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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Iran holds Israel hostage, and that may be stabilizing 

Iran has threatened to attack Israel's nuclear facility and other "strategic assets" if the United States attacks Iran.
If the United States launches an attack on Iran, the Islamic republic will retaliate with a military strike on Israel's main nuclear facility.

Dr. Abasi, an advisor to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, said Tehran would respond to an American attack with strikes on the Dimona nuclear reactor and other strategic Israeli sites such as the port city of Haifa and the Zakhariya area.

Haifa is also home to a large concentration of chemical factories and oil refineries.

This is, of course, a completely illegal threat, unless of course the United States launches its attack with Israel's assistance, which is highly unlikely (but, scroll down this post for a reference to "listening centers" that Israel has established in Iraqi Kurdistan). If the world were at all principled, we would expect howls of outrage from the rule-of-law countries. It isn't, so we won't hear those howls, but there you have it. The moral equivalence fetishists will take refuge behind the excuse that Israel also has undeclared nuclear weapons, so it is hardly in a position to object.

Now for the counterintuitive part: perversely, this new threat from Iran is at one level comforting. Why? Because it amounts to recognition that Israel's existence -- however nettlesome and offensive it may be to the mullahs and their constituents -- is more valuable to Iran's national defense than Israel's lack of existence. That realization, which was by no means inevitable, is stabilizing because it means that Iran is unlikely to launch a first strike against Israel (other than through proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas).

One might also wonder why Iran is leveling this threat now. It has two other big cards -- the price of oil and its ability to disrupt in Iraq. It may have decided that yesterday's news -- that al Qaeda was gunning for Saudi oil targets and that Iraq was blowing up without orders from Tehran -- had weakened their leverage. After all, if oil is really expensive and Iraq is in chaos, why not hit Iran? Well, because they will retaliate against Israel.

7 Comments:

By Blogger reliapundit, at Sat Feb 25, 02:13:00 PM:

i feel that you minimize the fact that iran can operate thru proxies.

they can do this with conventional means or with terror or a nuke. they can and will.

as blair has repeatedly argued, these fanatics are ONLY limited by their means.

and a recent irainian / shia fatwa has ruled that using a nuke is okay against any nation that has a nuke.

and the bombing of the golden mosque of sammarra proves that these fanatics will use a nuke against israel even if a nuke might desroy the so-called alaksa mosque. therefore: NOTHING can or will deter these fanatics.

that's why a premptive attack is absolutely NECESSARY. one that destroys their nuke assets and their missile systems and navy and air force and gasoline/kerosene/diesel refinieries.

the best solution to the iran problem is regime change. (we will give the iranians as long as we can to achive this, but we will not giove them until iran has a nuke.)

the next best solution is an inspections regime which is fool-rpoof.
this will not happen.

the next and most likely solution is a preemptive attack.

the only horrific potential side-effect is if iran has already prepostioned nukes in gaza and the west bank. this isn't likely. what is likely is a massive land assault on israel - but israel expects this and this is why they re-deployed out of gaza and are redeploying out of much of the west bank.

it would be best if we whack them AFTER assad has gone into voluntary exile, and a pro-west constitutional regime is in his place.

but, regardless of anything else, we will whack iran not later than december 08, ESPECIALLY if a dem wins the WH or any house of congress.

WHY?!bush will not bequethe a nuke-armed iran to the next prez.

bush will have between november 15 and january 15 to redeploy our offensive miltary assets to destroy iran's offensive assets.

given today's relentlessly anti-bush dhimmitudinal atmosphere, this last scenariuo is what i expect.

i expect that the GOP will do poorly in the next election despite the fact that the economy is good and that we are defeating al qaeda everywhere.

the msm and the cowardly self-serving demagogues of both parties are already underming our efforts in The Long War, and will probably cost us at least one house in congress. this could cripple the war ewffort.

if the dove-dems win both houses they will do to the iraqis whay they doid to the south vietnamese and contras: abandon them.

then Bush will use his CiC powers to attack iran. the dems will howl, threaten impeachment - in public - and sigh a sigh of relief in private, showing the same hypocrisy towards bush as the world showed toward the israelis in 1983 when they destroyed saddam's osirak nuke plant.

all the best!  

By Anonymous Don Cox, at Sat Feb 25, 02:41:00 PM:

"Iraq was blowing up without orders from Tehran "___There is at least a 50% chance that Iran is behind the blowing up of the shrine. It could equally be them or Al Qaeda. Both want chaos in Iraq.  

By Blogger blogagog, at Sat Feb 25, 07:01:00 PM:

Reliapundit is over-conservative on his esimation. The damage caused by Iran having a nuke is not that they will use it. It's that they will give it to Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Chechen crazies. And they will, if they get one. And they can even claim it wasn't their fault... it was stolen or something.

That's why I predict the smackdown comes in the April/May area, not December. Too many lives are at stake. American and Israeli lives will be but a small portion of the toll if Iran isn't stopped.

If some goofball blog reader such as myself can see it so clearly, it's unlikely that someone in the DOD cannot.  

By Blogger lecentre, at Sat Feb 25, 11:24:00 PM:

The first edition of the Carnival of Centrism is up. We've got yourself, the Lebanese bloggers, and a number of other interesting things on foreign policy, canadian politics, and economics which might interest you. Centrist carnival.
Great post, by the way, though it's questionable if the Persians will see things the way you do, given they're not too big on logic and rational thought.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Feb 26, 11:04:00 AM:

You know Iran means it to, because they are already hitting Israel, every chance they get. Hezbullah anyone?

This threat is like having a man walk into the room and start punching you in the head, and when you start defending yourself, he begins to shout 'If you don't stop it, I'll kick you in the groin!'

In other words, it should be ignored because Iran is already a threat to Israel, and has been for quite a while.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Feb 26, 03:45:00 PM:

Bellicose, propagandistic hot air (spewed by an advisor to the Pasdaran, not a government minister, military commander, or anyone else with official power) which is not indicative of any substantial change in Iranian thinking. They've always linked the US and Israel and in their twisted minds, striking at the Israelis if the US attacks them makes perfect sense. Striking at an Israeli nuclear reactor in retaliation for hypothetical strikes on their own nuclear reactors panders to their population's sense of justice.

And on a purely practical level, what makes anyone think that Iran would be *able* to strike highly secure Israeli targets? Air assests would have to cross two countries, one of which is openly hostile, and I don't think that Hezb'allah has the ability to lauch commando style raids on what is I'm sure highly secure facilities.  

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