Middle East conflict ratchets up with Iran attack

Violence in the Middle East escalated over the weekend with an Iranian attack on Israel. 

Catch up: Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at targets in Israel on Saturday, 99% of which were intercepted in the air by Israel and its allies.

  • Iran said the attack was in response to an Israeli airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Syria earlier this month and that it had “concluded” its retaliation.

Why it matters: It’s the first-ever Iranian attack launched from its own soil against Israel and a dangerous escalation in the ongoing conflict in the region.

  • The attack raised the risk of the conflict in Gaza broadening into a wider regional war that could ramp up to a larger scale than what happened over the weekend.
  • “Expect more significant strikes against Iranian proxies in coming days and opportunistic strikes against Iranian targets in proxy states,” Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer posted on X.

What’s next: Israel is now deciding how to respond to the attack, with U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders urging restraint to avoid further escalation. 

  • An Israeli official told The New York Times that the country’s war cabinet was still undecided on how to retaliate but that it would “undoubtedly respond.”

The business angle: Oil prices have already risen this year on fears of a regional war breaking out and disrupting the flow of Middle Eastern crude into global markets, a risk that increased this weekend.