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Monday, March 23, 2009

The 21st century's Cuban missile crisis

In Monday's Wall Street Journal, Amir Taheri lists some of the consequences of Iran attaining nuclear weapons, none of which is directly connected to Israel.
Make no mistake: The Middle East may be on the verge of a nuclear arms race triggered by the inability of the West to stop Iran's quest for a bomb. Since Tehran's nuclear ambitions hit the headlines five years ago, 25 countries -- 10 of them in the greater Middle East -- have announced plans to build nuclear power plants for the first time.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates [UAE] and Oman) set up a nuclear exploratory commission in 2007 to prepare a "strategic report" for submission to the alliance's summit later this year. But Saudi Arabia is not waiting for the report. It opened negotiations with the U.S. in 2008 to obtain "a nuclear capacity," ostensibly for "peaceful purposes."

Egypt also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement, with France, last year. Egyptian leaders make no secret of the fact that the decision to invest in a costly nuclear industry was prompted by fears of Iran. "A nuclear armed Iran with hegemonic ambitions is the greatest threat to Arab nations today," President Hosni Mubarak told the Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia two weeks ago.

Last November, France concluded a similar nuclear cooperation accord with the UAE, promising to offer these oil-rich lands "a complete nuclear industry." According to the foreign ministry in Paris, the French are building a military base close to Abu Dhabi ostensibly to protect the nuclear installations against "hostile action," including the possibility of "sensitive material" being stolen by terrorist groups or smuggled to Iran.
You will note that with all the complaining from Iran, Egypt, the International Atomic Energy Agency and others about Israel's alleged nuclear weapons, Israel has allegedly had those weapons for more than forty years, and yet none of these countries felt the need to seek nuclear weapons until it became apparent that - barring a last minute miracle - Iran is likely to have them. Every country in this region regards Iranian possession of nuclear missiles as a threat to peace. Indeed, Iran has nearly as much incentive to attack the Persian Gulf countries as it has to attack Israel.

If Israel takes out Iran's nuclear weapons before they go online, you can bet there will be subdued joy throughout the Middle East.

But what's most important from an American perspective (and why I put a picture of Ahmadinejad with Hugo Chavez at the top of this post) about the Obama administration's fecklessness in the face of Iran's brazenness, is that Iran isn't just going to be a nuclear power: It's going to be a nuclear proliferater. And it is planning to do its proliferating right on America's back doorstep:
Iranian media reports say Tehran is also setting up joint programs with a number of anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America, notably Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, bringing proliferation to America's backyard.
For those of you old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis, who do you think will blink first? I'd bet on Obama.


At 7:15 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

No wonder the Obama Administration shunned IDF Chief Of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi the other week in Washington. It looks at Iran's nuclear program as only the "Jews" problem.

It'll be too late to revisit that outlook when a "dirty" bomb goes off in an American city.

Hopenchange, any one?


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