By Alexander Maistrovoy, journalist, Israel. (I have corresponded with Maistrovoy for a number of years and met with him when I came to Israel, He made aliya from the USSR and speaks Russian Hebrew and English fluently.)
The question is not whether Iran will get a nuclear weapon; it is about where and against whom it will use it
Is the civilized community ready to reconcile with the Iranian nuclear bomb? There is only one answer to the question: it is, because it has no other options.
Years of peace initiatives, conferences, “good will gestures” and fruitless diplomatic shifts have taken their toll: Iran has passed (or is about passing) the line after which the creation of the nuclear weapon becomes an irreversible reality. And no sanctions – neither strong, nor soft – will change the situation.
The problem has resolved itself; and all that Obama, Sarkozy and other enlightened leaders can do is to accept the reality as it is. Considering their full failure, it will be the most reasonable decision. As the proverb says “If you can’t bite, don’t show your teeth”.
The main question today is: what will come next? What will happen, when Teheran gets the terrible weapon?
Historical experience shows that possession of nuclear weapons in itself is not a source of destabilization. On the contrary, it can serve a means of deterrence.
It was true in the case of the Soviet Union, compelled to find an adequate answer to the post-war USA challenge; China, which feared (despite the anti-American rhetoric) of the Soviet expansion; Israel’s “Samson Option”; India and Pakistan, aspiring to neutralize each other; and the Pyongyang regime, wishing to maintain power.
However, in the case of Iran the situation is different. The country has no enemies capable of threatening it. If there is something that can provoke USA and Israel to attack Iran it is its nuclear program in combination with aggressive rhetoric and expansion of Islamic revolution.
The purpose of Iran is not to deter its enemies but to change the balance of power in the Middle East and to bring the whole world under control. It is not a casual whim of Ayatollahs. Firstly, it is the embodiment of Persian expectations about the World Power that trace back to Cyrus the Great. Secondly, it is the Shiite aspirations connected with the appearance of Mehdi and expectations of the Apocalypse.
Those were theological and civilization aspects of the problem. In real-politic Iranian aspirations are expressed in plans of hegemony in the Persian Gulf and total Shiite expansion in the region. “Iranian push” must draw a line under almost one-and-a-half-thousand-year argument between Sunni and Shiite Islam.
The present geopolitical situation has, from the point of view of Iranians, their pluses and minuses. “Pluses” consist in the unique “window of possibilities”, which Iran had not had since the Sassanids (VI-VII centuries). “Minuses” are that the “window of possibilities” is faced with time constraints.
Let’s list these “pluses”:
– Disappearance from the political scene of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the “sentry dog” for Iran , and the inevitable vacuum of power in the region after American armies leave Iraq .
– Growth of Shiite radicalism.
– Steady high oil prices. Selling oil is the basis of Iranian economy.
– Clear weakness of the West.
– Appeasement policy of the White House.
– Pro-Iranian position of the Turkish Justice and Development Party. Turkey had always been a counterbalance to the Persian influence.
– Paralysis, corruption and unpopularity of the rulers of the Arab world.
“Minuses” refer to the time factor:
– Extraordinary high oil prices can start declining and it will undermine the abilities of the regime.
– Rather low birth rate, which is already not exceeding the European one.
– Threat of internal instability.
– Inevitable race of nuclear arms in the region.
– Danger of Taliban and “al-Qaida”, the sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic, capturing power in Pakistan .
– Possibility of a strong president, like Ronald Reagan, coming to power in the USA .
“The window of possibilities” is measured not by decades, but by years, and Iran has to act not quickly, but rapidly. In this situation the nuclear bomb cannot just be the weapon of deterrence or intimidation factor. Iran must paralyze the will of the enemies and not just frighten them. It can’t afford positional warfare as the USSR or China in the years of the “cold war”, it requires a blitzkrieg.
That is why nuclear weapons must not only exist in Iran ‘s arsenal, it must be used. This requirement will become much more vital if the initial Shiite press in Iraq and Gulf States ; or the aggression of “Hezbollah” and HAMAS against Israel meet resistance and fail.
Where and against whom? Israel ? It seems reasonable, but only at first sight.
The Iranian goal is to bring nearer Mehdi’s appearance and not to commit suicide for the sake of it. Iranian rockets are not of sufficient accuracy, and the regime has not much time for the development of nuclear missiles. Israel in its turn has advanced rockets with nuclear warheads and nuclear submarines. In case of destroying “Zionist formation”, the Islamic Republic itself would stand the risk of turning into a scorched desert.
Besides, even insignificant discrepancy in calculations can become fatal, because only 60 km. separate Greater Tel Aviv from the sacred Muslim sites in Jerusalem . I don’t think the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock together with several hundred thousand Muslims is the best scenario for Ayatollahs. And at last, weak as it is, Obama’s administration won’t be able to stay neutral.
Iranian Ayatollahs never showed desire to burn down in the Apocalypse so anticipated by them. It means, the bomb should be used, but without threatening the regime.
Therefore the object of the nuke strike should satisfy the number of conditions:
– Deserted and remote from mass-media area with low population density.
– It should be the enemy, which has no capabilities required for an adequate response.
– The USA should remain out of the conflict area.
– The result must produce a “knockout” effect.
– The object of the nuke strike should be far away from the Iranian border.
These are rigid restrictions, but they leave certain options.
As I have already said, neither USA nor Zionists are sworn enemies of Shiite Iran. They are no more than a “scarecrow”, like American imperialism of the 60ies was for China . Radical Sunni Islam is the real enemy of Persian Shiites, and Iran is going to fight it to death. Hitler abused imperialists and England left and right, while preparing for the fight against severe and ruthless, like Germany itself, Stalin’s Russia . In the 80ies Saddam threatened to wipe out Israel , preparing military expansion to Iran . Rhetoric is not always consistent with true purposes of speakers.
Iran is terrified by the prospect of a nuclear bomb in the hands of adherents of a caliphate. And Teheran plans to paralyze their will.
Where? There are two perfect options: “al-Qaida” bases in Yemen and Taliban bases in Afghanistan after Americans leave them.
Both are deserted areas with small populations far from Iranian borders. Besides, this enemy is dangerous not only for Iran but for the West too. Striking a fatal blow, Iranians won’t be afraid of a response strike. Finding a pretext will not be a problem…
It will clear the way to Iranian triumph in the Middle East and test the patience of the West. However, the results can be predicted beforehand …