by The Old Codger Throughout the world, Israel’s invasion of Gaza was inappropriate and “over the top,” except in America and Israel. The world has typically been at odds with America over Israel. Only one US President has ever “stood up” to Israel, and that was President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he threatened dire consequences to Israel if it did not withdraw from Gaza in 1956.
Since Eisenhower, all subsequent administrations have been sympathetic and supportive with all that Israel does at the very least. The apex of full approval of Israel was on June 8, 1967 when Israel bombed the USS Liberty killing 34 sailors, There is scant evidence that the Obama administration will be any different in general. This is especially true when the long running disputes between Iran and Israel are factored in.
In a Nut Shell
Israel has been emboldened by its recent invasion of Gaza and is totally oblivious to the sentiments of the rest of the world. Most Americans, particularly those on the right, which includes virtually all born again Christians and Evangelical Christians fully supported the invasion with the rationalization that Israel has the divine right to defend itself. Little consideration is given to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in general.
Both Israel and Hamas are claiming victory as a result of the latest invasion. The claim of victory by Hamas can be easily discounted as arrogance and bravado. They took a ‘licking, but keep on ticking’ as it is quite easy to find new recruits in an area hit by poverty, and little hope for a future. The reality is that even though Hamas is calling for the destruction of Israel, it is poorly positioned to do much more than inflict minor damages on Israel when compared to the damages that Israel has inflicted on Hamas and Gaza.
Israel, in claiming victory over Hamas, is also claiming that it has sent a clear and strong message to Iran, which is also calling for the decimation of Israel. Once again, Israel invokes rhetoric that it has the right to defend itself against its enemies and those who wish to destroy the country. Whether Iran poses a clear and serious threat to Israel is specifically unknown. What is known is that Iran is creating a nuclear program, presumably for peaceful purposes and that it is a significant importer of Russian arms. It is also actively engaged in developing its own weapons.
Israel has a decades long history of making preemptive strikes against any country it views as a threat. Even though Israel claims it is abandoning its preemptive strike policy in favor of developing a missile defense shield, it has yet to discard that tactic. Since 2005, Israel has been actively promoting, and attempting to engage the United States into making a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear reactors. Conversely, Iran advocates making a preemptive strike against Israel. There can be little doubt, given Israel’s history, that they are serious. Whether Iran is serious in its threats is an unknown. No one knows what Iran’s capabilities are.
A Preemptive Strike On Iran
A preemptive strike on Iran is possible by either Israel or the United States acting individually or in concert with each other. The possibilities are greater that it will be initiated by Israel given that America is still stinging from the faulty and unreliable information that Israel provided concerning WMDs in Iraq. Whether Israel’s intelligence was deliberately falsified so that the ends would justify the means is unknown. The only known factor is that Israel wanted Saddam gone, which would give it the motivation to falsify intelligence or even manufacture it.
America has expressed a great desire, along with the rest of the world, with the exception of China and Russia, to ensure that Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon. Russia in particular would be well served by such possession. China would not see any benefits or lack of benefits, but continually refuses to become involved in it trading partner’s affairs.
Had the Republicans remained in power, it is extremely likely that an attack on Iran by America, either directly or by supporting Israel, would have been extremely likely. Whether such an attack is likely by the new Obama administration is an unknown. What is also unknown is what, if any, control the new administration will be able to exert over Israel. Given the possible new heads of state in Israel in February, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to exert any control over Israel.
Israel chose to attack Hamas at the end of the Bush administration because it knew Bush would be supportive and also to test the waters with the soon to be Obama administration. Hence, they inflicted as much damage as possible but made sure that they withdrew from Gaza just hours before Obama was sworn into office. Obama, by not taking a position on the attacks prior to becoming president, presented an unknown for Israel. Rest assured the waters will be tested. America’s response to any UN reports will be one test that Israel will pay attention to.
Regardless of America’s responses, the odds are in Israel’s favor that America will come to its defense. It has long been America’s policy to come to the defense of Israel regardless of blame that could and can be attributed to Israel. Hence, it is not a question of if Israel attacks Iran, but when.
