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From the Right: Should Israel Attack Iran’s Nuclear Facilities?

There is a time in the life of a nation which demands action. The time is here and now and not in an esoteric “near future” as my dear colleague asserts nonchalantly. The call to face evil when it is clearly identified rings especially true when it comes from a nation that barely survived the Holocaust 60 years ago. “Near future” could be too late by the time nuclear weapons are acquired. If the intelligence substantiates the suspicion, action needs to be taken well before reaching the point of no return. To the argument that there is no indication as yet of a clear proof that Iran possesses, or is about to possess, a nuclear capability, one should realize that there is always more then meets the eye for the unsuspecting and casual TV viewer or newspaper reader. The type of information that would be considered clear proof would most likely not be shared with the public, and rightly so.

Let us not forget what country we are dealing with. Iran, which is ruled by the whims of fanatic and theocratic leaders, openly declares its obsession to wipe Israel off the map. Furthermore, it also supports Hezbollah (south Lebanon is a de facto an Iranian extension), and Syria, and deals with North Korea. Iran and Hezbollah have been implicated by Argentina in the bombing of the Jewish Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed 85 people. This is the same country that has, so far, laughed off three layers of sanctions leveled at them by world powers.

Recently, Israel has decided, most likely with US blessing, to raise the stakes. So far, the hands-off approach in dealing with Iran by the European countries, China and Russia, produced no results whatsoever (except buying time for Iran). Since Israel is at the top of the single-entry list of countries that would be directly threatened by nuclear Iran, this had to change. In order to achieve a change in the status quo, Israel took several steps; for example, it started leaking information by top officials about a possible attack against Iran. It also made a great show of force by having a 100-jet fighter exercise over Greece (clear message, since it is the same distance to Iran). By escalating the conflict, Israel, which would rather have the whole world deal with Iran, grabbed everyone’s attention and brought the Iranian issue to the forefront, and gradually to the boiling point.

The upward trend in the price of oil, an intentional by-product of the Israeli exercise, helped as well in keeping the Iranian threat in focus. Mention oil and watch how the world unites; see the liberation of tiny Kuwait, which has almost as many oil wells as people. It is a known fact, albeit sad, that human nature is such that humans avoid dealing with pressing issues, even life and death, unless they are at or near that point of mortal danger, and then begrudgingly (and sometime tragically) end up paying the higher price usually associated with procrastination (see World War II, Chamberlain).

By attacking the embryonic nuclear weapon facility in Syria, Israel removed a direct threat, tested their ability to deal with Iran, and, more importantly, gauged the world reaction (including Sunni-based Arab counties, who fear Iran but would not admit so openly). The mild to non-existent world reaction proves that most nations would like to see Iran’s nuclear ambitions terminated. Israel is still being praised for removing the Iraqi nuclear threat in 1981.

My colleague argues that Israel should let the US lead the effort and possible attack to the US since the “aftermath of such an attack, whether a success or a failure, with all its implications to the stability of the Middle East, will fall squarely on the shoulders of USA and its allies, and not on Israel alone.” This argument rings hollow in the insane halls of the Middle East when considering that Iraq lobbed missiles at Israel during the first Gulf War even though Israel remained on the sidelines. It is unfortunate, but Israel is the lighting rod of Middle East hatred and should be prepared to rely solely on herself to neutralize the Iranian threat if others do not step up to the plate.

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2 Responses

  1. Dear Edy,

    You raised a good point which I would like to address. The ability to deliver (a nuclear weapon) in my opinion should be an important aspect when assessing the threat, Pakistan as it stands now does not possess the ability to strike Israel (as far as i know) due to the geographical distance, Iran on the other hand does, albeit not technically proven. Regarding your second question, you wrote and I quote: “In 10 years other countries (like Egypt and Saudi) will have nuclear bomb, what then?” as you know Israel already proved twice that it takes a “neighborly nuclear threat” (aka. NNT…) in a most serious way by attacking Iraq in 1981 and Syria earlier this year. It is true, keep bombing your neighbor’s nuclear facilities is not a long term solution but it does buy in my opinion precious time. Buying time as a policy should be considered a viable strategy. From the perspective of events and changes, ten years on the Middle East time scale is like a life time in other parts of the world. Israel could only hope that the conditions would be more favorable in the end of those ten years you have mentioned. An example of a favorable condition would be a total replacement of oil as a source of energy with an alternative. This may deprive few of Israel’s oil rich neighbors from funds needed for keep devising methods on how to wipe Israel off the map.

  2. Hi Yona

    I am not sure yet what is my final position on this subject. But here is a possible situation that may happen and can help us think how Israel should react.
    As you know Pakistan has the nuclear bomb. What would you recommend to do if there would be intelligence information that some of Israel’s neighbors purchased nuclear weapon?
    Would you suggest Israel attacking Pakistan or the countries that has the bomb?
    In 10 years other countries (like Egypt and Saudi) will have nuclear bomb, what then?

    Edy

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