The Israeli Conundrum: How to Deal with Iran
Israeli officials face a conundrum that may take more than military muscle-flexing to resolve: how to deal with
It must be frustrating for Israeli policymakers and their friends and backers elsewhere to stand idle as Iran openly carries on with its nuclear-enrichment program, facing nothing but United States and European chest-thumping and a mere threat of more sanctions, which will unlikely bend Iranian resolve.
It's doubly frustrating considering the relative ease that led the
Regardless of why the US targeted Iraq, and why its objectives were not met, Israel's own calculations were a surprising success, as the Iraqi menace (manufactured or real) has been eliminated, and the ghost of chaos will likely haunt that unfortunate country for years to come.
This is precisely the source of frustration among Israeli officials, who have counted on
Israeli frustration must have also turned into sheer rage when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once more brought up the subject of a "defense umbrella" over the Middle East to shield it from a future nuclear Iran.
"If the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to develop the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it is unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon," she was quoted as saying in a Thai television interview.
Clinton's reinvention of the defense umbrella idea - introduced in a March 4 report by a pro-Israeli think-tank, Washington Institute on Near East Policy (WINEP) - stands at odds with her enthusiastic promise to "totally obliterate" Iran should it attack Israel, while trying to lure in supporters during her last year's run for presidential nomination. It seems that the
The right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now maneuvering to entice a tougher
That political scheme was supplemented by a show of force, as two Israeli missile-class warships and a submarine capable of launching a nuclear missile strike were reportedly permitted to sail through the Egyptian Suez Canal for the first time. The unprecedented deployment into the Red Sea was meant as a signal that
Militarily, things are not very promising, as the highly touted Israeli military exercise - conducted recently in the United States - registered little success.
The US and its European allies seem out of ideas regarding how to deal with Iran, leaving Israel with a major conundrum: either living in the potential shadow of a nuclear Iran, as a long-term regional power, or striking the Islamic Republic with the hope that its erroneously perceived "shaky" regime will quickly crumble, leaving the US to pick up the pieces, and the whole region to deal with the chaos that will surely follow.
Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).