The Road To Armageddon
The road to Armageddon is not paved with good intentions. Despite Israel’s attempts to convince the world that whatever it does is in self defense, in the absence of any concrete knowledge, those claims are suspect. Israel’s foreign policy verges on paranoia: Any one who does not agree with it is anti-Semitic, and thus committed to seeing the destruction of Israel. Therefore, it has plenty of real as well as imagined enemies throughout the world.
Given Obama’s plans to withdraw American troops, a move that is being welcomed by Iraq, Israel knows that it will need to move quickly to ensure that America can readily come to its defense. Once the American troops and equipment have largely departed Iraq, Israel will become vulnerable. With American troops in Iraq, Iran will have a viable and reachable target in theory, thus protecting Israel from imminent destruction. Hence, Israel will, without a doubt, drop bombs on Iran before that happens regardless of America’s verbal commitment to back them up. They will, if necessary, rely on history. Hence, it is not a question of if Israel invades Iran, it is only a question of when.When Israel attacks Iran, all hell will begin to break loose in the region. Would-be terrorists will have numerous ideological reasons to target Israel and its primary supporter, America. Given Israel’s vindictive nature, and propensity to inflict the most damage possible, it will likely bomb Iran’s oil fields. Whether or not that happens, there is little doubt that Iran’s oil exports would suffer for a period of time.
Both China and India are highly reliant on Iranian oil and gas. Prior to the economic downturn, Iran was exporting over 350,000 barrels a day to China. If the oil flow is disrupted, it will over time, impact China’s already struggling economy. This could negatively impact China’s continued investments in America, which is highly reliant on that money.
It is a foregone conclusion if Iran decides to respond to an attack by Israel that the United States will get involved. This too could place China in an untenable position with Iran given their close ties. China recently signed a $1.7 billion contract with Iran to assist in developing its oil fields, much to the chagrin of the United States. China, by its nature, would do everything possible to avoid being in the middle between American and Iran, but it would be impacted none the less.
America cannot afford a war in Iran. China cannot afford to cut off its funding to America. However, if push came to shove, China would abandon America in favor of its own people. The impact on America would be significant, and potentially devastating.
Iran is not an isolated country, despite all efforts by America to isolate it. It has oil and gas contracts with China, Japan, India and Pakistan. It also has a contract to develop off-shore oil fields with Venezuela. Russia also has close ties with Iran as well as Venezuela. Other than Japan, none of these countries have what could be described as a “smooth relationship” with the United States.
Many scenarios can be extrapolated. Short of Iran just licking its wounds, which isn’t likely, each scenario can play out into one disaster or another. The financial ramifications during a global recession would probably be the worst, but those could lead to uprisings and more terrorist activities.
A Partial Solution
It is extremely doubtful that Israel would think of the ramifications of its actions. It places itself first in everything that it does, without any regard for the impact their actions have on any one else. Given fragile world economies today, the impact of anything that it does will be felt around the world.
Israel cannot be relied on to act responsibly. If any country has any chance of bringing about responsible actions by Israel it is the United States, but it will not be easy.
Israel needs to take the first steps to bringing about peace in the region. It needs to open the borders to the Gaza Strip and allow humanitarian aid through unobstructed. It also needs to retreat to the pre-1967 boarders without exception. At the same time, it needs to open up its nuclear program to inspections by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and give a full and complete disclosure.
Doing those things will be the first step towards opening up dialogue with others in the region. Peace in that region cannot be achieved if one country is holding all the “cards” and demanding that other countries have no or inferior cards.
There is little doubt that Israel will resist all of these suggestions or requirements and not acquiesce to anything. This is problematic for not only the United States but also the rest of the world. The fact of the matter is that Israel wants peace only on its terms, and to the detriment of those it is warring with.
Until Israel is contained within its borders, it will continue to pose a threat to not only the region, but the world. So far, the rhetoric from the Obama administration has been that it will continue to cater to the whims of Israel. Peace will never be obtained in that manner. Israel will thus be subjected to continued threats of annihilation, which will only serve to further exacerbate an already volatile situation.--MORE--"