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Tags: Preemptive | war | Iran | nuclear

Pre-emptive Plan Needed to Stop Iran

Tawfik Hamid By Tuesday, 28 February 2012 11:44 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

In an Op-Ed recently published by Fareed Zakaria, he discouraged Israel from attacking Iran. He builds his point of view on the following observations:

1. The U.S. expected that the Russians would use their nukes to attack it if they developed a nuclear weapon, yet nothing happened.

2. The terrorist-supporting military in Pakistan have been deterred from using their nuclear arsenal by mutual fears of destruction.

3. Over the past decade, there have been thousands of suicide bombings by Saudis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Pakistanis, but not a single suicide attack by an Iranian.

Zakaria concluded that “even if one day Tehran manages to build a few crude bombs, a policy of robust containment and deterrence is better to contemplate than a pre-emptive war.”

While the above view may be convincing for many, it is not convincing in the case of Iran.

First of all, we cannot ignore or negate the possibility that the Iranians will use their nukes to attack other countries simply based on the fact that the Russians have not done so. Accepting this logic is like a doctor concluding that a mass cannot be cancerous based on the fact that another mass in the same person was benign.

This logic is simply faulty as each case must be evaluated independently. For example, unlike the Russians, the Iranians have an ideology that justifies and encourages death for the cause of Allah or martyrdom.

Additionally, I agree that the terrorist-supporting military in Pakistan have been deterred by mutual fears of destruction; however, we need to distinguish between these “terrorist-supporting military” and the ‘terrorists’ themselves. The former still care for their luxurious life and thus can be deterred by death, while the latter dream about dying for Allah to guarantee entry to paradise.

There is a huge difference between supporting terrorists to conduct acts of terror against others for some political purposes — as in the case of the “terrorist-supporting military” in Pakistan — and dying for a cause.

It is illogical to conclude that the Islamic regime of Iran will be deterred by fear of mutual destruction simply because the “terrorist-supporting military” of Pakistan has been deterred by a similar factor.

We need to realize that Aiat Allah Roh Allah "Khomeini," the leader of the Iranian revolution and the spiritual leader of the current Islamic regime of Iran said: The purest joy in Islam "is to kill and be killed for Allah." Khomeini was referring to the following verse of the Koran: {Al-Twba 9 :111} Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their money; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth.

Unlike the Iranian case, many of the military leaders of Pakistan are quite secular (even if in secret) and are thus less likely to use a religious ideology to justify killing others and to be killed as well in the process.

The statement that, “over the past decade, there have been thousands of suicide bombings by Saudis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Pakistanis, but not been a single suicide attack by an Iranian” is correct (but should mention the “human waves” of young Iranian men that were sent to their death in Iraqi minefields?

And what about Hezbollah in Lebanon — they are Shia and conduct suicide attacks, such as that against the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut?). However, we need to recognize that all the formerly mentioned countries other than Iran are Sunnis while Iran is Shia. The difference is significant, as unlike the Shia of Iran, the Sunni world does not have a Margeia (a highest religious authority) that must be obeyed.

In the Sunni world, the terrorist groups do not wait for a Margeia to give them the permission to do a suicide attack. On the contrary, the Shia MUST wait for the Margeia to give them such permission. We were just lucky that the current Margeia has not ordered the Iranians to conduct suicide bombings until now.

If Iran developed a nuclear weapon, we all will be at the mercy of this Margeia. If he was a peaceful man we are OK, but if he was not, we will be in real trouble. The world cannot afford living under this continuous threat.

The possibility that the Iranians — after making their nuclear bombs — smuggle some of them into some western countries or inside the oil-rich areas of Saudi Arabia to use them to intimidate the world must not be ignored. Similarly, we should not ignore the possibility that the Iranians could give some of their nuclear devices to Hezbollah or Hamas to attack Israel on their behalf.

Dealing with Islamists taught us that ignoring their threat at its early stages can be catastrophic. For example, ignoring al-Qaida’s attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 opened the gate to the tragedy of Sept. 11. Had we destroyed al-Qaida at this early stage (in 1998), Sept. 11 (in 2001) would not likely have happened.

In other words, it is wiser to remove cancer at its early stages than to wait for it until it becomes inoperable. Similarly, destroying the nuclear capabilities of Iran at this stage can protect us from disasters in the future.

The Iranians may attempt to conduct some terrorist acts in response to attacks on their nuclear capabilities. However, protecting ourselves from such acts and dealing with them is certainly much easier than dealing with a nuclear Iran. For example, improving U.S. security measures has prevented major terror acts on U.S. soil for more than 10 years after Sept. 11 despite remaining a target for many Islamic terrorist groups.

Similarly, terror attacks on Israel declined significantly after Israel took wise security measures including building a security defense barrier. Similar tactics can be used to protect Western countries from a possible Iranian retaliation that may occur after a pre-emptive strike against their nuclear capabilities.

A pre-emptive war strategy to remove the Iranian nuclear cancer at stage 0 is much safer for us than waiting until it reaches stage 4. Time only allows cancers to grow and become difficult to treat.

Dealing with the Iranian response to a pre-emptive strike on their nuclear facilities can be easier than dealing with Iran after they attain a nuclear bomb.

If soft power can effectively solve the Iranian issue and prevent Iran from getting nuclear bombs, it is certainly advisable to use such an approach. However, if these measures fail, the wise approach to be used with Iran in this case is the old saying, “Eat them for lunch before they eat you for dinner.”

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012 11:44 AM
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