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Spengler

Syria Attack Shows There’s No Alternative to Neutralizing Iran

May 5th, 2013 - 8:03 am

Iran’s intervention in Syria has turned the Syrian civil war into a proxy conflict between the region’s Shia and Sunni. Iran’s intent is to transform Syria from an ally into a protectorate. Syria’s Sunni majority resented but tolerated an Alawite police state, but will fight to the death against prospective occupation by a foreign Shi’ite power. Saudi Arabia and Turkey will continue to pour resources and fighters into Syria to prevent an Iranian takeover. The Sunnis fear a regional Iranian reign of terror under a nuclear umbrella and will fight to the death to prevent it. The Shia-Sunni conflict in Syria may spill over into Iraq, where remnants of Saddam Hussein’s military leadership have armed and recruited a Sunni fighting force, and Lebanon, where a jihadist “Sunni Awakening” challenges Hezbollah.

Sunni-Shia conflict is not necessarily averse to American interests; as Daniel Pipes, the dean of conservative Middle East analysts, wrote April 11, “Evil forces pose less danger to us when they make war on each other. This (1) keeps them focused locally and it (2) prevents either one from emerging victorious (and thereby posing a yet-greater danger). Western powers should guide enemies to stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong their conflict.” (I made a similar argument last year.)

Everything changes, though, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons. Instead of a containable war of attrition, we will have an Iranian reign of terror under a nuclear umbrella. If Washington and other Western capitals are intimidated by Iranian terror capabilities (including the Iranian threat to disrupt Western oil supplies) without nuclear weapons, what can we expect from the feckless diplomats of the West if Iran has the option of nuclear terrorism?

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All Comments   (35)
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Exactly. That's why I favour America providing any materials Israel can't get elsewhere and let it take out the Iranian nuclear facilities. Obama doesn't have to fire a shot, just let Israel do what needs to be done.

I also like the idea of having the Israelis do the shooting this time. The humiliation for the Muslims of having their plans foiled would be wonderful. I don't know if it would teach them to finally smarten up and be civilized but at least it would feel right from a kharmic point of view.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nukliarize Iran into green glass.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The question is simple, the implications are enormous. The argument about reducing or terminating Iran's war making capacity is convincing (not only for me but also for Iranian exiles here along the Rhine). BUT... and here is the question:

Do you really think that the Obama administration will follow your advice? Such a decision is not evident. The analyis is excellent, but is it more than an exercise in words? Obama, if he acts, will most likely not find much international support -- and I mean not just mean lack of Russian agreement.

I bet I hear soon on German tv the thesis that the Israeli bombing of the military stockpiles is unwise policy, could lead to war, another example, following Günter Grass, of Israeli aggressivity. Heck, timing permitting, I'll dabble in various European press accouints. The current German tv consists of equating the Palestinian prisoners of Israel with the poor souls in Gitmo, i.e., Israel receives a Grassian painting. So, what makes you think that Obama & Co will buck a pacifiistic ambient in the Western, viz., European world?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have often written, that the US, or anyone else should not try to manage events, but rather watch them unfold.

In this case, I agree with Pipes: let them emulate the Kilkenny cats.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A solid Strategic decision by the Israelis. I would have expected no less.

Assad can't respond, he's a bit busy at the moment. And other than perfunctory condemnations, no one is going to indict Israel for this.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A silly quibble. The attacks were Tactical, not Strategic. Strategically Israel protects itself, tactically it takes out one threat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
While I expect the Israelis to use the Syrian chaos as an opportunity to degrade Syrian/Iranian/hizballah capabilities, I can help but wonder if the airs strikes were a favor to Obama either to cover his ass regarding his inaction over the crossing ofnhis 'red lines' or was giving the Israelis a green light his actual response yo the crossing of those lines?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I do not take Mr. Goldman to task for making the case for neutralizing Iran's nuke program. Another PJ Media commentator, Barry Rubin, has made the case for not doing so in the past, but not recently as far as I have noticed. I don't know the answer, but I agree with Mr. Goldman that the proxy war Iran is waging is coming out in the open more. Israel has felt the need to strike targets in Syria - evidently both those moving critical war material into Lebanon and fixed installations in Syria. It has become clear that Iran is committed to the point where Israel has felt it has to react. I simply don't know what it would take to neutralize Iran's nuclear program. People here and elsewhere say it is or isn't possible for various reasons. I think the Mossad may well be better informed. Heck even the CIA might know better than random commenters on the internet, but I don't want to seem naive. We don't even know what Obama may do, though I agree with those who will be truly surprised if he sends in the big stealth bombers and bunker busters. That said, for a post colonial college professor (and I have know plenty) he has more stomach for intervention than most. His preference for largely risk free interventions is what I think will keep him from doing it. So surprise me, Barry. I don't mind being wrong on this one.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I read the other day that a new bunker buster has been developed which is even more powerful than the previous biggest, called the MOAB (Mother of All Bombs). I don't recall the designation for the new bomb so I'll just call it SuperMOAB for convenience. In any case, SuperMOAB has apparently been tested and shown to be effective against even the deepest fortifications.

