How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel

Some colleagues on an email list got me thinking about the worst case scenario of an Israeli air strike on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, so here is what I came up with. I think each of these scenarios is plausible in its own right, and that all could well ensue.

1. Iran is now threatening to strike at any third country in the region that aided Israel in an airstrike on Iran. The aftermath is therefore likely to be further conflict in the region.

2. Oil prices will spike. I imagine you could easily see $150 a barrel or maybe even more. This development could throw the US and Europe back into deep recession.

3. Hizbullah would likely launch rockets, causing at least severe inconvenience to some 1/4 of the Israeli public, which might well have to move house again, and possibly much worse if Hizbullah is able, as they claim, to target toxic gas storage in Haifa or even reactor at Dimona with modified Chinese silkworms. It is not clear that the Israeli public would appreciate all that trouble; they didn’t, in former PM Ehud Olmert’s case (his 2006 Lebanon war was extremely unpopular and his party is no longer in power). A Hizbullah official said on Sunday that Hizbullah would be willing to go to war with Israel if Syria were attacked, so it seems likely the same thing would hold true with regard to Iran.

4. Israel would destroy Lebanon infrastructure in revenge for Hizbullah rocket attacks.

5. The Syria uprising would be over with. It would be impossible for the Syrian National Council to continue to oppose the government and risk being tagged as genuinely Israeli agents. The Baath would be consolidated in Syria.

6. An Iran-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut axis would be strengthened, allowing for resupply of Hizbullah capabilities. Beirut would be pushed into arms of the new axis. Gulf oil states and Iraq and Iran would quickly rebuild Lebanon.

7. Iraq would be radicalized. PM Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq would have to support Hizbullah and Lebanon or risk losing face inside al-Da’wa and losing backing in parliament of Sadr, al-Hakim and other Shiite religious forces. Al-Maliki has already given, as a reason for supporting al-Assad, the danger that Israel will take advantage of turmoil in the Fertile Crescent. Iraq would likely use its oil wealth to help rebuild Lebanon and al-Maliki’s Islamic Mission Party (al-Da’wa al-Islamiya), which helped create Hizbullah, would strengthen relations with it. You could see cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army supply men and arms to Hizbullah in Lebanon, as well.

8. The European left and liberals would be horrified and unlike in the past could well take action. Remember that the scenario is that Israel, having gone rogue and poisoned Isfahan and maybe other populations with toxic chemicals and radioactivity, went on to destroy Lebanon’s airport, harbor, electricity plants, oil refineries, roads, bridges, etc. Ireland, Norway, and possibly some other European governments, plus large numbers of European civil society organizations and unions might well slap economic boycotts and sanctions on Israel (50% of Israel’s trade is with Europe). Significant negative measures by EU not impossible, including in area of scientific and technological exchange. In my view, the BDS movement in Europe would become a wave and once that happens, it could have a long term impact on the Israeli economy.

9. The region’s diplomatic dynamics could be changed. The possibility exists of a rupture between Israel and Turkey. It is also possible that Egypt will terminate the Camp David peace accords. The Egyptian military won’t care about the strike on Iran, but the Egyptian public would be horrified by that and by the likely third Lebanon war. The Muslim Brotherhood, now dominant in the Egyptian parliament, would have to react strongly or risk losing credibility in the eyes of the Egyptian public.

10. Over succeeding years, significant Israeli out-migration could occur by Israelis with sufficient education and training to find jobs elsewhere, who became convinced that the Middle East will just never settle down and be a pleasant environment for them. This development would strengthen the internal position of the Palestinian-Israelis and possibly of the Haredim (who are probably more committed to staying and toughing it out), and weaken the Ashkenazi secular elite. Ironically, Barak has admitted that some of the impetus for preventing a nuclear Iran is to forestall this out-migration scenario, but he doesn’t seem to realize that a strike on Iran could actually have a similar demographic outcome if the region doesn’t take it lying down.

It seems obvious to me that if all these developments actually occurred,they would be much worse for Israel than if Iran actually did start a weapons program and Iran and Israel replicated on a regional scale the MAD US-Soviet standoff of an earlier era.

76 Responses

  1. All good points, especially Egypt which is really up in the air right now.

    The idea that Egypt’s military dictatorship would be able to keep the commitment it made to the New York Times that it would retain control of foreign policy would become sheer nonsense if Israel went to war especially with Lebanon, but even possibly with Iran.

    link to nytimes.com

    The new majority is likely to increase the difficulty of sustaining the United States’ close military and political partnership with post-Mubarak Egypt, though the military has said it plans to maintain a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs.

