Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Support for a US strike against Iran grows

Michael Totten reviews what's become widespread support throughout the Middle East for a US strike against Iran's nuclear interests.
American "imperialism" apparently isn't so bad if it serves regional interests. As Middle East blogger Jesse Aizenstat once put it, "There is nothing like a fanatical band of Persian cats to bind the Semitic tribes."

Nor is it only the Arab world's rulers who think Iran's aggressive foreign policy is a problem. A majority of citizens in 18 Arab countries think Iran is a bigger security threat than Israel, according to a region-wide survey conducted last year by YouGov and commissioned by Qatar's Doha Debates.

And a report from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy earlier this year revealed a substantial number of Saudi citizens even support military action. A third of respondents said they'd approve an American strike, and a quarter said they'd even back an Israeli strike. Support of any kind for Israel -- especially support for an Israeli war against a Muslim country -- is strictly taboo in the Arab world, so the percentage who feel this way but won't admit it to strangers is certainly higher.


A powerful Iran would be at loggerheads with most of the Middle East even if it wasn't trying to subvert the regional order with terrorist cells and militias. That's why the region is almost as united against Iran as it was in opposition to regime change in Iraq. There'd be nothing "unilateral" about an American strike this time. Of course, the US isn't the errand boy for the Arabs or the Israelis, but Mideast opinion matters. And, though many Americans seem to think demolishing the Iranian weapons facilities would be "Iraq" all over again, Iran's neighbors -- where people will have to live with the consequences of whatever happens -- believe the opposite.

Diplomacy and sanctions alone may have little chance of preventing an Iranian bomb, but Presidents Bush and Obama haven't been wrong to be cautious. A US or Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear-weapons facilities most likely would unleash hell. Hamas and Hezbollah would set Israel on fire at once; Iran could retaliate against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Syria might get drawn into the conflict. The whole region could come apart at the seams.
Read the whole thing.

I'm not convinced that Hamas and Hezbullah would necessarily 'set Israel on fire at once' if there were a strike against Iran. First, if the strike were effective, Hamas and Hezbullah would effectively lose their protector. And both of them know that even if they inflict damage on Israel, the damage that they will suffer will be much worse. Is there a substantial risk that Hamas and Hezbullah will hit us if we or the US hit Iran? Absolutely. But I wouldn't regard it as an immediate certainty.

There are two big problems with a strike against Iran. One is that the Obama administration is afraid to pull the trigger or to sign off on Israel pulling the trigger. And the second problem is that the longer we wait, the more complicated a strike is likely to be.

But it's curious (and frankly heartwarming) that the 'Arab street' is united against Iran. Maybe they'll feel the same about Hamas and Hezbullah if the two terror groups come to Iran's defense.

Labels: , , , ,


At 2:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't myself see Obama doing this unless he's cratering in the polls come the 2012 election cycle and his gut tells him this is a winning option--the Israeli command elite hasn't really decided on doing an attack and Obama views muscular military force like root canal...it might be an easier trigger to pull if/when intelligence sez that Iran is for real at a stop/go nukes position technologically--but they are still a ways down the road from that AFWK, w/corresponding uncertainty as to distribution of their weaponizing assets. tho you could attack known facilities.


Post a Comment

<< Home