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Published on March 12th, 2012 | by Saira Khan
Image © [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="564" caption="Right: Benjamin Netanyahu, left: Barack Obama © Barack Obama"][/caption] Is there a possibility of sanctions ending the nuclear program in Iran? Is attacking Iran in America’s interest, or even Israel’s? And more importantly, is this drumbeat for war a case of tactical brinkmanship or wagging the dog? Obama and Netanyahu met last Monday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program and response options. Obama declared Israel’s ‘right’ to attack at any time and Netanyahu praised the statement. Despite claims that Netanyahu has not yet ‘decided’ which course of action to take, the developments indicate otherwise, with AIPAC pushing for war. However, it seems this is neither in the public interest of Israel or America. An Israeli public opinion poll tells us that 19% favour a military response to Iran, regardless of the USA’s involvement, and only 42% favour war with US backing. Furthermore, an advertisement in the Washington Post involved senior ex-military and intelligence figures advocating a no-war choice with Iran, claiming it is unnecessary and dangerous and stating that ‘not every challenge has a military solution [...] unless we or an ally is attacked, war should be the option of last resort’. The IAEA has stated that there is ‘information available to the agency indicating that Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device’ and that it has ‘concerns’ over this. Words such as ‘concerns’, ‘indicating’, ‘relevant’ reveal that there is no absolute proof of nuclear military development in Iran. Iran Watch in Washington asserts that regardless of whether Iran is developing nuclear weaponry now or not, what they are seeking to prevent is the break-out capacity to develop nuclear weapons easily and when they so choose to. It is an effort to nip a threat in the bud. But a military strike is likely to be averse to its purpose. The more the drumbeats of war are sounded, the more the USA and Israel continue their threatening and scaremongering, the more incentive Iran has to proliferate. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. A strike may set back the program but would not destroy it completely and may well be met with further escalation in nuclear development. Iran’s response to a military strike is hard to predict but there are sure to be some unintended consequences. Moreover, there was hysteria when the Soviet Union and China developed nuclear weapons but not such direct threats of war. What is different here and with Iran? Orde Kittrie of Arizona State University states it is because Iran has a fundamentally messianic, apocalyptic view of the world. Communists had a similar view, but theirs was atheistic and had no relation to an afterlife and terrorism, Kittrie asserts. In light of this Black-Mass-style, Grayian claim, one has to ask, does not Christian and Jewish Zionism have messianic features and yet those states are to be permitted nuclear weaponry? Ahmadinejad never actually threatened to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the Earth’ -- Khomeini prophesised that the ‘occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time’. Iran’s nature aside, there are enough reasons for the USA to not want it to possess nuclear weapons – there is an inheritance issue; if Iran’s regime falls, who will these nuclear weapons fall into the hands off? There is the issue of other countries in the region and how they may react; it could provoke an arms race. However, if destabilisation is the issue, what is more destabilising for the international stage than Iran’s possible nuclear weapons, is the USA and Israel’s uproar at this. Are enough diplomatic options being considered seriously? Obama said that if Iran ‘unclenched its fist’, it would be met with an extended hand – but constant threats of the consideration of military options does not give the impression of an extended hand. Sanctions are being used to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear program but it seems to just encourage it – the program is forced to race with the sanctions to finish before it may be hindered. Moreover, ordinary Iranian citizens should not suffer for their Government’s choices. Starving a population is not the answer. Some argue that Iran has no interest in diplomacy. But it has no interest in conflict either; it is not unaware of the asymmetric power of the USA. The assertion of the illegitimacy of Iran’s nature and its actions by Israel and the USA are ironic considering the violations of international law and human rights in Afghanistan and those committed by Israel on a daily basis, in respect to the Palestinian people. Where are the sanction and diplomacy efforts concerning this? The Iran issue is, to some extent, a scapegoat for Israel – the USA simply has to point and say ‘hey, look over here, look at what Iran is doing’ for Israel’s illegitimacy to be forgotten. Settlement building and home demolition has escalated in recent months and it is not Israel who is being wiped off of the face of the Earth but it is they who are doing the wiping. Nonetheless, AIPAC pressure and the meetings between Obama and Netanyahu are heading in the direction of a when-not-if attack on Iran.

1

Operation Iran Annihilation?