    Nasser didn’t have Iran (and Iraq) to work with, meaning allies with oil. A hostile Egypt comes to power in the 2010s and Israel is in real trouble, and attacking Lebanon may be the most likely way Israel can guarantee a hostile Egypt.

    All of these reasons are also why it is thankfully for everyone, even supporters of Israel, very unlikely that Israel will actually start this war.

  2. The question after all of the shouting and screaming ends, remains can the US accept Iran having legal nuclear weapons capabilities such as those Brazil has.

    Can the US say to Israel “Look, we tried to stop Iran from having these capabilities and we failed. There are limits to how much we can hold back the region to keep it safer for you and we’ve just hit one.”

    Because doing nothing and allowing Iran to develop legal nuclear weapons capabilities is the least counter-productive course the US and Israel can follow at this point. Anything else it tries would be worse, but it is much harder for Americans to accept this reality than one might expect.

    • The Israelis already believe this is the hidden goal of the US administration, and why Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby are viscerally opposed to a second term Obama.

      • You’re raising the question: is it problem that the US does not want to face reality, or is the problem that Israel does not want to face reality?

        Because the reality is the same. There is no course of action that the US or Israel can take today that will plausibly result in Iran having less nuclear weapons capabilities 5 years from not than doing nothing.

        The US has looked and looked and looked. I’m sure Israel has looked and looked and looked. Nobody has come up with a plausible answer.

        Somebody is in denial. Maybe it is the Americans, maybe it is Israel’s supporters who influence US policy, maybe it is both.

        No matter who it is, progress can’t be made until this denial is broken. For that reason, Obama isn’t helping by having a “hidden goal” of accepting reality if he does. Accepting reality means not keeping it secret but being open.

        The first person one lies to is often oneself.

        • Nation ‘states’ aren’t human beings. They are corporate entities solely based on the the instruments of violence and monopolization of force. That’s “reality”.

    • Why be so comfortable with nuclear proliferation, legal or otherwise? Shouldn’t we instead be pressuring Israel to fully disclose its nuclear weapons capabilities, and then work on a disarmament agreement to make the middle east a nuclear free zone and remove the motivation to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities on all sides?

      • You’ve hit the nail on the head there. If they really want Iran to have no nuclear weapons program, ever, that its the only way they are going to achieve it.

        • But if you’re not calling for either imposing sanctions and putting a military option on the table in the case of Israel or calling to stop those policies in the case of Iran, then you’re at best a hypocrite and at least as likely trying to divert attention away from the subject.

  3. you don’t mention the aerial bombing of tel aviv, etc … there might well be hostile air forces in the neighborhood.

    • Any of Israel’s neighbors, except Saudi Arabia, that attempted an air attack on Israel would be sacrificing its air forces for a symbolic action.

      • And Saudi Arabia is, for now, safely controlled by a stooge colonial government. So we don’t have to worry about that.

        But what happens if the pro-US colonial-era dictatorship loses power?

  4. Dear Professor Cole

    You omit the breakdown of relations between Israel and Russia and China.

    This recent commentary by Bhadrakumar on the nascent relationship between Israel China shows who is moving to a position of calling the shots in the Middle East.

    link to atimes.com

    Doubtless the Pentagon is now feeling edgy about sharing military technology with Israel that will inevitably find its way to China.

    • I read the article. They think big, don’t they? The Israelis and Arabs each think they can use China against each other, but China will just suck them dry and get them in debt, while advancing its economic juggernaut towards Europe. Still, that should be an improvement over the current madness.

  5. And all this assumes that an Israeli strike will be successful. There is a strong possibility that the Israeli attack will fail, with many Israeli aircraft shot down and a number of Israeli pilots held hostage. America would then have to either risk a global conflagration in order to dig Israel out of the hole that it has dug for itself, or let Israel suffer the consequences of a self-inflicted wound contrary to strong US advice.

    In an item reported earlier today by USA Today an Israeli put his finger on it saying “…if we win, we win. And if we lose, we lose the country – and people are in denial that this could happen.” The success of an Israeli attack on Iran would be hard for Iran but manageable, but the defeat of Israel in such a major venture could be the end of the country. Your final solution is the best option. Even in the unlikely event that Iran developed nuclear weapons, the best option would be to contain it, as has happened in the case of all nuclear states so far.

