Suspicion that Iran is responsible for bomb attacks on Israeli embassies are no more - or less - credible than suspicion Israel has assassinated a number of Iran's top nuclear scientists. True or not, they should be pause for thought, not cause for war. 

It is no surprise at all that Israel has blamed Iran for the bombs targeting Israeli embassies in New Delhi and Georgia.

Where it does become difficult is assessing whether Israel will consider suspicion of Iran as casus belli for launching its desperately wanted attack on the nascent nuclear state.

Let’s face it, if suspicion of a targeted killing is the new bar for war, then Israel’s highly plausible role in bombing – and killing – Iranian scientists over the past few years would give Iran the green light for repeated attacks. All evidence to date is Iran has restrained from avenging the assassinations its scientists and the ‘mysterious’ cyber attacks which severely damaged its nuclear project.

Of course the United States with its policy of taking out anyone it, as self-appointed global judge and jury, considers unworthy of breathing, would, under such a doctrine be consistently under fire.

All three players – Israel, Iran and the US are trading threats and provocations, and the concern is each is potentially reckless enough to go past the point of no return – as they have all done in the past. Think unilateral declarations of war, targeted assassinations, ‘pre-emptive’ invasions, occupations, hostage takings, civilian and political opponent oppression.

A few days ago Israel’s Netanyahu gave possibly the best advice on the issue of Iran – he told his politicians and military officials to “stop blabbing” about the possibility of an Israeli attack.

But the blabbing has continued and has revealed significant points of difference between war hungry Israeli politicians who are doing a damned fine job of whipping up fear amongst their own citizens, and their traditionally unquestioning backer, the United States.

The major difference revolves around what Israel’s Defence Minister calls the atomic ‘immunity zone’ – that’s the point at which Israel would not have the capacity to destroy or significantly derail Iran’s nuclear project.  In other words, a point too far for an effective military strike.

Israel says that point is fast approaching. The Americans, not so much. American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has however said he believes Iran is within a year of being capable of reaching nuclear weapons capacity, and others have suggested Israel will go it alone with an attack in the northern hemisphere spring.

Great. We have had the Arab Spring which Israel has completely ignored and learned nothing from, preferring to stick to its (erroneous) claim to being the only democratic state within the Middle East. Commentary on the Arab uprisings regularly talks now about the Arab Winter given the continued unrest in Egypt, Libya and other places.

Well democracy takes time as countries which have had hundreds of years to develop as such should recognise. However an Arab Winter will be mere pocket lint if compared to the fallout of a regional Nuclear Winter courtesy of Israel going all pre-emptive on us.

There are massive sanctions against Iran which Obama has, unlike previous US presidents, convinced the European Union to join. These are obviously biting. As per usual it is the everyday civilians who hurt the most with food prices soaring, salaries dropping, the Iranian rial in free-fall and the rise of black marketers and illicit currency traders.

The idea is to make the population and the military turn on the regime, which should, if the theory of such sanctions goes according to plan, come under a second line of attack from a divided political elite and eventually succumb, paving the way for a new, Western-friendly, secular government.

Trouble is what often happens is the protected elite get on with the business of making money out of shortages, generating huge profits on the backs of those who struggle to pay for basic food and medicine to keep their families going. Money-makers have no interest in regime change and perpetuate the unintended consequences of sanctions and corruption as was seen in the horrific child mortality rates thanks to the sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime.

The other fly in the sanctions ointment is a potential nationalsitic backlash against sanction perpetrators.

Israel may be concerned about the immunity zone, but Iranians may also be adamant that they are beyond the point of no return with their nuclear development and a regime that is seen to back down in the face of Israeli and US-led pressure would be weak. So, the people and the regime dig in their heels and soldier on with the help of China and India who are not scared to buy Iranian oil.

Iran’s ambassador to the UN has in the past couple of days described his country’s pursuit of nuclear energy as an “inalienable right”, and while it will engage in negotiations with the so-called 5 plus 1 group (US, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany), it will not negotiate over its right to nuclear energy.

