sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Point of No Return

I am not a conspiracy theorist. I'm simply an observer who reports on issues that I feel matter to people who read my rather small and insignificant blog. And today I am telling you that things are more or less past the point of no return in the Middle East.

When? I don't know. I'm not an Israeli policy maker. Best guess is before March 2011 because that's when the Iranians are scheduled to complete their first atomic bomb(s). On August 21, 2010, the Iranian nuclear breeder-reactor at Bushehr is scheduled to begin operation manufacturing Plutonium 239.


Last week an issue of The Atlantic Monthly arrived at my door and the article by Jeffrey Goldberg (of the same name as this blog post) was featured on the cover. Goldberg predicted correctly that the State of Israel will attack Iran sooner than later because of Iran's unbridled pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly and stridently affirmed that the only reason they want to develop nuclear weapons is to use them to wipe out Israel. 

Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is unlikely to offer Israel up for destruction. And not to make too fine of a point of it, Israel has been not so quietly preparing for war with the Iranians, both by launching a satellite to provide them with overhead intelligence and by tuning up their air and ground forces for a slug-fest. Iran too is ramping up for war and they want to see the war end with Israel overrun by Hizballah and Hamas and Jerusalem in their hands. It plays into Iran's larger plans where they can one day retake Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. I'm sure that the Saudi Royal Family won't want to take the side of Israel, however your enemy's enemy is often also your friend. (we'll watch and see how the Saudi's roll on this)
The Iranian leadership’s own view of nuclear dangers is perhaps best exemplified by a comment made in 2001 by the former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who entertained the idea that Israel’s demise could be brought about in a relatively pain-free manner for the Muslim world. “The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely while [a nuclear attack] against the Islamic countries would only cause damages,” Rafsanjani said. (The Atlantic Monthly)
Immediately following the Israeli attack on Iran, the Iranians will attack US bases wherever they can reach them (Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind). They don't believe that America's weak, quasi-Muslim president has the stomach to do much and we'll see what sort of stuff the Democratic Party is made of. While it's not a war of Washington's making, we will be drawn into it. It's almost inevitable that weapons of mass destruction will be used (delivered by Israeli ballistic missiles).  The Iranian anti-aircraft defenses are formidable and it only makes sense that the Israelis will take them out first before the jets move in to finish the job.
Mr. Goldberg (in the article referenced above) put it this way: 
"When the Israelis begin to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the formerly secret enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and possibly even the Bushehr reactor, along with the other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program, a short while after they depart en masse from their bases across Israel—regardless of whether they succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, or whether they fail miserably to even make a dent in Iran’s nuclear program—they stand a good chance of changing the Middle East forever; of sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations."
Why would Israel take such a high-risks gamble that is likely to cost it its entire air force, much of its army and the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis and Jews worldwide (as Iran retaliates against Jews outside Israel)?
“In World War II, the Jews had no power to stop Hitler from annihilating us. Six million were slaughtered. Today, 6 million Jews live in Israel, and someone is threatening them with annihilation. But now we have the power to stop them. Bibi knows that this is the choice.”

Will America stand with Israel? There is no doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a danger to the United States and its allies (beyond Israel) and to Europe (sometimes also referred to as allies of the US). Notwithstanding, there is a quasi-Muslim in the White House and that complicates matters for America. French President Sarkozy has called barack hussein obama as "a purveyor of baseless hope". 

At the UN Security Council last September, Sarkozy said, “I support the extended hand of the Americans, but what good have proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map,” he said, (referring to Israel).

Barack Hussein Obama hasn't shown much inclination to do the right thing for America and for the world. Might he do us all a favor and take out the Iranian threat so Israel doesn't have to? I doubt it.