Friday, July 14, 2006

Iran is playing a game but probably not the one we think

I have had a very enlightening and stimulating debate with Shoshana today on her blog.

In it she asks the question of why Hamas and Hezbollah are taking the actions they are taking, and she is stating that Iran is involved somehow.

I did not address her question in my comments on her blog so I will address them here.

In all likelyhood, Iran is involved in the current crisis in the Middle East, because it is no secret that they are big financial backers of both Hamas and Hezbollah.

So why would they begin rocking the boat now?

I believe the possible answer is four fold.

First, the reactionary forces that now control Iran are playing the oldest game in the book. Not the usual stuff we see between Israel and the Palestinians but the good old fashion power game.

The current reactionary President of Iran did not win by much. The forces of moderation within that country are moving to replace him at the next opportunity and there is not much that he can do about it domestically. So he could be turning to one of the tried and true methods of holding on to power; create a conflict with an outside force, especially one that is widely despised by your population.

How to do that? Have your vassals attack Israel. Their reaction is usually quite predictable, as it is today, and keep goading them until they overreact. Hell, if you are lucky they may even attack Iran directly. That would be mana from Heaven. If warplanes sporting the Star of David are seen over Tehran dropping bombs on it the forces of moderation will have no chance of ousting the reactionary forces from power for at least a decade.

Second, the Iranians want nuclear weapons and the US and Israel wants to stop them. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that it is only a matter of time before one or both of these states use military force to do so, especially since Iran is not interested in talking about stopping their program.

So if they know that it is going to happen at some point, they would want to make it happen when it is most convenient to them. That way they can be somewhat prepared for it and mitigate any damage that is caused to their nuclear weapons program. In addition, any attack would probably be a one shot deal, as a result of reason three below, so they would then be free to continue their nuclear weapons program relatively unmolested. Combine that with the reactionary forces likely staying in control for the next decade or so and Iran is well on its way to realizing its goal of joining the nuclear club.

Three, the nuclear facilities are probably well manned and any attack that is designed to destroy them will result in a large number of civilian casualties. Pictures of those broken bodies will create a backlash against the US and Israel, including from Russia and China.

Fourth, the higher oil prices leading up to , through and after a strike would bring in enough extra revenue that they will be able to pay off their vassals for their sacrifice, have money to replace the nuclear technology they will inevitably lose and not upset their fiscal situation.

Two secondary benefits:

Any wedge that they drive between the US and the states of Russia and China would be to their advantage when if comes to replacing their lost nuclear technology. As well, any wedge could convince one or both to give the Iranian nuclear program the political cover it needs for its completion.

Any attack on Iran by Israel could destroy any progress the US has made with the Shiites in Iraq because it would be political suicide for any Iraqi Shia to even be perceived as being friendly to a state that supported an attack on a country that has a largely Shiite population.


Blogger s.b. said...

I essentially agree with you.

However when you are aware of what Israel is up against and how they deal with the kidnapping of their people, why do you blame them for their response?

They can't just let their soldiers be kidnapped taken to some undisclosed Iranian location and then tortured and/or beheaded on Al Jazera for being Israeli now can they?

Bombing the airport runways, roads and bridges was smart. There have been very few civillian casualties and all have been mistakes and misses.

Israel is trying to kill as few people as possible, while ensuring their soldiers don't end up in Iran so they don't have to play into Iran's hands.

They had to do this. It was the right thing to do and hopefully they recover their soldiers before they leave Lebannon. The Lebannese governement might even be convinced to help try to find the soldiers by the international community. This is where international pressure should really be focused.

July 14, 2006 10:59 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Shoshana: I don't blame them for their response. It is logical under these narrow circumstances.

What I wholly disagree with is the Israeli strategy towards its neighbours.

After 9/11, many commentators stated that the US had to take into account their foreign policy, particularly how it treated Muslim states, in understanding why the US was targeted.

Of course, they did not. Instead George Bush came out with that famous bull-shit line "They hate us for our freedoms".

In that moment the US administration accepted the fact that more Americans would probably be killed in future terrorist attacks on US soil. And they did it for simple geo-political reasons.

Where do you think George Bush got the inspiration for such a strategy?

You guessed it, Israel. They have been pursuing that very same strategy for decades. A strategy I might add that has been a colossal failure for Israel.

The kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and the bombing of Israeli civilians have long been considered "acceptable losses" by successive Israeli governments in pursuing their strategy against their neighbours.

I think that is stupid, shortsighted, against the broader interests of the Israeli people, ultimately self-defeating and just plain insane.

So forgive me if I have a freaking problem with it!

Israel is not secure. It has some semblance of security because it is the only nuclear power in the region and it is heavily supported, finacially and militarily, by the only Super Power on the planet. As long that remains the status quo they are fine.

Any of those things start to change and Israel and its people are in trouble.

Which brings me back to the topic of my post. Iran becoming a nuclear power would change the status quo and it would be highly ironic if Iran used the Israeli strategy towards its neighbours to facilitate becoming a nuclear power.

July 15, 2006 11:01 AM  

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