Say No to a Persian War

The London Times has, in recent years, been a reliable conduit both for the scattered remains of the neoconservative movement and for the right wing in Israel. Today, they are reporting--and the Jerusalem Post is echoing--that Israel is preparing for a strike in Iran. This strike would involve hitting at least twelve targets, some moving, around 1,000 miles away.

I think Benjamin Netanyahu is many things, most of them probably criminal. I've called him a Jewish Nixon, only a little in jest. But he is not an idiot. What he tends to do is create climates in which others feel they can only act through violence. He's got Ehud Barak on side in this effort, and even, apparently, (and not to her credit) Tzipi Livni.

Can he really be plotting or encouraging a Persian war?

I agree with the American Defense Secretary, not that it matters. He thinks that an action against Iran would only delay their nuclear programme whilst strengthening their resolve.

I'd go further. If the Iranian regime is suffering from low oil prices, why push them sky high, and predictably endanger sea and pipeline traffic? If the Iranian revolutionary guards, ayatollahs, presidency, and urban middle classes are all at each other's throats, why unite them? If the Iranian nuclear facilities are underground, what is going to damage them short of nuclear ordnance? Why is anyone willing to throw brave young Jewish men and women, and for that matter the land of Israel, into the mincer?

I hope that what is going on is just sabre-rattling. I also hope that if I am wrong, as I am frequently, that any action would not result in massive retaliation.

Iran is extraordinarily dangerous. My American readers should understand that it is immediately dangerous to Europe; a big enough strike on them endorsed by us, and we can look at a range of responses from terrorism every Tuesday to kissing Rome good-bye. I would also point out that it has not been significantly weakened by sanctions, that Persia has been around for thousands of years. Attacking it would be a bit like taking on China, and in terms of strategic challenge not that different from invading Russia.

I would further point out that the forces of the west are currently being churned in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that both Britain and the United States are near bankruptcy, just in case any armchair warriors or Humpty the Grumpy Numpties out there want another fascistic war.

Iran has links to the pirates in Somalia, it funds and arms Hamas, it can raise networks of terrorism and strike as a state across the Mediterranean and across Europe.

Localise the Fateh-Hamas war and play it by proxy; pursue a two-state solution in public; run defense operations in a clandestine manner--all of these programmes if given as orders would make sense.

But start a Persian war under cover of upholding UN resolutions that come from a body no one in Israel can have that much time for, given the way Israel has been isolated within it? In defiance of an American administration probably willing to throw you over the side? Come on.

I understand the frustration, but I can't believe that lashing out will do anything other than get Jews and a whole lot of other people killed.


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