History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Back to the Wall

    A post by zorkmidden over at Discarded Lies ( which was a copyover of my Nuclear Wall post here) generated some comments and questions about my assertions. I made a quick response, which I will re-post in full here:

    I suppose I will need to respond to the points raised in length. But I do have two points I want to make right away.

    1) Iran has to know than any nuclear attack, in any form, on Israel, will result in near total annihilation. The Arab states must also know that. I have pointed out before, and no one refuted, my simple assertion that open war can't destroy Israel anymore, not without ensuring your own destruction. The Islamic world has taken a different strategy to destroying Israel, namely internally. That is the whole point of the Intifada: To destroy Israel from the inside. Any ruler or group of rulers who were considered crazy enough to actually lob nukes at Israel would be removed domestically by anyone with any sense.

    2) If Iran acquires Nuclear Weapons, it can become an open terrorist state. Once it has nukes, the steps you can take against it are minimal. It is already heavily restricted when it comes to trade, it can't be hurt much more. The Mullahs will be able to become much more aggressive once they have nukes. I think that their first step will be an attempted takeover of Lebnanon. This will be followed by attempts aimed at getting the Saudi Shi'ites to revolt. Iran doesn't just want to destroy Israel, it has larger strategic goals as well.

    A quick repeat and extension of my remarks above:

    1) Pretty much everyone is either abetting, or at least turning a blind eye, to the Iranian push for nuclear weapons. Only the US, Israel and perhaps some of Iran's northern neighbors are opposed to it. This to me seems a pretty big indication that no one thinks that Iran will use its nukes offensively against either Israel or the US. Remember, any nuclear conflict in the ME would hurt Europe more than us, as they are more dependent on ME oil than we are.

    2) Israel will almost certainly use nuclear weapons against its neighbors in the event it is attacked with nukes. Depending on the severity of the attack, this might be limited to targeting a capital and military bases, or total annihilation of the major cities of one or more neighbors. I suspect that Israel, if it decides to launch, will not hold back. After all, it gains nothing by holding back, once it has launched the fallout (politically) will be enormous. You might as well get as much bang for your buck.

    3) Iran has long term strategic goals that go beyond just destroying Israel. In order to understand Iran's behavior, you must understand what it wants to do. More than destroying Israel, Iran wants to alter the dynamic of power within the Islamic world. The Shia minority encompasses less than 20% of Muslims, and is only in power in Iran, though it likely will have considerable influence in Iraq as well. However, the Mullahs want to change this. They will use their Nuclear Wall to help Shi'ite factions across the Muslim world in opposition to secular or Sunni leadership. I suspect that Lebanon will be the first major contention point. After that Pakistan perhaps, and maybe even the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia. Going out in a blaze of glory isn't what they want, though they do want to give the appearance of being willing to do so.

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