Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Israel-Iran

I mentioned here how I feel that some sort of military strike in the Middle East is not a matter of if but when and who. I'd like to change my tact and go for it is only a matter of when Israel can convince the USA to ignore an Israeli strike - the USA are almost certainly not going to support/condone one. Israel has long feared Iran's nuclear programme for justifiable reasons that I shan't go into and is becoming increasingly worried by her perception that the international community is not taking the necessary steps.

It is easy to justify this position:

1. Israel fully believes Iran is developing a nuclear weapon with the aim of destroying Israel.

This seems uncontroversial in that, even if it is not true, Israel do believe that it is. Furthermore, it seems as though one can easily defend the latter part of the statement seeing as Iranian officials have not hidden this view from their speeches. The former. Well, debate that all you want, Iran isn't doing the best job of convincing me otherwise!

2. Israel will go to whatever lengths it deems necessary to prevent (1) from occurring.

Again, recent history seems to make this also relatively uncontroversial. Israel has little to no concern about how it is perceived on the international community (with good reason - those who hate Israel are unlikely to stop and Israel's position is not strengthened by having support of anyone other than the USA who will remain supportive) and this only further points towards a potential strike.

3. The USA has similar fears to Israel.

This is the most important premise. While Israel cares not what the rest of the world thinks, she realises how crucial US support is. While the USA, unless Iran literally goes on state TV confirming it has a nuclear bomb, will never (publicly) condone an Israeli military strike, it is more likely that Israel could convince them to ignore one. This is easily the most controversial premise and any Israeli strike will possibly hinge upon convincing the USA to not stop them but then again, should Israeli fears escalate any further, USA opinion will also become irrelevant.

4. Countries such as Saudi Arabia could become allies by virtue of a common enemy.

Saudi Arabia is not a fan of Iran. Whilst it is not exactly Israel's best friend, it may be partial to allowing the use of its airspace (something that could be necessary for Israeli jets to make it to Iranian nuclear facilities), again probably in "ignorance", as a result of the shared distrust of Iran.

There is some way to go before Israel is ready to strike Iran. It obviously needs to ensure any strike works  but the most crucial factor here is the USA. Without the USA I am convinced Israel would have put into motion plans to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities. However, I remain unconvinced that Israel can be convinced that diplomatic, political and economic pressure can have any effect and will stick my neck out and predict some sort of strike against Iran by the end of 2012.