The Obama administration seems intent on going down in history as the American administration under which Iran attained nuclear military capability.
Looking at the existing constellation of realities – the fact that the regime is led by a spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei, who was appointed by and receives his instructions directly from Allah; the fact that its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is of arguable sanity, systematically abuses the rights of minority groups, denies that the Holocaust took place, and calls for the destruction of Israel; and the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran, from its very establishment in 1979, took up Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s decree to “export the Islamic revolution” as the heart of its worldview – all these facts spell danger for the Middle East and Central Asia.
Once this malevolent regime harnesses its resources in a race to become a nuclear power, the safety of the entire world will be at risk.
When the sun rises the day following Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear bomb, the world will awaken to a highly combustive reality: The US, the dominant nuclear superpower, will instantly lose its international hegemony, as we will witness the emergence of a radical Islamic nuclear superpower. Many Middle Eastern and Asian states will race toward nuclear proliferation.
But the most immediately threatened and first to capitulate will be the oil emirates of the Gulf and Arab states, like Iraq and perhaps even Saudi Arabia, whose oil reserves will be swiftly conquered by Iranian forces.
Who would dare block the “messenger of Allah,” armed with a nuclear
bomb, from attaining regional hegemony from Lebanon to Oman? To be sure,
we will see an outpouring of protests and condemnations, but the world
will likely sit back as Iran marches toward realizing its strategy of
enslaving the oil-dependent West.
Iran will match its military conquests with intensified support of
subversive activity in other states. A nucleararmed Iran will reach out
to local Islamic fundamentalist movements in Arab and Muslim countries
and assist their takeover through either democratic elections or
violence, and then will sign pacts with its new allies.
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Iran will not hesitate to use vassal terror organizations – Hizbullah in
Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian arena, Shi’ite elements in Iraq and
elsewhere – to promote its interests. Under the Iranian nuclear
umbrella, these organizations will be immune to reprisal.
THIS IS not a worst-case scenario, but a completely reasonable estimate
of what will happen from the moment Iran achieves nuclear capability.
Efforts to persuade it to forgo its nuclear aspirations through
negotiation or sanctions are doomed to fail. This is a regime which sent
its own children to their deaths during the Iran-Iraq war. At that
time, thousands of children were ordered to obey a “divine command” and
march directly into Iraqi minefields, paving the way for Iranian troops
with their young corpses. Such a regime would not even blink when it
comes to jeopardizing its economy or sacrificing its international
interests for the sake of its ultimate goals.
The only way to prevent this scenario is through a sweeping military
operation. Only one country has the power to take on an operation of
this scale; it is the country with the most at stake and the greatest
interest in preventing this new world disorder. That country is the
US motives for preventing a nuclear Iran are numerous, starting with the
direct threat already posed by an Islamic fundamentalist state openly
developing long-range missiles capable of reaching any target in the
Western world. Add the fact that Hizbullah has already infiltrated
American soil, cultivating sleeper terror cells.
Yet by far the greatest motive is that a nuclear Iran will signal the
instant loss of support from its traditional Middle Eastern allies,
beginning with Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states. Iran’s intensive
courtship of these countries has long been in full force, lobbying them
to cut their American ties and transfer allegiance to the rising
regional nuclear power. This trend will only intensify once Iran has the
Bomb. Having felt that they have bet on the wrong horse by opting for a
special relationship with the US, we will see one country after the
other cash in its American chips to buy Iranian favor.
A parallel and no-less-dangerous process will be the wave of nuclear
proliferation across the Middle East and central Asia. Iran’s
traditional adversaries, fearful of an Iranian invasion, will do
everything possible to acquire their own nuclear weapons. This process
obviously flies in the face of the Obama administration’s openly
declared objective to prevent nuclear proliferation.
Worse yet is the clear and present danger of Iranian Islamic radical
terrorist affiliates, armed with a divine command, unleashing nuclear
weapons far beyond Iran’s borders.
Should President Barack Obama refrain from taking proactive steps and
attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, every country in the world will be
thrown into a new, much more complicated and dangerous Cold War-like
situation, triggered by the multi-polar nuclear environment.
Next to the tough dilemmas this new state of affairs will pose, the Cuban missile crisis will seem like child’s play.
ONLY THE fear of instant annihilation might dissuade a nuclear Iran from pursuing its expansionist goals.
Western states pitted in conflict against a fundamentalist adversary
that follows a divine authority will have a hard time predicting Iran’s
next moves or creating deterrents. There is but one option in the face
of the Iranian nuclear threat: a new American-led nuclear alliance.
The “second-strike nuclear alliance” would include Western states,
pro-Western states and others who fear being targeted by an Iranian
nuclear attack. Unlike NATO, the SSNA would not oblige members to supply
mutual assistance in the event of a conventional war, but would provide
vital strategic backup: the guaranteed destruction of any aggressive
nuclear attacker of any of its members – the “second strike” capability.
Making an SSNA nuclear umbrella available to members could even prevent
a nuclear proliferation trend; it could neutralize Iran’s military
advantage over its weaker neighbors, strengthen the West and like-minded
countries, and might even deter Iran from threatening to put its
nuclear capability to use.
The more determination we see on the part of the Obama administration to
avoid military confrontation, the more it must establish doctrines for a
new, multipolar Cold War, of which the SSNA would be a pillar.
These principles must become clearly articulated, and set into motion
from the moment we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iran has
attained nuclear weapons.The writer is deputy dean of the
Lauder School of Government Diplomacy and Strategy and director of the
International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at IDC Herzliya.
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