Monday, February 20, 2012

Understanding Israeli strategic calculations re-Iran's nuclear program

The New York Times is carrying a piece today that outlines the complexities that will be inherent in any prospective Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Clearly, it is absolutely true that any attack would be exceptionally difficult. However...... The problem with a lot of the analysis surrounding this Israel-Iran issue is that it often fails to  consider the encompassing, strategic conception that exists on the part of Israel. For Israel, consideration of a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities is not just rooted in analysis of the potential risks of that act and its aftermath (IE - failing to substantially weaken the Iranian program and potential Iranian retaliation). Instead, alongside these factors, Israeli considerations are consumed with the perceived threat that a nuclear Iran will pose if it arises. Israel regards a nuclear Iran as a precursor to a second Holocaust. An existential threat that will be unconstrained, undeterred and unleashed in its encouragement for proxies like HAMAS, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. It is in this sense that for Israel, whatever the perceived risks of acting against Iran, the risks of not acting are perceived to be higher. It is for this reason that even if the liklehood of an Israeli strike succeeding is low, Israel will still act.

+ The Saudi Sunni Monarchy is especially concerned by the prospect of a nuclear Iran. The Saudis may grant 'closed eyes' overflight rights to Israel.

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