Home > Iran, Israel, News, Politics, United States > Bombing Iran – response to Economist essay

Bombing Iran – response to Economist essay

My response to some points in a recent Economist essay on Iran.  Some I agree with, except a few major ones — including the case that Iran’s nuke sites should not be bombed. The position of the author(s) of this article that Iran should not have nuclear weapons and at the same time taking off the table the threat of force, the author does not give a viable solution to the stand off. Indeed, that position is exactly what Iran has been banking on and investing on to reach its current advancement in its nuclear program — after 9 years of negotiations and diplomacy (since 2003). As you know, the IAEA has failed again and again to get Iran to cooperate (even in their second recent visit, where they were denied access to the Parchin military site). (Blue boldfaced comments are quotes from the Economist article which I wish to address.)

 
If Iran is intent on getting a bomb, an attack would delay but not stop it.

But an attack could deter it, and severely weaken its ability and delay it. That is a much better option than allowing Iran to be dangerous nuclear state akin to North Korea in the Middle East.

Indeed, using Western bombs as a tool to prevent nuclear proliferation risks making Iran only more determined to build a weapon—and more dangerous when it gets one.

And conversely, Israel & the US too would be even more determined to stop Iran (esp. if Obama loses the election and the US inaugurates a Republican president) – and Israel even more so determined because of Iran’s nuclear annihilation threat. As a matter of fact, the Palestinian issue would be ignored and further placed in the back burner seeing that now Israel has to invest more of its focus and resources to defending itself against an existential threat. Thus the Iran threat is worsening the Palestinian issue than it currently is, just as the Arab states before have managed to do.

The danger is keenly felt by Israel, surrounded by threats and especially vulnerable to a nuclear bomb because it is such a small land.

The vulnerability to Israel that you speak of here is exactly why Israel — if not the United States — has the greatest stake in dealing with Iran militarily to deter it from developing nukes (an action that you oppose). Also, it is hardly new for Israel to deal with several enemies at once, and I don’t have to give you a history lesson on that front.

It could retaliate, including with rocket attacks on Israel from its client groups in Lebanon and Gaza. Terror cells around the world might strike Jewish and American targets.

They have already been doing that and still are. So that is not new. Further, Hizbullah is more constrained nowadays from acting because of its gov’t position in Lebanon after it learned its lesson back in 2006. If they do react with rockets, Lebanon could descend into ashes and it has much more to lose. Nasrallah’s recent statement that they will make their own decision independently of Iran may be an indication that they will not retaliate. But if they do, then know to expect a much worse outcome than what occurred back in the 2006 war.

The article raises a number of ‘dooms-like’ scenarios as a means to weaken the argument for war — thereby honoring Iran with nuclear weapons. They are guesses at best, but what Israel will not hedge its bets on is allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon while threatening its very existence. There is no clearer logic than this. Those scenarios you paint should be placed right at Iran’s door step, not anyone else. Iran denies the Holocaust but aims to create the conditions for it. The author of the article is not faced with the imminent danger that his/her people/nation will be annihilated by Iran, so he/she can afford the academic position advocated by the article. But when you are a nation of people who suffered horrible deaths in a Holocaust just 70 years ago and you witness yet another such threat, you would soon learn that you can not afford academic exercises – and that you MUST act. Never again. And never will Israel allow Iran to achieve its dangerous ambitions. I pray that the US will regain its conscience and either take to the fight and/or join Israel to fight this good fight against this dangerous evil in the Middle East.

Anyway, short of Iran giving up its nukes completely, you can be sure that Israel (and/or the US) will attack Iran to save itself. This is a matter of paramount importance for any state: to protect its people and to protect its very existence. Iran made a huge mistake for threatening another powerful nation as it did, and it alone bears the responsibility for the consequences of its threats and actions.

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  1. February 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

    The BBC reported recently that back in 2009 the IAEA expressed concern about Israel’s nuclear capabilities and called on it to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, open its nuclear facilities to inspection and place them under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. “Israel refuses to join the NPT or allow inspections. It is reckoned to have up to 400 warheads but refuses to confirm or deny this.”

    Actually, Israel is the third or fourth largest nuclear force in the world and the only one in the Middle East. But our brave politicians dare not even whisper this fact let alone criticize it. According to a 2006/7 report by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission most unofficial estimates put Israel’s nuclear arsenal in the hundreds, possibly larger than the British stockpile. “Israel… has an unsafeguarded plutonium production reactor and reprocessing capability and possibly some uranium enrichment capability, along with various other uranium-processing facilities.”

    Israel is the only state in the region that is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (Iran is). It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. As regards biological and chemical weapons, Israel has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    Israel just doesn’t care. Who can forget that much-quoted remark by former Israeli Defense Minister, General Moshe Dayan: “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother”?

    What concrete proof is there of Iran’s military application of nuclear technology?

    Why we not more concerned about Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the threat it poses to the region and beyond, and the mental attitude of the Israeli regime?

    Why are we not seeking sanctions against Israel for its refusal to sign up to the NPT or engage constructively on the issue of its nuclear and other WMD?

  2. February 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I think Israel is an advanced enough nation to be able to safeguard its own sites. And it alone makes decisions for itself, not any other body or nation — esp. hostile entities pretending to make decisions for it.

    “Israel refuses to join the NPT or allow inspections. It is reckoned to have up to 400 warheads but refuses to confirm or deny this.”

    Why should Israel be forced to sign a treaty against its will? You sign a document only when you’re satisfied that all terms and conditions are right for you. Iran, on the other hand did sign the NNPT and yet it is not complying with it (according to the IAEA). It’s just as well that Iran did not sign it. Maybe Israel did not sign it because of unforeseen circumstances in a hostile region make it unwise and untenable. Further, Pakistan (a Muslim-majority nation) and India did not sign the NNPT – so we need not pick on Israel.

    Moshe Dayan was on the mark. With mad dogs like Nasser, Assad, Saddam, Khomeini — the kind of leaders the Muslim world is fond of installing — how can one not be a mad dog!? You can’t fight these guys looking like a wimp.

    The other questions you raise are not relevant on the world stage, even if they are issues with you personally. We can rehash them endlessly, but they would be of little relevance to what’s happening right now with Iran & Israel — and the real potential for war. The fundamental asymmetry is that Israel did not threaten Iran with annihilation, while Iran did threaten Israel with annihilation (even while it works to develop nuclear weapons).

    As you are a Muslim, I think it is fair to say that not all Muslim states support Iran’s defiance of the IAEA and its nuclear aims. Many Sunni states are just as concerned about (even threatened by) Iran developing nuclear weapons as Israel & US.

  3. February 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Why are we not seeking sanctions against Israel for its refusal to sign up to the NPT or engage constructively on the issue of its nuclear and other WMD?

    Because there is no binding law that says that nations must sign such Treaty. By your logic you would then need to impose sanctions on Pakistan and India as well for not signing the NNPT. Although I’m concerned about Pakistan, and it is a potential worry, it is not obliged to sign onto the Treaty if it does not wish to.

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