correct. However, the children in our colleges don’t understand that Iran is a threat with its radical Islam. What’s happening in our college towns is all funded by Muslim terrorists with Iranian money. Thank Joe Biden for all the mess we will see this summer.

    1. May that mess prompt many to assess the present situations with wisdom, and vote accordingly.Further, prompt many kore to stand against and ACT accordingly to shut down the attempts of the provocateurs to bully and provoke.

  14. The Iran offensive WAS an embarrassment but Israel’s cautious self-restraint, Biden’s public betrayal of Israel, his failure with “Don’t,” and the massive unrest on college campuses shows that Iran is controlling the action with the tide shifting their way while they continue development.

  15. I agree that it is easy for Israel and the west to overpower Iran’s air defences. Israel and the west are much more powerful when compared to Iran and Iran’s air defences seem to be antiquated. However, don’t you think it is worrisome that a few of those handful of successfully airborne Iranian missiles (as you put it) seemed to have made it to the ground in Israel in spite of the tripartite of Israel’s air defences and the combined might of allies and neighbours?

  16. Time to get US taxpayers’ moneys worth from MidEast Peace Accords from 46 years ago at >$6billion/year to Israel and to Egypt. The IDF and Israel will not allow a nuclear weponized Iran. Slojo and his banana republic handlers will.

  17. Victor Davis Hanson single-handedly provides assurance of some stability in the Middle East.

    Thank you, sir!!

  18. It’s simply ridiculous that one country sporting Islamic jihad philosophy of 750AD is permitted to cause this much havoc, misery, bloodshed and disruption to a giant swath of the world. Especially one this militarily weak and inept.

  19. The caveat is if you are not a follower of Allah, you are an infidel and should be killed. They keep reminding us about this message through their statements to the world. Why would you believe anything else?

    As long as they have oil or something else to get weapons and the means to plan to destroy those countries or people who do not follow their philosophy. There is this constant effort to Tempt and opposing force such as Israel to hope they and others make a tragic error. They are true gorillas in warfare. The ends justify the means and if they die in the process, they are glorified to their religion. I just don’t think they care if they live or die they are definitely mentally prepared and indoctrinated to give their life for The cause. It was no different During the World War II events of kamikaze attacking US forces with a new type of weapon of a plane crashing in a ship. It’s not a rational thing to kill one self.

    If the fighting doesn’t stop by all related parties in Ukraine, Iran, Gaza and other places too numerous to list right now, a mistake could happen and the rein of Man on this planet will be over. Man has been fighting and killing for over 5000 years. What is wrong with us? We must be stupid.

  20. There is one huge issue never really addressed. Let’s assume this write-up is all true and Israel can truly stick a missile up the mullahs’ asses. Great, except Israel does not do so. Yes, maybe the recent flurry was a great first step.

    As more time goes by, Iran will likely improve their technology on their own, and/or get help from the wonderful Chinese, Russians, and/or North Koreans. All waiting does is kick the proverbial can down the proverbial road. Is Iran’s technology further along now than it was ten years ago? Of course it is. Will it be further along ten years from now than it is today? Of course it will be. Israel should strike while they have the advantage, and if ice cream Joey doesn’t like it, pray he’ll be gone and a bad memory shortly.

  21. Insightful and concise review. Very well done. Iran is now weaker than I could have ever imagined and Israel that much stronger and respected.

  22. Mark LoGiudice

    After listening to many of your interviews and lectures on line I now know why your analyses are so often exactly what I am looking for in current and past events. Rooted in a vast understanding of history, they are so well-targeted and rich in understanding.

    In my “previous life” as a musician we often used an old saying about the giants “he’s forgotten more than we’ll ever know”.

    While I have no doubts as to your memory, I truly believe the saying applies to you.

    Medicine for the brain indeed.
    Thank you sir

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