    • Except for insane asylum escapees, the consensus of defense analysts and experts is that Israel does not have the assets/capabilities to strike Iran and win.

      Should the maniacs in Tell Aviv start it and the US become embroiled in the conflict, it will require far more firepower than the arsenals of air & naval task forces, but land invasions and amphibious operations on a scale not seen since WWII. Anything less means certain defeat.

      The US military currently does not have the manpower for that kind of war. And to fight that kind of war will demand conscription, since an all volunteer military cannot sustain and make up for the wastage in human life. The Iranians otoh have prepared and trained for such a war and are determined not to go quietly into the night.

      Your “let Israel suffer the consequences of a self-inflicted wound contrary to strong US advice” is the likely outcome of an Israeli provocation. To do otherwise means the total militarization of US society and economy if the US were to have any expectation of winning such a war.

      I believe those are steps too far for Americas ruling elites, let alone its masses.

      • Agree with the substance. But I wish SOME terms were used only with footnotes or parentheticals or references that might have a prayer of giving them any kind of substantial meaning. Like “defeat.” And “victory.” Words that resonate in our monkey- and lizard-brains, but other than in the realm of trumpets and flag-waving have no meaning.

        Even if the land area known as “Iran” was reduced to smoking rubble and wailing survivors with enormous incentives for revenge, an outcome accomplished (presumably with similar catastrophe to the land area and people claimed to be “Israel”) by militarizing the rest of the US society and economy that’s not already been suborned that way, in what possible lexicon could that state of affairs be constituted a “victory?”

        The only way to win, once again, is not to play that negative-sum game.

        It’s not like there aren’t a zillion more games that are much more likely to have positive-sum outcomes.

        • Iran is determined to have a nuclear capability with or without weapons no matter the cost. Israel is determined the Iranians shall not even possess a limited uranium enrichment program for domestic medical and industrial purposes no matter the cost.

          That’s your “negative sum game”, and left to themselves there are no “positive sum outcomes.”

          Hated or loved, liked or not, the US is the only player in this game of realpolitik that may accomplish an outcome less than optimal for the parties involved short of war, regional devastation and a global economic meltdown.

    • Nothing would serve the interests of peace in the Middle East more than an Israeli fiasco in Iran.

      The proof? Look at the Lebanese border. It has been very, very quiet ever since Hezbollah proved it could resist Israeli aggression.

      If Israel was perceived to have failed against Iran, its freedom to act badly would vanish, except in the WB and Gaza. Israel would take out its frustration on the only place left for it to misbehave.

  6. If all of the above occurs, the media blitz from David Gregory’s MTP, Chris Wallace and his all war…all the time team of Krauthammer and “Bloody” Bill Kristol,along with he neocons at NYTimes(Brooks/Freidman) and WashPo (Richard Cohen etal) will put on the full court press to paint Israel as, once again, the innocent victim. One can almost hear the familiar whine…”They (Iran) wanted to wipe Israel off the face of the earth” or “If Iran gets nuclear weapons they will give nuclear suitcase bombs to terrorist!”

    With the help of the nightly news, Americans will only hear about the victimhood of America’s BFF in the middle east. A poor little peace loving ally who should bear no responsibilty for the calamity it forced on the world. In a word…Sickening!

    • Exactly, DSmith. The US will make decisions based on Israeli spin and propaganda. Congress will be pressured by the AIPAC lobby and by spun-up angry citizens who don’t realize how clueless and manipulated they are.

      Although it’s likely that the White House has good info and intelligence available, the PR onslaught may prevent them from taking actions that make sense in the reality-based community.

      Israel is the bull in the mid-east china shop, but the US is the rogue bull elephant. We need now, at the very least, one of the President’s thoughtful, evocative, and informative analyses delivered as a major speech.

  7. Insanity, but then when looking at what is going on inside America with our own people – it also is insanity.

  8. The hypothesis (and the ten scenarios which followed it) is based on the assumption that Israel and Iran could establish a “MAD stand-off”. But, considering the fact that the Iranian government is occupying itself with statements and actions declaring to remove the “The Zionist cancer” it is hardly likely we (Israel) could establish any formal connection..Even the idea of some kind of a “Red Phone” between the two leaders is highly unlikely – since not a single official Iranian will ever be seen or approach an Israeli official.

    Since the possibility of creating a MAD stand-off is highly likely the second option (=Israel tries to destroy Iranian WMD and entering a conventional conflict) will be a better choice.