Iran wants to negotiate without preconditions. Israel should be familiar with that negotiation precondition!

As has been said many times before on this issue, Iran with no nuclear weapons is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, yet Israel with its stash of an estimated 300 nuclear weapons is not. Israel’s hypocrisy on this point does not make it any more palatable for Iran to be a nuclear weapons state – if indeed that is what it is seeking to be. But it does make a mockery of Israel’s oft-stated ‘right’ to defend itself pre-emptively in order to stop a sovereign nation having what it has.

Israel may be right in assessing the Islamic Republic as off its rocker and dangerous even though Iran has never invaded another country. Israel would do well to be aware that many of Israel’s neighbours think just as highly of it given its refusal to abide by numerous UN resolutions, oppression of the Palestinians and being held hostage to the dictates of far right religious parties crucial to the survival of Netanyahu’s coalition.

It is also ridiculous for Israel to argue that if Iran goes nuclear then other states in the region will want to be nuclear capable too, thus rendering Israel just ‘one of the crowd’ in the Middle East.

Israel’s bluster – or perhaps bluffing – on the issue of Iran does not excuse terrorist attacks on its civilians or diplomats in any part of the world. Nor does it give Israel the right to blame Iran or its proxy Hezbollah without proof, any more than Iran can blame Israel for the terrorist attacks on some of its brightest citizens.

The New Delhi and Georgia attacks expose the vulnerability of Israeli citizens anywhere in the world, as is regrettably the case for citizens of any state involved in controversial domestic and foreign policies.

Israel has been warned that an attack on Iran will have dire consequences. These latest bombings are nothing compared to what could happen. Even if Iran or Hezbollah are behind these recent bombings, the acts must be treated as pause for thought, not cause for war.   

Comments (21)

by Scott Chris on February 14, 2012
Scott Chris

I wouldn't put it past Mossad to have perpetrated these "unsuccessfull" attacks in India and Georgia in order to strengthen Israel's ostensible casus belli, or on the oher hand for MOIS to have murdered the Iranian nuclear scientists. It's an assholes game.

by william blake on February 14, 2012
william blake

Scott I remember thinking the same of Greenpeace, the day the Rainbow Warrior was sunk, subsequently the obvious perpetrators became apparent. I think the same is going on here, Israel is preemptively assassinating Iranian scientists and this is the Iranians' vengeful response. 

I think these murderous politicians well know the parameters they are working within and I believe the status quo will prevail until Iran becomes atomically armed.

by Andrew Geddis on February 14, 2012
Andrew Geddis

"I wouldn't put it past Mossad to have perpetrated these "unsuccessfull" attacks ..."

I wouldn't put anything past Mossad, except that it's not clear they think Iran is as big a threat to Israel as some in USA want to make out. Unless, of course, that's what they want us to think that they think ... .

My head hurts.

by Serum on February 15, 2012
Serum

“I wouldn't put anything past Mossad, except that it's not clear they think Iran is as big a threat to Israel as some in USA want to make out. Unless, of course, that's what they want us to think that they think ... .

My head hurts.”

While some pundits tie themselves up with inconclusive circular arguments to the extent that headaches prevent clear thinking, an Iranian news agency Alef News in the last few days reported under the doctrine of  Jurisprudential reasons for Israel’s destruction,  “Israeli People Must be Annihilated”, detailed with some clarity maps of military and civilian targets in Israel . One can scroll down here to see the maps.

by Andrew P Nichols on February 15, 2012
Andrew P Nichols

.... any state involved in controversial domestic and foreign policies."

Oh Jane, such a nice elegant euphemism for terrorism.....Why cant you just say it?

