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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Gates hearings

Most of the leftist dominated web sites in the US are headlining Robert Gates' assertion in his confirmation hearings that the US is losing the war in Iraq. But here in Israel, we are more interested in a different part of Gates' testimony: Iran and Syria. The news on that front is not good either:
Gates replied that the Iranian president's threats were serious, but that there were greater forces in Iran than Ahmadinejad who are interested in nuclear ability as a power of deterrence against nuclear countries surrounding them – Pakistan in the east, Russia in the north, Israel in the west and the United States in the Persian Gulf.

The senators asked Gates whether he could guarantee that if Iran possesses nuclear weapons it would not put its threats against Israel into action.

Gates answered that he did not believe anyone could guarantee such a thing.

During the hearing, however, Gates stated that he would not recommend to the president to attack Iran, but only as an "absolute last resort" and if crucial American interests were being threatened.

He estimated that an American military operation against Iran could lead to chemical and biological terror attacks.

"I think that we have seen, in Iraq, that once war is unleashed, it becomes unpredictable," he said, adding that the consequences of a military confrontation with Iran could be dramatic.

He added that while Iran cannot directly attack the Americans, it had the ability to close the Persian Gulf for oil exports, to launch a terror campaign in the Middle East and Europe and even in the US. It's realistic, he said.

An American attack in Iran, Gates said, would not help the US in Iraq but would rather damage its interests there. The Iranians, he said, could supply terror groups with weapons for mass destruction, mainly chemical and biological.

He added that Tehran also had the ability to operate Hizbullah and undermine the situation in Lebanon .

As for Syria , Gates said a US attack on that country would unleash a wave of anti-Americanism in the Middle East.

It would have "dramatic consequences for us in Middle East," Gates said. "It would give rise to greater anti-Americanism than we have seen to date. It would immediately complicate our relations with every country in the region."
I don't think that an American attack on Iran would necessarily complicate the United States' relations with 'every country in the Middle East.' The Saudis, for example, might applaud. The bigger question is whether Israel can still be considered a 'crucial American interest.' After the failures in this summer's war, I'm not sure that question would be answered in the affirmative. YNet ran a story over the weekend in which it indicated that Gates cannot really be classified as pro- or anti-Israel, so much as being someone who does what he believes to be in America's best interest. Would Gates see an attack on Iran in a bid to save Israel as being in America's best interest? That's hard to say.


At 12:42 AM, Blogger Neurodoc said...

Professor Kenneth Stein of the Carter Center resigned due to Carter's recent book, which I think you should blog about. Something like this:

Professor Stein: I resign
Because of your remarks
on Palestine

At 3:01 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Do you have a link to that article?

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Gates hit the nail on the head, although his solutions are ass backwards.

If Iran is the sort of threat he says it is, then now is the time to smash them, before they achieve a nuclear capability.

The US has the power to conduct an overwhelming air attack against the Iranian oil/gas fields, navy, air defense system and air force, and any above-ground nuclear facilities.

The Iranians do not have the power/technical ability to effectively defend against such a campaign. They need to be shown that.

It would be a good object lesson for other merciless dictators, too.


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