    • But, considering the fact that the Iranian government is occupying itself with statements and actions declaring to remove the “The Zionist cancer” it is hardly likely we (Israel) could establish any formal connection

      Have you ever read the palaver the Marxist-Lenninists used to indulge in about the ultimate fall of the capitalist countries? How about Mao at the time of the Chinese nuclear breakout?

      Talk is cheap.

      The Iranians have always kept back-channel communications open with us (the Great Satan).

      • Well, that is a gamble, that they will keep some kind of an open channel. BUT in order to prevent nuclear holocaust, the two countries MUST have a direct and immediate connection, such as the red phone between the white house and the Kremlin. Since the duration of a nuclear strike is 10-15 minutes, back channels and indirect connections are totally useless.

        • Well, that is a gamble

          As opposed to a preventive war? That’s not a gamble? That’s not a much-more significant gamble?

          Your country didn’t just get out of Iraq. Don’t talk to me about war being the safe option for people who don’t want to gamble.

  9. The most obvious outcome of such an attack is that Iran will withdraw from NPT and accelerate its drive for nuclear weapons, even if there was none before.

    I personally believe that the Middle East should be a nuclear-free zone but since that is not going to happen and Israel will not give up its nukes, the second best solution is to balance that with Iranian nukes. Iranian nukes will bring peace to the Middle East, as counter-intuitive as it may sound because it will force Israel to make real peace with its neighbors, curtail its military adventurism and abandon its dream of Nakba III – the invasion of Jordan in order to expel remaining Palestinians in order to achieve a Palestinian-free Palestine – the end game of the Zionist project (or at least a temporary goal until further expansion).

    • The Iranians don’t need to produce nukes to counter and diminish Israeli hegemony in the M/E. They merely need to become a nuclear capable state like Brazil or Japan, which full mastery of uranium enrichment and related technologies gives them.

  10. The plutocracy has gone over the edge. This will even hurt them. They must simply be crazy to start a war on Iran.

    The possible war with Iran has been a staple of the right wing foreign policy for a decade. My hunch is that only courageous journalists like Sy Hersh stopped an invasion during W Bush’s term because they exposed the plans.

    Obama has followed up on Bush in yet another way.

    Glenn Greenwald’s column at salon.com describes the use of drones to target rescue workers. Maybe the CIA and the security complex are getting ready to use drones on the OWS demonstrators in the US. Wait. They already have us tracked down from our Internet and phone connections and have our patterns monitored so they could just hire a mafia hit man for much less money to take us out.

    Journalist work in this done by people on England.

    I am not including Glenn’s column at http://www.salon.com because it is a little hard to get to unless you subscribe. Here is a Common Dreams piece on the topic with a link to Glenn’s column.

    link to commondreams.org

  11. There would also be significant blowback against the Jewish community for its perceived support of a country that dragged the US into yet another war, caused oil prices to rise and plunged the economy into another recession.

    Neocons have to be careful of what they ask for. They might get it and regret the results.

    • Naaah — Being a Neocon means NEVER having to say you’re sorry. Or were, mmmmpppff, “wrong…”

    • There would also be significant blowback against the Jewish community for its perceived support of a country that dragged the US into yet another war, caused oil prices to rise and plunged the economy into another recession.

      You’re basing this on…what? When has that ever happened in American history?

      Was there a backlash against Franco-Americans or WASPs during World War One? Or Two?

      Was there an anti-French backlash over Vietnam?

      I’d hate to characterize your comment as wishful thinking, but I can’t figure out what would make someone conclude that a group of Americans of a certain ethnicity would suffer a backlash because we ended up joining a war on their side.

      • Not even “their side.”

        The side of a country with a population of the same ethnic group.

        Obviously, Jewish Americans are OUR – that is, the American – “side.”

        • I would take a long moment and re-think John H’s premise several times more, and than again before totally writing it off.

          Apparently its forgotten the social, professional and political discrimination Jewish/Americans suffered prior to WWII in the US. It was WWII and genocide that turned public opinion, not money, media influence and Hollywood where Jewish/Americans held some prominence.

          Zealous, Zionist insane asylum escapees are a threat to patriotic and loyal Jewish/Americans, who are fully aware that love for Israel among America’s masses is not broad or deep.

        • There used to be discrimination against Catholics in this country, too. Did our fighting on the side of the French cause a resurgence?

          I’m quite comfortable indeed dismissing the premise that something that has never, ever happened given similar circumstances would, for the first time in American history, happen.