Serum, I think your postings would be a lot more respected if you had the guts to use your real name as I and most of the Pundit contributors do.

by Chris de Lisle on February 15, 2012
Chris de Lisle

What is the status of alef.ir? After a google search, the only reference I can find to its official state is a report that it was blocked by the Iranian authorities in 2007. Doesn't exactly sound like a mouthpiece for the regime?

by Serum on February 15, 2012
Serum
by Mike Osborne on February 16, 2012
Mike Osborne
The Daily Mail "report" states "The article, written by Khamenei's strategy specialist Alireza Forghani, is now being run on most state-owned conservative sites, indicating it has the regime's support."
So I popped the Alef News article into Google translate - here's a segment - omitted by (Truth) Serum and the Daily Mail - the 3rd point is what matters.

"Some points regarding the upcoming approachPoint a: This article Jurisprudential Justifications OF THE Tow Discusses Iranian Military Necessity OF AN ON ISRAEL Attack, and the Necessity of Attacking Israel and its military aspects 
2nd Point: In this approach, only the first step of the first military Curtain United for Invasion to Discussed will be Israel and the complete explanation of 2nd Curtains and eighth steps will be published in the proper time 
the 3rd Point: This approach is just the personal opinion of the author and there is no Guarantee of whether the government of Islamic republic and United will accept apply it or not"
So the author clearly states in his 3rd point that it's his own "personal opinion" and not government policy. But, hey, that's a minor detail.
by Andrew Geddis on February 16, 2012
Andrew Geddis

@Serum: According to that Daily Mail article:

"The crux of dossier said Iran would be justified in launching a pre-emptive strike against Israel because of the threat the Jewish state's leaders are posing against its own nuclear facilities."

So the author thinks Iran can attack Israel because Israel is threatening to attack Iran because Israel thinks Iran will threaten to attack it when and if it gets nuclear weapons ... . So, again, my head hurts.

(Goes without saying, of course, that the genocidal intent of the author is dispicable and to be condemned by all right thinking people ... just like this guy's views should be.)

by Andrew P Nichols on February 16, 2012
Andrew P Nichols

So the author thinks Iran can attack Israel because Israel is threatening to attack Iran because Israel thinks Iran will threaten to attack it when and if it gets nuclear weapons ... . So, again, my head hurts.


Reminds me of that old saying

"An eye for an eye leaves both blind...."

by Chris de Lisle on February 16, 2012
Chris de Lisle

On reflection, I think it's interesting that alef news (and presumably the original author) chose to publish this article in Parsi AND English. That is, they wanted us to read it.

Are they trying to make us think that they're mad enough to launch a pre-emptive and scare us into backing down? Or are they trying to goad Israel into attacking first?

by Mike Osborne on February 16, 2012
Mike Osborne

Chris - how/where did you get an English version? I couldn't see one on the site.

by william blake on February 16, 2012
william blake

"Or are they trying to goad Israel into attacking first?"

 

Pre emptive from Israel would be nuclear. Don't goad there.

by Serum on February 16, 2012
Serum

@ Andrew

 I couldn’t agree more with you regarding the genocidal intent of extremists on both sides of this divide and am sorry that you still have a headache. I find that headaches disappear after taking a Disprin with water resulting in a clear head. If you try this and your head clears then ponder not only the historic and on going religious genocidal threats emanating from the Iranian hierarchy to literally wipe out a fellow U.N. state together with it’s support and financing of other extremist proxies to work with it to achieve these aims while at the same time developing the means to do just that, but also that hierarchy’s actions in destabilizing the whole neighbourhood.. What would you do?

 There are similarities, but not exactly, to this current situation that resemble the 1930’s inEurope.

by Andrew Geddis on February 17, 2012
Andrew Geddis

Serum,

But if you add into that mix the decidedly poor track history of the US regime change hawks currently banging the drums for an attack on Iran to "solve" this problem, the fact that the present Mossad chief does not thing a nuclear armed Iran is an existential threat to Israel, the fact that a former Mossad chief thinks that an attack will spark a regional war with terrible consequences for Israel ... well, it seems to me there's a fair few people needing those Disprins of yours.

Look ... do I think Iran is a positive influence in the world? No. Do I think the Iranian regime is the moral equivalent of Israel? No. But do I think it's a "clear headed" move to launch an armed response to Iran's moves? No.

