Israel, Iran Near Point of No Return

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 09:35 AM

By Herbert London

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The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out what it considers the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of Jews worldwide.

Calling Israel a danger to Islam, the website Alef, with ties to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the opportunity must not be lost to remove “this corrupting material.” There is a “jurisprudential justification” to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel, and in that “the Islamic government of Iran must take the helm.”

The article written by Alireza Forghani, a strategy specialist in Khamenei’s camp, is being shown on most state-owned sites, including the Revolutionary Guards’ Fars News Agency, a clear indication this view is embraced by the regime.

The justification for this stance is the belief Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and, as a consequence, Iran must pre-empt. Although many strategic experts described these comments as “bluster,” Iran’s Defense Ministry test-fired a two-stage solid fuel ballistic missile putting a new satellite into orbit, a development that indicates Iran has ICBM capability.

The head of Mossad recently noted that Iran has sufficient enriched uranium for four to six nuclear bombs and is continuing to enrich uranium despite four sets of U.N. sanctions. Recognizing this present state of affairs, Israeli forces have been engaged in a variety of preparations for an attack with Secretary of Defense Panetta indicating it may take place in the spring, despite U.S. disapproval.

It should be noted that the 1981 bombing of the Osirak nuclear facility in Iraq was also criticized by the American government, notwithstanding the fact nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein would have been a game-changer in the Middle East forestalling the first Gulf War.

Any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is far more complicated than the 1981 bombing at Osirak where there were only 12 casualties. This attack will have collateral damage and significant political blowback, albeit several Sunni nations will publicly condemn and privately congratulate Israel should the Iranian nuclear program be set back or destroyed.

To avoid or control retaliation, Israel will consider a variety of secondary targets including communication infrastructures and energy resources. But this cannot be a sterile operation; retaliation has to be entertained including the firing of thousands of missiles by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon into Israeli population centers.

Israel will be under siege. How the Obama administration responds is critical. The current passive climate in Washington has given the Iranian regime encouragement and explains why Netanyahu will only give D.C. officials 24-hour notice of the impending attack.

What must be realized is that Israel cannot allow Iran to attack first. That would invite a second holocaust. Every Israeli pilot in his F-16 realizes he is fighting to prevent the slaughter of Jews and the survival of Israel.

Iran contends its military doctrine is defensive pre-emption, what the U.N. charter calls “anticipatory self-defense.” But with the development of enriched uranium and statements about the destruction of Israel from Ahmadinejad to Khamenei, it is Iran that is on the offensive and Israel that must defend itself.

The world is at the precipice of disaster. Should these attacks take place; the U.S. will not be able to insulate itself. Iran will claim Israel needed the approval and assistance of the U.S. before an attack could be launched. And Israel will argue the inability of the U.S. to constrain Iranian nuclear weapons development forced its hand.

It was assumed by the Obama intelligence team that time is on our side. That moment has now passed. The time is here. Sanctions have not had an appreciable effect in the Iranian enrichment program.

In fact, Obama himself has delayed enactment hoping against reality that Iran will come to its senses. There is only a military option that remains, one that the U.S. will not consider, but one Israel cannot avoid. As a result 2012 is the year of difficult and, some would say, unavoidable decisions. The fate of Israel and a large part of mankind hang in the balance.

Herbert London is president emeritus of Hudson Institute and author of the book Decline and Revival in Higher Education (Transaction Books).






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