  12. I read this today:

    “If Israel does a unilateral strike, this could be a real problem for the national security interests of the United States,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said today on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    That’s all that should matter to Americans. For the Israelis, them to their way, us to ours – so to speak.

    • I hope he really meant it and not added behind our backs to the AIPAC agents “…so we better wage a full scale war against Iran pre-emptively”

  13. 11. Iran would likely retaliate against the US and has more resources than Al Queda ever did. Global crisis like nobody (including Israel) has seen.

  14. Once you start looking there are more than ten reasons. One of the biggest: would an attack really solve anything? Would anything change? Israel apparently cannot perceive any ill effects of a couple more Mid East neighbors trashed and far less stable than now. If Israel got its attack, would it become more relaxed, less paranoid , more cooperative with its neighbors and the Palestinians? I don’t think so. What of some additional millions of Muslims who finally abandon the idea of peace and equity with Israel? A plus? Would chances increase that some other nuclear country decides that enough is anough and that it is time to help create a nuclear balance?

  15. A country that allows its base to be used to launch an attack on another country would not only be violating international law by aiding a war of aggression (people have hanged for that crime) but would also be a co-belligerent under international law and a legitimate target of reprisal attacks.

    • This is exactly right.

      This is why it’s legal for the US to fight a war in Afghanistan, for instance, even though al Qaeda’s attacks weren’t carried out by Afghans, or by the Afghan government.

  16. By the way, what would Israel be attacking, exactly? Civilian facilities that are under constant IAEA safeguards? What would be the point of that? If they attack some random buildings and claim they took out “secret” facilities, how will we know what these facilities really were, and who would know if there weren’t other facilities still functioning, since they’re so “secret” and all…

    • The only point of an Israeli attack would be to draw the US into a war with Iran. This would be the ultimate gamble, since the Obama and Bush administrations have on numerous occasions warned Israel against provoking or starting a war.

  17. Juan, I like the idea of civil-BDS warming up in Europe to the point that the governments feel obliged to overcome whatever (very strong and corrupt) pro-Israel feelings have prevented them (in 44 years) from taking action w.r.t. the evils of the CONDUCT adn (after 44 years also the EXISTENCE) of the occupation.

    But why do we have to wait for a military trigger? What exactly is it that disempowers Europe to adopt strong state-BDS right now, today, as a pre-emptive strike against Israel’s widely-trumpeted anti-Iran planning, especially as the “excuse” or “provocation” of the occupation has been with us for 44 years and is getting worse day by day?

  18. unfortunately, netanyahu seems to have adopted saddam as his role model, and believes attacking iran will help him consolidate power at home. i can’t imagine any other upside for him. upsides for other israelis, none at all.

  19. What are the odds Iran will just go ahead and capitulate on its right to develop a nuclear capability, or any number of other Israeli “redlines” that really define its very sovereignty?

    What are the odds Israel will bring itself to accept Iran’s sovereign right to develop its regional power in a way that would effectively limit their freedom of action? (This being the real issue).

    What are the odds the US, or someone else (who I’d give better odds), can broker a fair and enduring accommodation between the needs/positions of these two?

    If the knot is not cut, something has to give and Iranian actions will force something to happen at some point, and most probably before a US presidential election, when their power over the US congress is strongest. What if Israel came to the US and TOLD them, in no uncertain words, that if the US does not help, one way or the other, to neuter Iran, they’ll be “forced” to do it themselves?

    Israel cannot do the full job conventionally and it would have to be done with “special weapons.” Would this threat serve to coerce the US into a conventional attack, despite the ramifications? Israel does not lack chutzpah, and the law of the jungle is to never, ever make empty threats, such as those they’ve issued to Iran for years now.

    I don’t think they could bully Obama into shooting the US/world economy in the head. But they would be able to get the precise posturing we now see from the US, including O’bamas comment on the Today Show this morning that “the US/Israel are in lockstep” on this issue. Israel could pull the trigger on some day when it’s least suspected and the winds are most forgiving, slightly before the US election, when congressional blowback could be best contained. Twenty minutes later, it’d be an accomplished fact. All the World/Obama could do is stamp their feet in outrage, but they’d soon get over it (they always do). For evidence of the plausibility of this scenario, look to the history of oil futures being sold at this time in 2008, which spiked shortly before the conventions: the consensus of the the smart inside-money (is there any other type?) saw the probability of this scenario then, and the situation is more acute now.