As for "There are similarities, but not exactly, to this current situation that resemble the 1930’s in Europe" ... no. There aren't. Sorry, but I don't buy that comparison for a second, not least because the Jews of 1930s Europe did not possess the strongest armed force in the region, not to mention multiple nuclear weapons. 

by Chris de Lisle on February 17, 2012
Chris de Lisle

@ Mike: On the very same page that Serum originally linked to. If you scroll down past the Parsi, the entire article is repeated in English (Though, oddly, the numerals are still Arabic).

Serum: I can see how you'd argue that there are similarities to 1930s Europe. I think there could be some: Iran is demonstrating aggressive militarism, as a response to harsh economic times and the ingrained racism (as Germany did) and the West is relying on the conflict between ultimately quite similar regimes in Iran and the Arab world to hold conflicts in check (perhaps analogous to the reliance on the antagonism between Italy and Germany).

The differences, though, are significant. Iran is not nearly as powerful as Germany was- Iran today does not quite have the population Germany did in 1939 (& that's a significantly smaller percentage of world population). Iran does not have the tradition of industry or innovation in military technology (or anything else) which Germany had. The West is not in a state of military unreadiness (nor is Israel, if you're taking this from a regional perspective). On the contrary, the militaries of the West are overwhelmingly superior to the Iranian one in every respect. Finally, and most importantly, unlike Europe in the 1930's there is no appeasement going on! The West has not given Iran Sudetenland. On the contrary the West has placed sanctions on them, extensive espionage sactions have been taken against the Iranians (e.g. Stuxnet) and the West has marshalled its military power in the region (e.g. sending larger than normal numbers of warships through the Straits of Hormuz half a month ago).

Iran is not Germany, the West is not Chamberlain, and this is not World War II.

by Ross Forbes on February 17, 2012
Ross Forbes

There might be some truth to that 1930.s european comparison......only its Israel wearing the fascist crown. Israel is indisputably now the greatest threat to world peace and the only country armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and run by a batch of religious fanatics with a burning desire for a "greater Israel"......not unlike a "greater Germany". Its propoganda arm is second to none.......how else did it convince the world that the slaughter of 1400 civilians, [among them 400 odd kids,].....during cast lead.........was a "war".....and not simply a brutal responce to the legitimate actions of a people whose lands are occupied....?

People really need to dispossess themselves of this narrative that Israel is....in any fashion..... a "civilised" nation. Fundamentalists the equal of al queda have hijacked its national direction and exploited the West's guilt over the holocaust to produce a fascistic, paranoid state that counters the threat posed by "villagers with guns", with strontium 90 and phosphurus, Hellfire missiles, robotic drones and enough nuclear weapons to level 10,000 Hiroshimas.

And yet somehow Iran is still seen as a threat....just like Sudentenland in 1938.

by Serum on February 17, 2012
Serum

It’s the last line of an extremist’s rant that has one guessing.

And yet somehow Iran is still seen as a threat....just like Sudentenland in 1938

It would stretch ones imagination to liken Iran’s threatening behaviour to wipe out a neighbouring country to the role that Sudetenland played in 1938 as an appeasement offering in the game of power politics or is it meant that the country in 1938 named SudeNtenland synonymously refers to Nazi Germany that did in fact suffer many dents in the later part of WW2.

by Ross Forbes on February 18, 2012
Ross Forbes

Sorry Serum......i didn't man to keep you guessing....I realise the comparison of Iran with Sudentenland was incorrect. The more apt comparison is Poland......the Polish cavalry....in a desperate effort to defend their country... rode out to meet the German tanks.I do not know how many tanks the germans had but lets imagine they had as many tanks as Isreal has nuclear weapons---say 350---so all the Wests efforts are aimed at denying Iran their 1 tank/nuclear bomb in defence.

The real solution to Iran's nuclear "threat" is obvious.......have Isreal decommission its entire nuclear arsenal thus rendering the need for Iran to go nuclear null and void.

But no one ever suggests this, do they.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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