Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic has written a long article titled: The point of no return.
His point is that within the next 12 months, Israel will take the unilateral decision to fly into Iranian airspace and attack what it believes to be its nuclear weapons programme.
When the Israelis begin to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the formerly secret enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and possibly even the Bushehr reactor, along with the other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program, a short while after they depart en masse from their bases across Israel—regardless of whether they succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, or whether they fail miserably to even make a dent in Iran’s nuclear program—they stand a good chance of changing the Middle East forever; of sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations.
At least he’s realistic about what the consequences will be. And those are just the short-term consequences.
But the article then goes on to say, in effect, that Israel thinks it has no choice because Obama’s willingness to confront Iran isn’t credible. He concludes, after spending a lot of time discussing Israeli perspective, with:
Based on months of interviews, I have come to believe that the administration knows it is a near-certainty that Israel will act against Iran soon if nothing or no one else stops the nuclear program; and Obama knows—as his aides, and others in the State and Defense departments made clear to me—that a nuclear-armed Iran is a serious threat to the interests of the United States, which include his dream of a world without nuclear weapons.
It looks like a kite-flying operation. The drumbeat for Obama to attack Iran otherwise Israel will, is likely to kick off with this… though it has been in motion for a while.
But here’s the thing: the article doesn’t even bother discussing that bizarre concept of peace. It’s assumed without doubt that the Iranians are only interested in obliterating Israel and that no peaceful settlement can be found.
I also have this radical idea. It involves Israel making significant overtures to its Arab neighbours by stop building illegal settlements, working with the Obama adminstration to build on peaceful steps, and offering Palestinians much more autonomy, aid and land. That would reduce tensions massively across the Middle East, create the environment for a closer relationship with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and would isolate Iran. But none of this is discussed as a viable option. There’s only one option: either Israel attacks or the US does something drastic. The neo-cons have learnt absolutely-fucking-nothing from their previous escapades.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Middle East