    Objectively, the damage will be limited and whatever photo-ops to emerge would be delayed, delivering little dramatic impact. The practical impact, done properly, would be largely an abstraction. Israel really has no other option anyway, short of a total change in their political character. To them, doing anything less would mean appeasement and forsaking control of their security as they have always conceived it. It’s a dirty job that’s better done now than later, and if done right it won’t need to be repeated. The real bottom line is that Israel won’t be hearing about any more neighboring nuclear programs. They like to talk about living in a “very rough neighborhood,” and they cannot let anyone think they are NOT comfortable doing whatever it takes, without hesitation. It isn’t as though Iran was not warned; In fact, we’ll all be reminded, “those people were just asking for it.” It will not be without cost, but its the lesser of a set of far more unforgiving options.

    There is that awkward business about Pakistani reactions, but people generally get around to doing what they really want to do, and at a primal level the Likud seems to be made up of the sort of people who would want/need to make an example out of iran. And at this point, short of re-inventing the fundamental nature of Israel or being saved by some incredibly effective (Scandinavian?) negotiators, its hard to see any other scenario.

  20. Hey! The Good News!!!

    Obama holds firm, despite public pronouncements to the contrary, and Israel goes it alone. Iran takes its licks, but somehow constrains itself from striking back. Radiation and big black holes dot their landscape.

    The myth of Israel righteousness is put to the lie. It becomes an outright Pariah. The US is put in the position of having to at least offer aid to Iran, or otherwise help it recover. Could it do any less, given its true worldwide constituency? Perhaps transferring all that Israeli aid to Iran. The Lobby would yell and scream, but the Likud would have shot themselves in the head and the outrageousness of our relationship with them would be finally brought fully out in the open.

    In this climate, and with reelection secured, if Obama pressed for true/fair negotiations, he will have a reasonable chance of success. Israel’s fundamental character will have to change, but it would be at a moment like this, when the cards are fundamentally reshuffled, that positive change would actually be possible.

    Too bad about the tens of thousands of Iranians that’d have to die, and the worldwide economic dislocation, but it would take something like this to make people in general wake up, smell the coffee, and address the situation effectively.

  21. how well does the india/pakistan nuclear sitzkrieg fit as an analogy to the future of iran and israel?

  22. well I wouldn’t exactly call it a sitzkrieg but there hasn’t been any major developments, so…

  23. PS: We now hear on the news Netanyahoo is coming to DC next month for high level discussions. These things are always going on, but at this moment there is clearly some sort of dramatic narrative being played out, and Israel leverage/control over domestic US politics will be peaking in the next few months.

  24. I am from Iran, a member of anti-government youth that have nothing to do with the fundamentalists governing us. We have a very normal (usually) western-style lives and all we want is highers education, peace, freedom and a better country, better relations with all the world.

    BUT BELIEVE ME, we have already seen what the US war has done to people of Iraq and Afghanistan and how genocide has become justified in the name of fight with terrorism!

    I DO BELIEVE that despite all our difficulties with our government, once our peace and security is threatened by the oil-greedy western monsters, WE WOULD ALL UNITE and defend our country and citizens against the intruders.

    BELIEVE ME, you kill my family and children in whatever justice you have and I will go nuts and kill you in return. (That is what all you sane people would do against intruders in your own lands, won’t you?)

    So I really advise you westerners and highly educated civilized modern brains to STOP murmuring people in the ME for whatever justification you have. Just stop this injustice.

    Take back your justice to your own land, talk to us like respected human beings and star seeing peace and respect from us too.

    And if you want us to ALL UNITE with our government against you, then attack us and kill our people. That would be the day we would fight, not for my country, but for our families, for not seeing American soldiers coming to our land and raping our girls and looting our land in the name of American fight against terrorism.

    Just be warned.
    I don’t believe in Islam, not do I believe in the American justice.

    Thank you all,
    Farshad, R
    Tehran

    • I agree and disagree. I am a devout Muslim, not too fond of my govt. but will fight to protect my land against Israel and US. Enough of injustice.

  25. Or it could be a very sophisticated Israeli bluff to get everyone here and around the word in a tizzy over the potential for war in order to pressure the UN to toughen sanctions to force Iran to come clean on its nuclear ambitions. If, in the end, Iran opens up its facilities and clearly abandons any nuclear weapons ambitions – and relations with the UN/US/Europe calm down …and there’s no Israeli strike…well, then it would be to everyone’s advantage.

