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World on edge: Tensions flare as Iran attacks Israel

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published April 15,2024

In the wake of Iran's recent attack on Israel, the international community finds itself sharply divided in its response, with stark differences emerging between Western and Eastern nations.

On Saturday, the world held its breath after the unprecedented escalation, the first direct assault on Israeli soil by Iran.

The global community is bracing for the ripple effects of escalating tensions in the already turbulent Middle East with the latest developments prompting diplomatic efforts, discussions and fervent appeals for peace across continents.

Primarily, it has sparked widespread global criticism and fears of a wider conflict. Yet whereas Western nations have denounced Iran's assault, certain Eastern countries have shown differing levels of backing for Iran.

On April 1, Israel conducted an airstrike on Iran's consulate building in Damascus, Syria killing seven military advisors, including two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps generals.

Iran declared Israel's attack an assault on its territory and vowed retaliation while Israel promised a response to Iran's actions.

On Saturday, Iran launched extensive attacks on Israel utilizing kamikaze drones and cruise and ballistic missiles.

While Iran claimed hits on certain military targets, Israel asserted that most of the attacks were thwarted by its air defense systems, although a missile did strike a military base in the southern region.

West condemns Iran, backs Israel while urging restraint

Western nations were quick to condemn the Iranian attack, emphasizing solidarity with Israel.

US President Joe Biden pledged his country's support for Israel's right to self-defense. However, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also stressed that the US "does not seek conflict with Iran."

The White House also convened an emergency meeting to address the escalating Middle East tensions following Iran's attack on Israel.

Canada and Latin American nations including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico condemned Iran's aggression and expressed solidarity with Israel, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Similar sentiments echoed across Europe, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron issuing joint statements condemning Iran's actions and calling for de-escalation.

All other European leaders including those of Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Finland condemned Iran's aggression, calling for restraint and dialogue.

The European Union convened an emergency summit in Brussels where diplomats worked to craft a coordinated response, including the possibility of imposing targeted sanctions on Iran.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called the attack "a grave threat to regional security" and urged "restraint to avoid further escalation" in the region.

The United Nations Security Council also called for an emergency session.

Mixed reactions in Arab world

In the Arab world, reactions were mixed. While some nations condemned Iran's aggression, expressing solidarity with Israel, others urged caution, warning against potential fallout from the conflict, reflecting the complex geopolitical dynamics of the region.

Saudi Arabia called for calm and renewed efforts towards a diplomatic solution while reaffirming its commitment to regional stability.

The United Arab Emirates denounced Iran's aggression and supported Israel's right to self-defense.

Qatar expressed concern about the potential ramifications of the attack, calling for restraint and dialogue.

Egypt reaffirmed its commitment to regional stability, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and return to negotiations.

Other Arab countries including Jordan, Kuwait and Oman condemned the violence and called for a diplomatic solution, supporting international efforts for lasting peace in the Middle East.

Despite differing perspectives, Arab leaders emphasized collective action and cooperation to address the conflict's root causes and promote regional stability.

Key actors in East, Russia-China's stance

In contrast, Eastern nations adopted a more cautious approach, emphasizing the need for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the crisis.

Russia and China, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, called for restraint and renewed efforts towards a peaceful resolution.

Russia, which has increasingly aligned itself with Iran, blamed Israel for provoking the attack, citing the recent Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a statement from the Kremlin urged all parties to refrain from actions that could further inflame tensions, advocating instead for a return to the negotiating table.

China, while calling for "calm and restraint," avoided directly criticizing Iran's actions.

It also stressed the need for dialogue through diplomatic means and negotiations to address the root causes of conflict and promote stability in the Middle East for a peaceful resolution.

Asia's common stance

Asian countries offered a range of responses, reflecting the diverse perspectives and regional dynamics across the continent.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned Iran's aggression, calling for restraint and dialogue.

South Korea denounced the violence and stressed the importance of a peaceful resolution.

India expressed concern about escalating Middle East tensions and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore condemned the violence and urged de-escalation.

African nations call for peace and diplomacy

African countries reacted with concern and calls for peace in response to Iran's attack on Israel, underscoring the continent's commitment to stability and diplomacy in the Middle East.

Nigeria emphasized peaceful resolution and a cease-fire agreement.

South Africa condemned the violence, advocating diplomatic efforts.

Kenya called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and constructive dialogue.

Ethiopia and Ghana also condemned the violence and called for de-escalation.

World public's digital outcry

All social media platforms buzzed with debates and pleas for peace, reflecting the global apprehension and hope for a peaceful resolution.

Amid the contrasting reactions from East to West, concerns have mounted over the potential for further escalation and instability in the already volatile Middle East.

The fate of millions hangs in the balance, awaiting the decisive actions of leaders and the collective will of nations to chart a path towards peace.