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Thursday, September 27, 2012

If Israel strikes Iran, it won't be the end of the world

Peter Glover and Michael Economides make a strong case that an Israeli strike on Iran won't necessarily lead to a wider conflagration, and that Israel has the right and duty to do the job that no one else will do.
The fact is that Shia Iran is an isolated and ailing economy with no friends other than Syria in the predominantly Sunni Middle East region. We need to bear in mind that, historically, there is no love lost between Shia and Sunni Islam. We need only look at the murderous conflict between the two in Iraq.
In response to an attack against Iran’s enrichment facilities, young hotheads would certainly take to the streets to burn Israeli and US flags and effigies to call for jihad. Their leaders, from Riyadh to Cairo to Amman would, however, quietly be breathing a sigh of relief that someone had finally ended Iranian nuclear regional ambitions that could well see a nuclear-armed Iran targeting them, not just Israel.
As the Pentagon’s Wiki-leaks emails revealed only too clearly, Iran’s neighbours, deeply suspicious of Tehran’s ideological regional ambitions (and not just as regards Israel), have privately been urging a U.S. military resolution of the Iranian nuclear program for years.
Moreover, Russia may have helped build Iran’s nuclear facility at Bushehr but, as we reported in Has Russia Sold Out Iran for a Stake in Israeli Gas?, for all its public bluster, Moscow appears already to have sold its partners down the Moskva. In short, in the event of a strike on its nuclear facilities, Iran would stand alone.
Equally, as we have shown elsewhere, fears of an attack creating an oil scarcity, should Iran’s global contribution be interrupted, are entirely groundless.
While any interruption in Iran’s energy exports and the effect of a regional conflict would temporarily spike world oil prices, sanctions have already effected a significant reduction in Iranian energy exports.
Also, any attempt by Iran to close the Straits of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s oil passes, would quickly be prevented – as it was during the Iran-Iraq War in the 80s – by the arrival of U.S. warships. No doubt the Pentagon has plans in place for such an eventuality.


The IAEA’s evidence is clear enough: Iran is approaching its weapons-grade uranium enrichment goal. Israel clearly has the right to self-defence. In the case of a potential nuclear attack that clears the way for pre-emptive action. As Israel’s PM Netanyahu asked rhetorically on the historic remembrance of September 11th, “The World asks us to wait. Wait for what? Wait till when?” 
Anyone who still believes that a country sitting on top of the world’s second largest reserves of oil and gas is fast-tracking nuclear capacity for domestic power purposes is clearly living in cloud cuckoo land.
The Israelis share no such fantasy. And for them, unlike for armchair Western commentators, sitting back and waiting for Iran to achieve the nuclear means to carry out its stated goal is not an option.
 Indeed. Read it all.

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