WITH Iran's massive but largely unsuccessful retaliation over Israel's successful attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus, it has claimed that, if Israel strikes again against Iranian territory, the next onslaught will take place.

That threat now hangs in the air. It is a threat designed to mollify its own people and to test the mettle and mindset of the Israeli government.

All that that weekend strike succeeded in doing was to deplete the weaponry of Israel's Iron Dome defensive technology and to inflict limited damage upon the airbase from which Israel launched its attack on the embassy in Damascus It is how the Israeli war cabinet decides to respond to the threat explicit in Iran's statement which will determine the direction of travel in this conflict. If the war cabinet sees that threat as a provocative challenge to the iron will of its military, it will be time to batten down the hatches and to prepare for all-out war between Iran and Israel, which has never been known to shirk a fight for its survival The consequences of such a decision would be far-reaching for all of us.

If the Israeli government harkens to the more cautious counsels of its allies, it will ignore Iran's threat in the belief that the threat is there for home consumption by the Iranians only. However, Iran's strike against the Israeli state directly instead of it coming from its glove puppets has escalated the tension and the expectation of more direct action in the minds of the Israeli hawks.

This must make us all wonder whether Israel now believes that the time for shadow boxing is over, sweeping aside the proxy combatants it faces in Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis. Perhaps it will come to the conclusion that the final line must now be drawn in the sand, direct confrontation with its sworn enemy faced, with the gloves now coming off for the inevitable bare-knuckle fight to which it now sees no alternative.

Such a mindset will result in a grim, ghastly and gory outcome on a much broader front.

Who is there in the Israeli war cabinet with the stature to stand up against the determination to fight the war of all wars and to quell that rising rage for the ultimate solution?

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Iran is the core problem

THE current buzz word in the ongoing Middle East crisis is " de-escalation", but this misses an important caveat. Most of the troubles in this region emanate from the influence of Tehran. Following the huge barrage of missiles aimed at Israel everyone seems to want Israel to call a halt to the escalation but Iran is still threatening counter-measures should its will be challenged.

This is an impossible situation not only for Israel but the wider world. Iran, under its current government, is the core problem. This issue needs to be solved not only for the world but for the vast majority of Iranians themselves who want a more tolerant administration. Blaming Israel for all the problems is disingenuous.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

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UK being drawn deeper into war

THE UK is being drawn deeper and deeper into a Middle East war that some analysts predict could prompt World War Three.

And unfortunately the (English) Government appears to be relishing it. Election year anyone?

It is not only continuing to sell arms to Israel but is now sending British fighter jets to the region to shoot down drones Iran fired towards Israel at the weekend.

Tehran was responding to Israel's attack on its consulate in Syria when seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp officers were killed.

It's another excuse for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden to confirm their "ironclad" support for Israel.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Netanyahu's regime in Tel Aviv can continue its campaign to rid Gaza, the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem of Palestinians.

Most western governments appear to agree Hamas, who carried out the horrendous October 7 attack on Israel that sparked this war, are terrorists, not freedom fighters who just want control over their own Palestinian land.

So while politicians call on Israel to ensure it "does its best" to avoid civilian casualties, thousands of Palestinians, mostly women and children, continue to be killed in air strikes and by Israeli soldiers on the ground in a six-month-long retaliation.

What so many people forget is that Britain set the borders for Israel and Palestine in 1949. Israel always wanted more, and settlers have made sure of that, taking over more Palestinian land during the past decades. Now their sights are set on the beautiful seafront of Gaza.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

These are strange times

STRANGE and confusing times when a justification for the Rwanda Bill currently passing through Parliament is the need to re-balance the British constitution and restore the legislature's place in relation to the judiciary which, we are told, has usurped the powers of the elected Parliament.

This coming at a time when an unelected Foreign Secretary, a member of an undemocratic and unaccountable chamber, threatens to take the country into yet another military adventure in the Middle East.

Strange and confusing times when the president of a country which uses famine and disease as weapons of war accuses neighbouring states of being part of an "axis of evil".

Brian Harvey, Motherwell.

The Herald: Foreign Secretary Lord CameronForeign Secretary Lord Cameron (Image: PA)

Scotland's oil receipts

IT never ceases to amaze me that nationalists regularly promote falsehoods about the allocation of tax funds from the UK oil industry.

L McGregor (Letters, April 15) states that Scotland receives only 8.4% of UK revenue from oil and gas.

The SNP Government’s own publications show that Scotland receives around 90% of total UK offshore oil and gas revenue which in 22/23 was £10.6 billion. This is included in the calculation of the Scottish Government’s fiscal deficit which is currently £13.577bn.

That discrepancy in Scotland’s revenue is covered by the annual fiscal transfer from Westminster If the promoters of independence have to rely on arguments that are demonstrably wrong, their dream of secession could become an economic nightmare for the Scottish people.

James Quinn, Lanark.

• AMONG the numerous unsubstantiated assertions in L McGregor’s letter is that coastal tankers may be used to transfer water from Loch Ness to the south east of England and that each tanker will draw down Loch Ness by "at least a metre".

The surface area of Loch Ness is 56 square kilometres, so this ship will have capacity to carry 56 million tonnes of water.

By comparison, the recently launched MV Glen Rosa can carry 1,273 tonnes and RMS Queen Mary 2, flagship of the Cunard Fleet, 79,287 tonnes.

These coastal tankers are truly going to be monsters.

George Rennie, Inverness.

We must heed Canada example

I READ with alarm Mark McGeoghegan’s article on the assisted dying issue ("Assisted dying issue can’t be weaponised", The Herald, April 12). He states: "We have been able to navigate the opening of this sensitive, nuanced issue discussion of assisted dying with the dignity, intelligence, and open-mindedness that it deserves." He welcomes, as I do, the fact that this is a debate which is not a bitter, polarised, political conflict. He then does exactly what he wishes to avoid by calling those who discuss what is happening in Canada as the far right and presumably not to be considered useful in this debate.

MSP Liam McArthur is reported as saying that his bill is a "restricted"’ model in line with Oregon and Australia rather than that of Canada. However, he fails to talk about the political landscape in the USA where there is fierce opposition in other states and even among the Federal Government, not the most favourable conditions for extending the safeguards, although Oregon has done so. In Australia not all states have introduced assisted suicide so the situation there is not the same as Scotland. Our political situation is more akin to that of Canada. So, it is legitimate to argue that what happened is Canada in terms of extending the safeguards is an unintended but predicable consequence of a bill based upon autonomy of the person.

In addition, no parliament can promise that others who follow will not alter what they agree. No other jurisdiction has managed to keep the safeguarding promises due to legal and political challenges. How can Scotland be different? Within seven years of it being made legal in Canada, the poor and vulnerable are being offered assisted dying instead of social care. Canadian Federal Minister for Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, has been reported as saying: “In some places in our country, it’s easier to access MAiD [Medical Assistance in Dying] than it is to get a wheelchair.”

John Brown, Clydebank.