Get ready for war in the Middle East — after the election.
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The offer of a successful alternative to Iran would have to pose an option more attractive to them than their pursuit of nuclear weapons. In determining if such an alternative exists we need to remember that the Iranian regime has evolved into a joint theocratic-military autocracy. Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps — which is Iran’s terrorist arm as well as in control of its missile forces and nuclear program — hold many political positions within the regime. The IRGC and the ayatollahs believe that nuclear weapons are not only a deterrent, but also a way of asserting their hegemony over all the Middle East and achieving their desire for restoration of a caliphate over all nations. No policy that denies them nuclear weapons can be as attractive as their current path, far less more so.
Some will object to this conclusion, saying that Ayatollah Khamenei has said that nuclear weapons are prohibited by Islam. But this is, quite evidently, another falsehood crafted for western consumption, just like Iran’s frequent declarations of innocence of terrorism, which is also supposedly banned by Islam. In Reliance of the Traveller, the most authoritative book on Islamic law available in English, there is a prohibition of using weapons that cause general destruction in a conflict with fellow Muslims. There is no such prohibition in wars against infidels. (Reliance is a book of Sunni Islamic law, but there is no reason to suspect that Shiite “law” would be any different.)
Israel will decide for itself when it must strike to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear weapon ambitions. Israelis — and Iranians — know that Israel cannot survive a single nuclear weapon delivered to Tel Aviv or another major Israeli city. When Israel strikes, it will have to do a great deal more than strike at Iran’s reactors and uranium enrichment facilities. It will — as I outlined two years ago — have to strike first at Iran’s missile bases, the IRGC command and control structure, and at the regime itself.
When it does, Iran will respond with everything it has, ranging from its intact missiles to launching terrorist attacks around the world at Israeli — and probably U.S. — targets. As some Israelis have said, the war may go on for a month or more. Hizballah Leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened an attack on Israel with thousands of rockets. Earlier this month, he said, “We can transform the lives of millions of Zionists in occupied Palestine to a real hell.”
If Israel suffers major casualties or other significant setbacks in the war, there’s every chance that its Arab neighbors would join in the fight not to help Iran but in war against a common enemy. Whether Israel survives will then depend on whether we fight quickly and effectively enough to defend it and end the Iranian threat. On that point Israel — and the rest of us— will remain in doubt as long as Obama is in office.
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