    • nuclear weapons ambitions

      I see that phrase often. What does it mean to you?

      Does Brazil, in your opinion, have “nuclear weapons ambitions”?

      If Iran wants to have the capabilities Brazil has, then does Iran have “nuclear weapons ambitions”?

      This is one of the commonly used and inherently meaningless phrases that we should be defining.

    • I’m leaning towards this explanation, too: Israel as Bad Cop, with the UN/IAEA as Good Cop. Note that this theory does not require actual cooperation or intent on the part of the international community, just the Israelis deciding that they want to play that role.

      The likely effects of an Israeli strike are so plainly not worth it for them that I have trouble taking their threats seriously.

  26. I have to be honest, I don’t care much what Israel does after they attack. I care what will happen to Americans, because I would not be shocked in the Congress declared fucking war on Iran out of solidarity.

    You should try to determine outcomes in the US.

  27. If the US REALLY disapproved of an Israeli strike on Iran, and wanted to stop it, then the US should make it clear that if they detected such an attack was imminent or underway, then American jets and missiles would interdict Israeli attackers and stop them by force. THAT would deter an attack. Otherwise, the US is just blowing smoke.

    • “The US” better be better prepared in this circumstance than the USS Liberty and the 5th Fleet were in 1967.

      All those hair-trigger, hidden-tripwire, use-it-or-lose-it “assets” floating around out there like a junk full of fireworks with a crew that all smokes…

    • In general, countries do in fact REALLY disapprove of the actions of other countries, without then launching military strikes on them, all the time.

      Would you say the same of Turkey, Germany, or China? That, if they REALLY didn’t want Israel to attack Iran, they’d threaten the use of military force against Israel?

    • BTW, you’re talking about the United States unilaterally carrying out an attack on another country out of a Responsibility to Protect obligation.

      It’s generally the case that such actions aren’t legal under international law but, as in Libya and Cote D’Ivoire, require UNSC approval.

      • Actually he’s talking about denying Israel overflight of US-controlled airspace.

        You just misread that. I’m going to assume accidentally.

  28. An excellent post. However, the blowback of an Israeli strike on Iran will bring much more severe consequences at home(whether it is US or EU). We will see anti-war protests larger than anything we’ve ever seen. If the West is dragged into a ground war with Iran (which it will lose) lack of soldiers would call for the return of conscription, creating huge anti-government sentiments which can erupt into violence.

  29. Israeli air strikes at Iranian nuclear facilities as was done in 1981 against Iraq would not only lead to United Nations condemnation as it did in 1981 due to the IDF strike on Iraq, but also the unacceptable risk of a ballistic missile response by Iran, which a leader of the Iranian military has already threatened.

    As astutely recognized here, any military action of this magnitude will likely cause crude oil prices to skyrocket and thus inhibit worldwide economic recovery, which is slowly occurring.

  30. Attacking Iran without using ground forces is like throwing a match into a sea of petrol. Iran has more than 1000 cities and 78 million people with mountain surrounding many important cities. So the option of using ground forces to change the regime is a dream and very expensive. And just throwing bombs at them kills civilians and strengthen their regime. That is why war is a bad option with more costs than benefits.

  31. 11. The sight of Israeli bodies being dragged from Tel Aviv apartment blocks destroyed by Iranian missile attacks will lead to intense pressure to end the conflict once and for all. Having spread nuclear radiation about Iran already, Israel decides to use its own nuclear weapons.

  32. The unstated 11th negative consequence to the people and state of Israel, if their current ruling clique were to bomb Iran despite our strategic objections, would be the damage to their final and sole alliance with the US. With allies like Bibi and Avigdor, picking our fights for us on a regular basis, who needs foes?

  33. It seems clear why Mr. Cole has time to pontificate since none of his teaches since none of his comments since his comments do not address any real world issues like survival:

    Iran: Genocide a Moral Obligation
    An article calling for the destruction of Israel and genocide has appeared on numerous official government and military websites in Iran
    By Gavriel Queenann
    First Publish: 2/6/2012, 11:04 PM

    Ali Khameini
    Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons/sajed.ir
    Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday endorsed a new doctrine explaining why it would be ‘legally and morally justified’ to commit genocide and wipe Israel off the map.

    The article was written by Khameini’s close adviser Alireza Forghani and endorsed by the Supreme Leader whose writings played a critical role in its drafting.

    The article has since appeared on numerous Iranian government and military websites.