As I understand it, the biggest technical obstacle Israel faced in going after the Iranian nuclear facilities was the absence of a bomb that could deal with really deep underground fortifications. That problem has now been solved.

Unfortunately, the new bomb seems to require a very large bomber to deliver it, apparently a B52 or a B2. I'm not sure if Israel has any of those.

I'd love to see America sell Israel some of the new SuperMOABs as well as the bombers to carry them if the Israelis don't have something suitable.

Of course an Obama that is reluctant to bomb Muslims himself is probably going to be just as reluctant to allow Israel to bomb them. But selling Israel the wherewithal to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities would be a very good way to end the Iranian nuclear threat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The US is never going to attack Iran unless seriously provoked. Our leadership has proven that it's red lines mean nothing.

Nobody in the region takes the US seriously anymore. If Iran were to attack a US base or Navy that would provoke a careful limited response and they will not do that. They will not even directly respond to Israel at this point.

Israel is acting in its own interest just as its advesaries are. Israel will stand on its own just as it always has. Look at the success of these precise and effective strikes though the teeth of its most formidable enemies.

Obama is free to talk about preschool programs and wind turbines or something. The relationship with Israel is well understood by both sides with high level of cooperation on technical and military matters.

No need for American boots on the ground. Israel will defend itself as it always has.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And add to all this intrigue, Øbama is the CINC. What could possibly go wrong?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Taking out the Chemical weapons and delivery systems were inevitable, Israel has little choice in the matter due to the amount of chemical weapons / rockets and ease in which they can be used. Mr. Goldman article and reasoning is logical.

Some posters reasoning that GWB's invasion of Iraq is somehow justified as result is not.

Whatever happens in the mid east the next 100 years, the invasion of Iraq will be remembered as epic failure of policy and irrational response to 9/11. The USA could have created global united front against sponsors of Terror including Saudi Arabia. Instead we invade Iraq...utterly and incomprehensible failure of strategy and foreign policy.
Iraq and Iran were blood enemies, GWB removed an opposing force to Iran and served Iraq back to them on a silver platter.
The truth is GWB partly decided to invade Iraq as result of brilliant Iranian intelligence coup, such as Mr. Chalabi the Iranian spy that US Pentagon relied on far too much. The other influence were PNAC war bunnies, who President H. Bush squashed and refused their nonsense in his white house. President W. Bush did not posses the understanding of geopolitics or foreign policy intelligence his father did. He listened to a group of war bunnies.
Epic Failure on Historical scale.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That may be how history remembers it, but history is usually wrong. The Iraq war was a brilliant move to shift the focus of the conflict away from the US. It was also a necessary first step in the neutralization of Iran. Bush's only failure was in not following up the initial Iraq success with an attack on the true target in the GWOT: Iran. But that is less a failure of Bush than a success on the part of the North Korea and their puppets in the American Left.

To say that we could have lead a global effort against Saudi Arabia is idiocy of the first water. Take a look at the Arabian Gulf some time. There is no way the US, or any other, Navy could operate there with both coasts being hostile. Leaving the body of water through which 1/4 of the world's oil production travels unguarded is unacceptable. We can do nothing against Saudi Arabia until Iran is dealt with.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think this is exactly right. A lot of the best young Americans were killed and maimed in order to put the U.S. into a position in Iraq (arguably the geographic, economic and cultural center of the Middle East) from which we could exercise decisive influence on Iran and the Middle East … and the U.S. tossed this advantage away like an empty beer can.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I supported the Iraq War. I disagreed with the post-war nation building policy. Daniel Pipes proposed (and I agreed) that we should have installed a strongman we liked, and left.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem with the proposal to install a strongman circa 2003 to 2006 was that any plausible candidate would been drawn from Saddam’s Baath clique and the larger set of their Sunni tribal allies.

Those guys had a nomenklatura which controlled the important institutions of Iraqi society and they were not in a cooperative mood with respect to the U.S. until late 2007 or 2008, after being beaten into submission and offered a decisive choice of “silver or lead” by GEN Petraeus (he got that part right).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Please cease the Iraq was a disaster meme. ALL the inteligence (from prior administrations and from our allies) at the time agreed that Hussein had WMDs and was a distabilizing element in the region.

Hussein was paying palistinian families 25,000 each and every time a family member became a suicide bomber in Israel. When we attached those attacks stopped - dead cold.

We won that war in just a matter of weeks - what we lost was the "peace" just as we are losing the "peace" in Afghanistan. Our faoreign policy is insane with this "nation building" nonsense. We should have left both countries with a bloody nose and left. Then stated that if they EVER came at us again the consequences would be losing either Mecca or Medina - both in Saudi Arabia. That would have told the whole region we meant business.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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