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The Telegraph: “Hit back twice as hard,” Ben Wallace calls for firm position on Iran and Russia

Former UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace called on the West to send a message to Russia and Iran that there would be a response to their actions.
Zaporizhzhia's Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant march 2024
Fire at Zaporizhzhia’s Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant after a Russian missile attack on the morning of 22 March 2024. Photo via Pavlo Nuss.
The Telegraph: “Hit back twice as hard,” Ben Wallace calls for firm position on Iran and Russia

Former UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace, in a comment for The Telegraph newspaper, said that the only option when Iran and Russia strike is to hit back twice as hard and not stop until they get the message.

Overnight on 14 April, Iran launched a massive air attack against Israel, firing 170 suicide drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles.

Earlier, the Institute for the Study of War, the US think-tank, said the Iranian attack featured a composition similar to that of Russian strikes on Ukraine, in which Russia has actively experimented with various combinations of ballistic and cruise missiles coupled with Iranian drones, aiming to identify the most effective package to penetrate and overcome Western air and missile defense systems.

ISW: Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel echoes Russian military tactics used in Ukraine

US and allies helped Israel reportedly repel 99% of drones and missiles during an Iranian attack on 14 April. This participation stood in stark contrast to the devastation to Ukraine’s power grid from a string of Russian missile and drone attacks this March-April amid a lack of air defense missiles caused by a delayed US aid package.

Wallace stressed that Iran and Russia “thrive on the West’s lack of resolve, revel in sowing division, and delight in weakening.” 

“Step by step, they test us. But like all bullies, deep down, they are cowards. They use proxies and avoid direct confrontation where they can. Their weapons of choice are terrorist groups, disinformation, cyber hate and corruption,” he said.

Wallace called on the West to wake up and stop treating autocracies as children and tolerate their “malign influence” in the hope that democracy would one day win in those countries.

“But the charge sheet of Iranian aggression is growing. They have armed, trained, and directed Hamas, the Houthis, and Hezbollah. To date, we have done almost nothing in response,” said the former minister.

Wallace added that in Iran’s and Russia’s eyes, the West is weak.

“We stand by Israel because we share common values, oppose terrorism, and respect sovereignty. But if pilots of the RAF (Royal Air Force) are to help protect Israel, then we should expect Israel to help Ukraine with lethal weapons and other assets because alliances work both ways,” the secretary underlined.

According to Wallace, Israel itself did not provide Ukraine with vital military aid because it did not want to “upset Russia.”

“Think about that. Britain asks for help from an ally to support Ukraine in its war against our direct adversary – Russia – and our ally, Israel, refuses. It also refuses to help the only other democratic nation on earth whose president is himself Jewish,” said Wallace.

The former defense secretary added that he was pleased that Iran’s attempts failed and emphasized the importance of standing up to Iran to protect Israel from such attacks. Wallace highlighted that Ukraine suffers from similar attacks daily and stressed that both Russia and Iran pose threats to Britain and its allies, showing disregard for other nations’ sovereignty. The secretary suggested that Israel might benefit from the Royal Air Force’s support and urged them to align with Ukraine against Russia. He emphasized the mutual need for support between Europe and Israel in combating Iranian threats and sending a clear message to both Russia and Iran about unacceptable behavior.

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