Does the US actually want a full on armed confrontation with Iran?
With Tehran’s unwavering resolve to continue their nuclear research despite mounting international pressure, the scenario is indeed getting grimmer day by day. It is palpable that Iran will not relinquish its pursuit of a nuclear bomb, whatever may be the consequences domestic or international. As a result a preemptive strike against Iran either by Israel or US is becoming all the more likely. Political pundits are now increasingly speculating about the timing of the strike and not whether it will actually occur. But one must remember that America is already reeling under the enormous burden of two protracted wars in the East, which begs the question how much political will it can muster to make good on its threats of launching an unilateral strike against Iran. In case that happens, what will be the far flung repercussions of a punitive strike, on the global economy?
The Plot Thickens...
In the last few months we have witnessed political rhetoric and verbal salvos thrown back and forth between Iran and US. US president Barack Obama has promised that he will resort to any means necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. The fiery Iranian President Ahmedjinabad also has left no stone unturned to vitiate the atmosphere between the two countries. He has launched into lengthy anti US invectives where he has repeatedly warned US of catastrophic consequences in case of an armed conflict. The US on its part has cajoled, urged and sometimes browbeaten the international community to slap a wide range of punishing economic sanctions on Iran, including an oil embargo. But Iran remained defiant in its pursuit of nuclear technology much to the chagrin of US and Israel. Iranians claim that their ongoing research is solely for reasons of development and for energy sustenance and no country has the right to infringe on their sovereignty. However, Iran’s flimsy claims have been out rightly dismissed by a larger section of the international community. We all know Iran for a long time has been trying desperately to indigenously develop a nuclear bomb to smite Israel. As diplomatic talks have all but failed to break the impasse, the specter of an armed resolution, slowly but surely, is rearing its ugly side.
The sudden announcement from Saudi Arabia, that it plans to increase oil production, to prevent oil prices from skyrocketing, has also set the rumor mills churning fiercely. Is Riyadh privy to some sensational news that the general populace is not aware of? Is an airstrike going to happen soon and Saudi Arabia has been intimated to that effect or we should simply accept Riyadh’s sudden found compassion for the global economy, at face value?
The Sanctions Are Not Working……
It cannot be emphasized enough that although sanctions, so far have majorly disrupted the Iranian economy but they are not having the desired effect of stalling Tehran’s quest for a bomb. Obama’s threats of an imminent US attack in case of Tehran building, may actually amount to nothing more than political rhetoric. Since US is not attacking Tehran when it’s not in possession of a bomb, it is inconceivable that it will chose to do so afterwards. So Obama’s grand posturing may be actually meant for halting Israel’s plans of a strike.
So everything boils down Israel’s course of action.
From Israel’s perspective, to safeguard its strategic interests, a strike seems to be a no brainer. Past conflicts and the Anti -Semitic mindset of the Iranian regim , suggest that Tehran will either unleash its nuclear armaments on Israel or ramp up its support for various terror outfits. So a strike, may seem to be the only recourse for Israel.
Strategic compulsions aside, there are other complexities and constraints that may prevent Israel from launching a preemptive strike. It is a given fact that a strike on Israel’s part will not be condemned by the US. However, doubts remain whether it will lend any military assistance to such an attack. As a result a majority of Israelis are opposed to such an attack, as they feel that the consequent geopolitical repercussions will be calamitous.
Why A Strike Is Not Advisable...
Violence begets violence which means an Israeli or an US attack on Iran will spark of a catastrophic chain reaction which will see the entire Middle East in flames. That is why most security and political are opposed to the idea of an attack.
Firstly they feel that an attack will only roll back Iran’s nuclear programme by a couple of years, after which Iran will resume their quest more covertly with more domestic support than ever.
The complete success of such an attack will hinge on successfully neutralizing all the scientists involved in this project, which means there will be civilian casualties. Such a horrendous act will allow Iran to rally the entire Muslim world around it and direct their collective hatred towards America or Isreal. This will precipitate a regional war and US unwittingly will be sucked into It. Moreover Iran can use proxies and lend tacit support to terror groups to intensify the attacks on American soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.
Regional instability in the Middle East will mean a disruption in the supply of crude and gas sending their global prices soaring which will be another hammering blow to an already tottering global economy.
Barring a few fanatic warmongers on both sides, every sane individual is of the opinion that attacking Iran at this juncture is a catastrophically terrible idea. Diplomatic parleys and sanctions must be the way ahead rather than meaningless violence which will the see the world plunged into another calamitous and unfruitful conflict.