Monday, September 24, 2012

Iran, Israel, and America

Wait?! …Wait for What?! This was the rhetorical question recently asked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the American refusal to draw a clear line whereby if crossed by Iran, it would act militarily.

The world wants Israel to wait and not take military action… to give sanctions a chance to work. Fine. I actually agree with that. But there has to be some lines drawn. If Israel keeps waiting – that could spell its end. That was the point.

I could not help but marvel at the simple clarity given to this issue by the Israeli prime minister. In what should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, the “what” Netanyahu was referring to was the threat by the Islamic Republic of Iran to annihilate the State of Israel.  As soon as it has nuclear capability the likelihood of using it to achieve that goal is very strong.

They are progressing full speed ahead towards the development such weapons. They already possess delivery capacity.  Their religious beliefs include killing innocent people along with themselves in the cause of advancing Islam. The idea that Israel should wait and let sanctions do their job, is very nice – if you don’t live in Israel.

The problem with Iran is that the combination of all those factors means that it doesn’t matter what we do in terms of diplomacy. They are just biding their time until they can get the job done.

Sanctions? That will only slow them down. It will not stop them. That should be obvious to everyone too by now.

To be fair, the Obama administration has not removed anything including its own military action from the table. But the way things are going now and with all the talk of the devastating effects of a war with Iran - the military option will not have any real impact to them. Iran doesn't think the United States under an Obama Presidency has the guts or the will to do it.

Iranian leaders can hear the United States expressing reservations about attacking them. Iranian bellicosity has added fear to those reservations. Their strategy of projecting resolve about their religious mission is working. They are pretty sure that they will not be attacked. They see see any sabre rattling by the US as no more than a paper threat. I’m sure they are giddy with joy about that and proceeding full steam ahead towards becoming nuclear.

The truth is that a military attack would not be pretty. Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It has a far more sophisticated and powerful military and a regime willing to die for Allah. Which of course include Israel’s destruction . There could very well be carnage unlike anything we have seen since the World War Two. Iran will not go down without fighting to its death.

Which brings us back to square one. Israel is the one with its head in the chopping block. It’s easy for others to say wait. They are not the ones about to get their heads chopped off.

This does not mean I think that Israel ought to attack Iran just yet. Israeli blood is not cheap and if they ever attacked Iran, I don’t even want to think about the consequences in lives lost. God forbid! And then there is the matter of the remaining Jews still living in Iran. I don’t want to think about their consequences either.

But at the same time, I cannot see fiddling while Rome burns either.  And if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, Rome will burn!

I have to believe that the prime minister has red lines. He knows when they will be crossed. He is not going to wait a moment beyond that to destroy Iranian nuclear reactors. He knows that  if he doesn’t act decisively at the right moment -  the consequences of a nuclear attack against Israel will rival those of the Holocaust. Only this Holocaust will be nuclear.

It is my belief that the Obama Administration realizes this. They have recently said that there is no daylight between the two countries when it comes to dealing with Iran. It is my hope that the United States will stand with Israel in its time of need - if and when Israel sees that line crossed and acts militarily. If need be I believe that the United States will aid Israel if they need it. That is the only moral option.

In these days of awe before Yom Kippur, I pray that this does not need to happen. I would rather see a peaceful resolution. Or even better a regime change in Iran. But I think we will sooner see Moshiach. Iran is a brutal religious dictatorship that will do whatever is necessary to  keep its government in power. They consider it a religious imperative!  The last revolution that was tried there was very quickly quashed.  

Just like an insurrection is unlikely in Iran so too is it unlikely that they will ever surrender in a war should it happen. In the event of war Iranian leaders - both political and religious - must be utterly destroyed. That will not be easy. But what alternative is there?