Right: Benjamin Netanyahu, left: Barack Obama © Barack Obama

Is there a possibility of sanctions ending the nuclear program in Iran? Is attacking Iran in America’s interest, or even Israel’s? And more importantly, is this drumbeat for war a case of tactical brinkmanship or wagging the dog?

Obama and Netanyahu met last Monday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program and response options. Obama declared Israel’s ‘right’ to attack at any time and Netanyahu praised the statement. Despite claims that Netanyahu has not yet ‘decided’ which course of action to take, the developments indicate otherwise, with AIPAC pushing for war.

However, it seems this is neither in the public interest of Israel or America. An Israeli public opinion poll tells us that 19% favour a military response to Iran, regardless of the USA’s involvement, and only 42% favour war with US backing. Furthermore, an advertisement in the Washington Post involved senior ex-military and intelligence figures advocating a no-war choice with Iran, claiming it is unnecessary and dangerous and stating that ‘not every challenge has a military solution [...] unless we or an ally is attacked, war should be the option of last resort’.

The IAEA has stated that there is ‘information available to the agency indicating that Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device’ and that it has ‘concerns’ over this. Words such as ‘concerns’, ‘indicating’, ‘relevant’ reveal that there is no absolute proof of nuclear military development in Iran. Iran Watch in Washington asserts that regardless of whether Iran is developing nuclear weaponry now or not, what they are seeking to prevent is the break-out capacity to develop nuclear weapons easily and when they so choose to. It is an effort to nip a threat in the bud.

But a military strike is likely to be averse to its purpose. The more the drumbeats of war are sounded, the more the USA and Israel continue their threatening and scaremongering, the more incentive Iran has to proliferate. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. A strike may set back the program but would not destroy it completely and may well be met with further escalation in nuclear development. Iran’s response to a military strike is hard to predict but there are sure to be some unintended consequences.

Moreover, there was hysteria when the Soviet Union and China developed nuclear weapons but not such direct threats of war. What is different here and with Iran? Orde Kittrie of Arizona State University states it is because Iran has a fundamentally messianic, apocalyptic view of the world. Communists had a similar view, but theirs was atheistic and had no relation to an afterlife and terrorism, Kittrie asserts. In light of this Black-Mass-style, Grayian claim, one has to ask, does not Christian and Jewish Zionism have messianic features and yet those states are to be permitted nuclear weaponry? Ahmadinejad never actually threatened to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the Earth’ — Khomeini prophesised that the ‘occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time’.

Iran’s nature aside, there are enough reasons for the USA to not want it to possess nuclear weapons – there is an inheritance issue; if Iran’s regime falls, who will these nuclear weapons fall into the hands off? There is the issue of other countries in the region and how they may react; it could provoke an arms race. However, if destabilisation is the issue, what is more destabilising for the international stage than Iran’s possible nuclear weapons, is the USA and Israel’s uproar at this.

Are enough diplomatic options being considered seriously? Obama said that if Iran ‘unclenched its fist’, it would be met with an extended hand – but constant threats of the consideration of military options does not give the impression of an extended hand. Sanctions are being used to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear program but it seems to just encourage it – the program is forced to race with the sanctions to finish before it may be hindered. Moreover, ordinary Iranian citizens should not suffer for their Government’s choices. Starving a population is not the answer. Some argue that Iran has no interest in diplomacy. But it has no interest in conflict either; it is not unaware of the asymmetric power of the USA.

The assertion of the illegitimacy of Iran’s nature and its actions by Israel and the USA are ironic considering the violations of international law and human rights in Afghanistan and those committed by Israel on a daily basis, in respect to the Palestinian people. Where are the sanction and diplomacy efforts concerning this? The Iran issue is, to some extent, a scapegoat for Israel – the USA simply has to point and say ‘hey, look over here, look at what Iran is doing’ for Israel’s illegitimacy to be forgotten. Settlement building and home demolition has escalated in recent months and it is not Israel who is being wiped off of the face of the Earth but it is they who are doing the wiping. Nonetheless, AIPAC pressure and the meetings between Obama and Netanyahu are heading in the direction of a when-not-if attack on Iran.

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  • http://narniansocialist.com Jonty

    It seems unlikely to me that Iran will use or need a nuke, but even so, it is hypocritical in the extreme for other nuclear powers to get excited over the possibility. Particularly nuclear powers with a history of aggression in the region.
    I think there are three reasons not to freak out: http://narniansocialist.com/iranian-nukes-3-reaso

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