Thursday, July 13, 2006

Iran Is Deliberately Provoking A Regional War

Today the Bush administration, both the White House and the State Department, blamed Iran and Syria for the latest attacks on Israel, which they termed "unprovoked". Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Danny Ayalon, stated that Iran and Syria are "playing with fire" by escalating the current conflict in the Middle East. I believe both the Bush administration and the Ambassador are correct. However, I also believe that Iran knows precisely what it's doing and a conflagration is exactly what they have in mind. They are deliberately provoking a regional war and perhaps even a world war.

In a piece published today the Middle East Media Research Institute, citing articles in Lebanese, Syrian, and Iranian media, put the Teheran regime squarely behind the latest violence:
In statements published over the last few weeks, senior Iranian officials advocated an escalation of the violent activity against Israel and against "Zionists" around the world.

Additionally, in mid-June 2006, Syria and Iran signed a military cooperation agreement. The Syrian defense minister stated on that occasion that the two countries "are establishing a joint front against Israel... [since] Iran regards Syria's security as its own."


It is possible that the escalation on Israel's borders, set off by elements supported by Iran - Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria - is meant to take the pressure off Iran by triggering a major military clash in the Middle East, which will divert international attention from Iran's nuclear program.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking on Iranian television on Tuesday, stated:
Today, it has been proven that the Zionists are not opposed only to Islam and the Muslims. They are opposed to humanity as a whole. They want to dominate the entire world. They would even sacrifice the Western regimes for their own sake. I have said in Tehran, and I say it again here - I say to the leaders of some Western countries: Stop supporting these corrupt people. Behold, the rage of the Muslim peoples is accumulating. The rage of the Muslim peoples may soon reach the point of explosion. If that day comes, they must know that the waves of this explosion will not be restricted to the boundaries of our region. They will definitely reach the corrupt forces that support this fake regime.
I think it's fair to say that Hamas and Hizbullah are expressing what Mr. Ahmadinejad called "the rage of the Muslim peoples" in their latest unprovoked attacks on Israel.

Speaking in Joffa on Wednesday Mr. Ahmadinejad added:
In the near future we will witness the rapid collapse of the Zionist regime. The nations of the region will record the names of states that support the Zionist regime alongside the Zionist's crimes
I think it's safe to say that the actions of the past few days are Mr. Ahmadinejad's attempt to begin to make good on that threat.

Today Mr. Ahmadinejad upped the rhetoric further according to a Reuters report, stating in a phone call with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:
If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response.
Can he deliver on a united Islamic response? No, of course not, but he may be able to drag more Arab and Muslim nations into the war. That, I believe, is part of the Iranian plan.

Just yesterday the Iranian daily newspaper Jomhouri-ye Eslami published comments from 23 May by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah:
We can hit Israel's entire northern region with thousands of rockets... All of Israel is now within the range of our missiles. Its seaports, [military] bases, industrial plants and everything else are all within our range... I repeat and say that our stockpile of weapons is significant, both in quantity and in quality... Another advantage that I wish to mention is the geography of Lebanon and Palestine. Most of Israel's vital areas are concentrated in the northern [half] of occupied Palestine, while the south is uninhabited and desolate. More than two million Jews live in the north of occupied Palestine, which contains the recreation centers and [tourist] resorts, the industrial plants, the agricultural [areas] and the important military airports and bases. This is an advantage for us... Our presence in South Lebanon, in proximity to the north of occupied Palestine, is our greatest advantage...
I believe the Iranians actually believe that if they can get enough of the Islamic world behind them that they now have the means to destroy Israel even without nuclear weapons. Israel's withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza along with Prime Minister Olmert's realignment plan have been misconstrued as Isreali weakness and a lack of willingness to fight. When people's homes and very lives are threatened they do unite and fight with great determination, and this is where Iran has miscalculated.

Further, I believe the Islamists see the United States as weak. They see resolve in Iraq failing as public opinion turned against the war and remember U.S. withdrawals from Somalia and Beirut. I expect Iran will try to drag the U.S. into the war by meddling in Iran and/or Afghanistan, possibly with Syrian help. That would give them the justification they need to complete their nuclear program. Indeed, they may be close enough to completing the program to believe they can use nuclear weapons to finish the war if necessary.

These are incredibly dangerous times. President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime see jihad as an obligation, one commanded by Allah. Israel has no choice but to defend itself. I think it is in everyone's interest if they do so with a bit less restraint and a bit more haste. Fewer lives will be lost that way.

[NOTE: This piece also appears on Blogs of Zion, where I write under my Hebrew name.]

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