Thursday, 21 August 2008

Playing with matches 3

Mick Hartley on Saudi Arabia and an Iranian bomb: We Will Stop Them.

The nature of the Iranian regime requires Europe as a whole to press Iran to forebear from developing nuclear arms; and a primary way of doing so is to press Russia to refrain from offering a commercially profitable helping hand, and to press Russia to refrain from sending additional weaponry to Iran. The sudden and vast increase in the power of the pro-Russia parties across a large swath of Europe will make it harder for Europe to do anything of the sort. So the Iranians, too, or at least the Ahmadinejad faction, emerge from the invasion a little stronger. Already the Iranians have benefitted in Iraq, given the withdrawal of 2,000 gung-ho Georgian troops. The setback to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon is likewise an Iranian triumph.

Iran's successes will surely weigh on the debate within Israeli political and military circles, and not in favor of patience and conciliation. The events of August 2008 make Israel look more vulnerable, instead of less. The Israeli argument for relying on European solidarity against Iran, and the Israeli argument for looking to the United States to prevent rash acts by the inveterately hostile, will look weaker. The argument among the Israeli political and military circles in favor of launching a desperate pre-emptive attack on Iran, or in favor of renewing the war in Lebanon, will end up looking stronger.

The potential of new and catastrophic wars in the Middle East has therefore grown.

Earlier posts one and two. Follow up posts four, five, six and seven.

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