    “Israel is a cancerous tumor in the Middle East,” the article in the ultraconservative Farsi-language Alef news site. “Israel is a satanic media outlet with bombers. Every Muslim is required to arm themselves against Israel.”

    “I have already noted the usurper state of Israel poses a grave threat to Islam and Muslim countries. Islam and Muslim states must not lose this opportunity to remove the corruption from out midst. All of our problems are because of Israel – Israel of America.”

    “The first step should be the absolute destruction of Israel. To this end, Iran could make use of long-range missiles. The distance between us is only 2,600 KM. It can be done in minutes.”

    The crux of the piece says 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.

    However, during a lengthy discussion of the ‘jurisprudence of Jihad,’ the article makes it clear that an Israeli strike ‘isn’t required’ and would ultimately serve as a pretext for genocide.

    Instead, he says ‘defensive Jihad’ justifies annihilating Israel and targeting its civilian population because Israel has “spilled Muslim blood” and “oppresses” its Muslim neighbors.

    “With regard to the fake state of Israel in Palestine, which is included in the first Qibla of Muslims, we must defend the sacred blood of Muslims in Islamic Palestine using any means necessary,” it goes on to explain.

    “If the enemy should invade Muslim lands and spill Muslim blood, it is obligatory upon the Muslim masses to use every means possible to defend the lives and property of their brothers. It does not require a judge’s permission.

    “But regardless of the Israeli aggression against Palestine and the Muslims, it is clear the heads of this fake regime seek to dominate other Islamic lands on its borders and to develop hegemony over the region,” it reads.

    The article makes it clear Iran sees no place in the Middle East for the Jews.

    “Political subdivisions of states and political boundaries between units are not relevant and what is important is to divide the nations and territories based on beliefs and religions groups, blood and blood. Muslim blood must be separate from Infidel blood,” it says, citing Khameini’s writings.

    The document then cites statistics saying 5.7 million of Israel’s 7.5 million citizens are Jewish – as a justification for attack. It then proceeds to break down Israel by region and demographic concentrations in order that the most Jews possible would be killed.

    It specifically states that Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa ,contain more than 60 per cent of the Jewish population, which could be hit by Shahab 3 ballistic missiles to “easily kill everyone.”

    The publication of the doctrine comes after Khamenei announced on Friday that Iran would support any nation or group that attacks the ‘cancerous tumor’ of Israel.

    Since its publications several Iranian officials have called for a strike on Israel “within the year.”

    link to israelnationalnews.com

    That is the reality that Israel faces

  34. And more innnocent people would be killed.
    Folks should go watch and listen to Chris Matthews segment on Syria, Iran last night. absurd. He said that the “Un guys playing games” As if US administrations have not played very serious games at the UN.
    Secretary of State Clinton calling the situation in Syria a “tragedy” . That warmonger is almost as guilty as those in the Bush administration who lied this nation into Iraq based on a “pack of lies” Clinton is covered with the Iraqi people and American soldiers blood.

    He ends that segment by saying ” is there something worse than Iran having nuclear weapons”. Think about that. If there isn’t anything worse. Strike them.”
    “Strike them” Chris Matthews is as bad as the rest of the warmongers. Sure hope he does not try to spin this promotion for an attack on Iran after the fact as he did on the Iraq invasion. Don’t try to pretend after an attack on Iran that he played hardball by asking tough or challenging questions of those repeating unsubstantiated claims about Iran on his program. And sure hope he does not pretend that he helped inform the American public with facts about Iran by having experts and former Bush administration officials Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on or Professor Juan Cole on his program . This is more MSM complicity

    Chris Matthews “is there something worse than Iran having nuclear weapons. Think about that. If there is not anything worse. Strike them”

  35. Just where the hell is the evidence that Iran is enriching uranium above levels that they are legally able under the NPT? When will we hear just one MSM host whisper that Israel continues to refuse to sign the NPT and open up to inspections

    • The rulers of exceptional nations, any nations, actually, as far as I can see, do not subject themselves, subject their autonomy, to the RuleofLaw, particularly the elastic, Teflon-and-petroleum-grease-coated tenets of that silliness called “international law.” Except when it suits the purposes of some Jesuitical casuistrist (as in this little tale, link to homepages.stmartin.edu ) to invoke some “principled stand” under one of the various Well Known and Agreed Precepts of that chimerical body of jurisprudence, mashed up of various treaties and compacts and agreements which are all subject to being ignored or enforced by decisions that have always been, but in the age of dronewars are ever more frequently, made “on the fly.”

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