Sunday, January 01, 2006

An Attack on Iran?

Yesterday the online edition of The Jerusalem Post, Israel's English language daily newspaper, lead with the headline US planning strike against Iran. The story, which actually quotes the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, claims that NATO, rather than the United States alone, are examining prospects for such a strike. It goes on to say:
According to the report, CIA Director Porter Goss, in his last visit to Turkey on December 12, requested Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide military bases to the United States in 2006 from where they would be able to launch an assault.I do believe the story to be accurate. I also believe it to be nearly meaningless.

The fact is that both the United States military and NATO plan for all sorts of contingencies and examine all sorts of possibilities. Most of that planning never leads to any concrete action. For those who know my politics here is where I will likely shock some people: in this case I do hope that concrete action in the form of a NATO strike against Iran's nuclear program is imminent.

Yes, I realize that I am advocating military action which will result in people, including many innocent people, being killed. Yes, I fully understand there is at least some small chance that this would lead to a wider war. However, I see only three possible outcomes to Iran's nuclear program:
  1. The United States and/or NATO strike Iran to stop the nuclear program
  2. Israel strikes Iran to stop the nuclear program
  3. Nothing is done and Iran becomes a nuclear power
Of those three the one that leads to the smallest loss of life is an American-lead series of surgical strikes to eliminate the nuclear threat. Please do read on and let me explain.

Iran is not Iraq. There is no question that the nuclear program exists. Iranian leaders, while repeatedly asserting that they are only seeking peaceful use of nuclear power also add that they have a "sovereign right" to develop nuclear weapons if they so choose.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map", a call which resulted in widespread international condemnation but no real action. President Ahmadinejad, in explaining his statement, correctly pointed out that he was merely quoting Ayatollah Khomeini. Every Iranian leader has called for the destruction of Israel since the 1979 Islamic revolution. What is different now is that Iran is about to acquire the means to carry out that threat.

Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani openly called for a nuclear attack on Israel on December 14, 2001. His comments included:
... application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world,Just a few days earlier Ayatollah Ali Meshkini, speaking in nationally televised Friday prayers, stated:
You should make the world understand that Israel is the oppressor and that Israel must be destroyed.Mr. Rafsanjani is, according to numerous press accounts, a "moderate". If an Iranian moderate is someone who calls for an unprovoked nuclear attack on Israel what can we expect from a "hard liner" like President Ahmadinejad?

Clearly Israel takes the Iranian leadership at its word and takes the threat seriously. A story published in the Sunday Times of London on December 11 claims that Israel is preparing for a strike on Iran by the end of March if diplomacy fails. In a December 20 Knesset briefing IDF Chief of Intelligence, Major-General Aharon Ze'evi Farkash warned that by the end of March it would be impossible to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons.

Going back to my three possible outcomes, here is how I see each scenario playing out:
  1. If nothing is done Iran, either directly with Shahab-3 missiles or through it's proxies, Hizbullah in Lebanon or Islamic Jihad in Gaza, will launch a nuclear first strike on Israel. If the Israeli nuclear capability survives that strike there is undoubtedly a response in kind. The end result is a nuclear exchange with millions of casualties and untold destruction.

  2. Israel strikes at Iran and destroys the nuclear program. Iran, both directly and through it's proxies, strikes back at Israel, possibly including using chemical weapons. In addition other Muslim (likely Arab) countries may well join Iran. The result is a regional war with massive casualties and destruction throughout the Middle East.

  3. The U.S. and NATO strike at Iran and destroy the nuclear program. While it is distinctly possible Iran could strike back at U.S. and allied forces in Iraq or at Israel it is unlikely other Muslim nations would enter a war against the United States and Europe. The result is a smaller military conflict with less loss of life and destruction.
Why should Americans or Europeans support such action? After all, it's just Israel we're talking about, isn't it? Actually, no. We're talking about the oil supply that both the United States and Europe are dependent on. We are also talking about an Iranian regime that already has missiles that can strike most of Europe with the Shahab-4. Major-General Ze'evi Farakash also reported that Iran had purchased missiles from Ukraine capable of reaching Europe. Iran's Shahab-6 missile, being developed jointly with North Korea, would have the range to reach the United States. What would Iran use such missiles for? Nuclear blackmail, perhaps, or... Do we really want to find out?

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3 comments:

R.Nalland said...

Iran and Syria will have to be dealt with in order to maintain world peace on our mission towards independent democratic countries world over. Let us always remember the horrors of Communism and perverted religions. A 100 million dead, and still counting.

R.Nalland

Silverstorm said...

' Let us always remember the horrors of Communism and perverted religions. A 100 million dead, and still counting.'

Communism didn't have any faults theoretically, it just ended up being a major flop when it was applied to real life, but how does it relate? And I must ask what you mean by 'perverted religions'? I do not believe any religion could be called 'perverted'. If you are referring to Islam, then you are greatly mistaken if you call it perverted. Terrorists who claim they are fighting for Islam and for the Jihad, have nothing to do with the religion itself.

Caitlyn said...

Obviously I don't know what R. Nalland was thinking but here is what I read: The terrorism supported by Iran and the threat to Israel posed by Iran are driven by a perversion of Islam. By all estimates 90% of Muslims do NOT support terrorism. However, the remaining 10% represents a whole lot of people.