It seems that the Iranian April 13 attack against Israel had mostly political objectives: testing what western powers would and would not do to support Israel and their interests in the Middle East, as well as disclosing the existing military cooperation between Israel and Jordan, and the intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia (via the US intermediaries.)

However, I wonder whether it could have also provided valuable intelligence, which could be used in future for attacks against Israel or the American/British/French presence in the Middle East. Naïvely - in the past an anti-aircraft battery that was used once, had its location disclosed and would be less valuable. Does the same reasoning apply to any of the means used on April 13? Could any of the airplane, rocket launching sites, or the equipment used have been a secret to Iran prior to this date?

Another possibility - could Iran have learned much about the operational mode of the interception facilities, in order to evade them next time?

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    This will be quite difficult to estimate with any certainty with only publicly available information. We don't know what Iran knew before and knows now. My guess is that Iran could reasonably have known about the strength of the Israeli air defense system given its past demonstrations and didn't learn much new or valuable. A possible next time would probably end the same way. But who can say these things with certainty? I wonder if this question is really about politics. It seems to be more about military intelligence gathering. Apr 16 at 6:55
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    According to Iranian media and analysis, Iran did exactly what it had planned. Their goal was to cause significant economic damage and destroy Israel's facilities, weapons, and bases and show 0.1% of its missile-drone capability to the whole world.
    – C.F.G
    Apr 17 at 10:26
  • I suppose not, the response was more political in nature than militarily, ... only to convey a political message so that Israelis (and indeed their Western parent in law) will recalculate their strategies; ... otherwise they have had already hacked a number of security sites and, during the years, have already gained the data they need to know for a final war which, according to their claim if I have understood it right, would terminate the existence of Israel altogether. But who knows for certainty?
    – owari
    Apr 18 at 3:06
  • No I was wrong, ... after reading others' answers below now I generally acknowledge any new experience is informative anyway for all those who take part or simply witness. But how much valuable be the information gain, whether it will counterbalance the cost, I don't know?
    – owari
    Apr 18 at 3:16

3 Answers 3


However, I wonder whether it could have also provided valuable intelligence, which could be used in future for attacks against Israel or the American/British/French presence in the Middle East.


Another possibility - could Iran have learned much about the operational mode of the interception facilities, in order to evade them next time?

Absolutely. All of that. Any military operation results in additional information learned by all the participants. The Israelis did an extremely valuable target practice. The Saudis and Jordanians practiced cooperation and coordination with neighboring armies (for Saudis especially this was the first publicly known joint exercise with Israel). Iranians learned about the defense systems involved and their abilities. I'm sure there was a lot of additional intelligence gathered about inter-state cooperation between Israel and its neighbors, communications, electronic warfare, etc.

I think all the armies involved (and some not directly involved, like the Russians in Syria) used this opportunity for as much intelligence gathering as possible, they wouldn't be doing their job right if they hadn't.



Crucially, Tehran has also kept in reserve its Lebanese proxy force, the Hezbollah militia, which has thousands of missiles and rockets. And, while only a handful of Iranian missiles got through on Saturday, causing minor damage to Israel’s Nevatim air base, the Iranian military has drawn valuable intelligence from observing how Israeli and U.S. air defenses operate.

Yes, of course, when you send drones capable of collecting intelligence and then launch attacks against them using the same drones, then you will obtain valuable intelligence on how their military operate and their capabilities.

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    "...obtain valuable intelligence..." Valuable it is only, if it makes a distinct difference. If for example most of it would already be known to Iran, the value might not be high. Also, Israel could adapt their response next time, the value of current intelligence might again decrease over time. Obtaining intelligence, yes. Obtaining valuable intelligence, difficult to estimate. Apr 16 at 13:27
  • This is a sourced answer, but it's not much more than a say-so, albeit from a prominent newspaper. I suspect the Q cannot be presently answered with anymore detail than this. Apr 17 at 15:57

Yes, as @littleadv already says, this will be a field day for both sides' intelligence services.

I think one thing not mentioned though, is how Israel's defence explicitly relied on its metropolitan patrons for defence - not from all-out war (in which American military cover was already explicit), but from a single salvo.

Far from a capable self-defence, it was a powerful demonstration of the hand in the glove, of the real powers in play.

The Iranians will be jubilant at this, for it shows (in a mass-market way) that Israel is not independent at all but an outpost of an American axis.

Potentially, even Biden will be content that Israeli society has received a demonstration of "who is the superpower here" (to answer Bill Clinton's rhetorical question following dealings with Netanyahu). Although I don't think the overall fallout is what Biden will have welcomed.

But I think the Israeli administration will have been left reeling, because it punctures claims of "self-determination" and associated Zionist myths and self-image.

It was already unseemly enough to see the begging bowl out for cash and arms over the Gaza situation, though most thought Netanyahu had successfully cast Biden as the subordinate there, and Israelis were still manning the guns and fire controls.

But this time, the dog wagged the tail, not the other way around. And I think that is one of the main effects - it is the widespread publication and demonstration of intelligence that each side already had.

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    Or, alternatively, one might interpret it as the Arab countries don't care about Palestinians as much anymore, and Iranian threats on them don't work. UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia - all cooperated here, not just the US. This is a strong show of lack of Iranian influence in the region, and an example of how irrelevant the Palestinians and their doomed narrative have become. See, I also can spin it to pontificate my point of view.
    – littleadv
    Apr 16 at 8:40
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    @littleadv, I don't think the outcome is so simple. The Iranians might have wanted to acknowledge their lack of total power, so that when people say "why aren't you conquering Israel to defend the Palestinians", they can say "because it means conquering America, and Saudi, etc", and then everyone now hums gravely in agreement. (1/2)
    – Steve
    Apr 16 at 9:02
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    Also the fate of the Palestinians is not nearly as important to "Arab countries" as the fate of Israel as a bridgehead for Western power in the region. The Palestinians are supported more widely not out of hand-wringing sympathy for their survival, but out of appreciation of their willingness to keep fighting everyone's common enemy. (2/2)
    – Steve
    Apr 16 at 9:03
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    I really don't understand your logic here, but it doesn't matter because the entire answer after the first line isn't relevant to the question.
    – Bobson
    Apr 16 at 14:08
  • @Bobson - If Iran made the conclusions that this answer suggests, it would certainly count as Intel - to do with the degree of Israel's capabilities vs degree of dependence on the US, and how much (if at all) US is able to push back when its own interests diverge from Israel's . These categories of knowledge that could've come to light from the test of events are also more "political" - I.e. relevant to this stack - than questions of military-technical capabilities
    – Pete W
    Apr 16 at 15:20

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