Sunday, February 5, 2012
Not If, But When
By Alan Caruba
The Jewish sage, Hillel, said, “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” This has been interpreted to mean that it is an obligation to stand against evil, even if other’s courage dissert them.
One doesn’t have to be a historian, a military strategist, a biblical scholar or any other credentialed expert to know that the question of the destruction of Iran’s nuclear and missile capabilities is not one of if, but when?
On previous occasions, the Israelis, sensing a direct threat, attacked nuclear facilities, first in Iraq on June 7, 1981 when it destroyed the Osiris reactor under construction and again on September 6, 2007 when it destroyed an undeclared nuclear facility in the Deir ez-Zor region in Syria. It’s worth noting that neither action sparked a war.
Earlier, in 1967, the Israelis, acting on intelligence that Egypt was about to attack, launched its air force and ground troops in what came to be known as the Six Day War. In time, Egypt came to the peace table, signing a historic agreement with Israel.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq now essentially clears the air lanes directly into Iran for an attack, shortening the route that otherwise might have been over the air space of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Israel with Saudi permission could use both routes because the Saudis are just as much opposed to a nuclear Iran. As it is, the U.S. Air Force has recently re-assigned key units formerly based in Iraq to Kuwait. The Middle East chess board is being reset.
The Israelis have already undertaken long range practice runs flyiing their bombers as far as Gibraltar and back.
The chatteratti are all saying that Israel faces an “existential” threat. They’re wrong. Israel faces an actual threat of destruction and Iran’s Supreme Leader has never made a secret of his intentions.
A February 1st Wall Street Journal editorial noted that James Clapper, President Obama’s top intelligence advisor, recently told a Senate committee that Iran’s leadership, including Ali Khamenei “have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States as a response to real or perceived actions that threat the regime.”
A story last year that made brief headlines involved a disrupted plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in a Washington, D.C. restaurant. The editorial noted that the press “went out of its way to cast doubt on the story. The Iranians can’t be that crazy?” Well, yes they are. What else should one expect from a regime that shouts death to America and Israel every day?
The editorial concluded, asking “If the regime is prepared to stage terrorist strikes in America when they don’t have a bomb, what will they be capable of when they do have one?”
Another suggestion that a mission is likely to occur was the unusual statement by the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, that he thought Israel would attack Iran. As the former Director of the CIA, he would be in a good position to know about such things, but it unusual for a DOD Secretary to make such predictions.
The political calculus for President Obama in an election year depends on whether the U.S. supports Israel (a popular option) or lays back and does little (as in Libya), thus losing any chance of securing the powerful evangelical Christian vote; not to mention Jewish support.
Israel will do what the United States, the Saudis, and everyone else in the region will not. It will save itself and the world from the crazed Iranian ayatollahs. The “collateral damage” will be people in Iran who will die as a result and the sad irony will be that the majority of Iranians want an end to the regime as much as the rest of the world.
Thus far, in addition to sanctions against Iran, several of its top nuclear scientists having been assassinated, and an explosion at an Iranian missile launch site killed some of its top military personnel. It also and temporarily eliminated its potential for launching a missile with a six thousand mile range, capable of hitting—you guessed it—the United States.
Presumably, members of Israel’s Mossad and the United States’ CIA should take a bow for these actions, but they can’t for obvious reasons.
After re-inviting members of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency to visit recently, the Iranians refused to permit them to visit their nuclear facilities, many of which are buried in bunkers for protection. Meanwhile, the U.S. has let it be known it is working on even bigger “bunker buster” bombs.
Israel is doing its best to signal the Iranian regime that they need to change three decades of an incessant drive to acquire nuclear arms. On February 2nd, its Vice Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, called a nuclear Iran “a nightmare to the free world”, noting that “the West has the ability to strike, but as long as Iran isn’t convinced that there’s a determination to follow through with it, they’ll continue with their manipulations.”
Throughout modern history, even in the face of an imminent threat, the West as vacillated, cut deals with Hitler’s Nazi regime, tried to alter North Korea’s nuclear program with bribes, and dismissed other threats.
Reading the U.S.’s true intent must be a fulltime job in some office of the Israeli government. For three years, the message has been less than encouraging and even hostile. A U.S. President who declared Israel should return to its 1967 borders is out of touch with reality. One can only hope this is all an elaborate hoax to put Iran off its guard. If so, it hasn’t worked.
As Ya’alon has said, “The Iranian threat is not a case of Iran versus Israel. Israel has never declared war on Iran, but the Khomeinistic regime has declared total war on the State of Israel’s very existence.”
The Israelis will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. It has no choice. It should be joined by the forces of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and others who would benefit, but as in 1967, 1981, and 2007, Israel will be left to do what others lack the courage to do.
© Alan Caruba, 2012