Middle East

Israel-Iran Update

I refer to my blog of May 29, Election Game Changers, in which I wrote about the possibility of an Israeli (or US sanctioned) strike on Iran. Since then  both Romney and Obama have given a de facto public blessing for such an undertaking.  Yesterday 3 August, an article in the Israeli Times raised again the likelihood of a strike “no more than a couple of months away”, according to the Israeli ex-Intel chief, Aharon Farkash. When asked if such a strike would lead to war, he said, “Absolutely.”.

He opined that the strike could be from the US or Israel, and added he did not support such an attack. However, the Mossad chief, Halevy, added a public warning to Iran and spoke of “the next 12 weeks”.

Netanyahu chimed in, saying Israel would do whatever it sees fit regardless of the concerns of its “friends”, i.e. the US.

I wrote of such a strike being a a possible “election game changer” but with the recent statements of Romney and Obama, each anxious to prove their allegiance to Israel and the campaign contributions therefrom, it seems unlikely either of them would benefit or suffer from such an action. The US public, in its ignorance, as usual, would rally behind any military action supporting Israel without giving thought to the potentially catastrophic repercussions in the region and to the US economy. But, if it all goes wrong, who takes the blame?

As an added note, I see that Iran has modified and improved the capability of their short range missiles which have a range of 300km, about 180 miles, just far enough to hit the Saudi oil fields and nearby US military bases. Any strike against Iran would have to be comprehensive enough to neutralise the Iranian missile sites, and airbases, as well as the suspected nuclear facilities.

I wonder too about territorial overflights. Strikes from Israel would have to overfly one or more Arab countries to reach Iran, and authorisation by them for the overflights could provoke domestic political firestorms. Would Saudi Arabia, as much as they dislike Iran, collaborate?  Even more questionable would be Iraq with its close ties to Iran.

To repeat my favourite admonition from Shakespeare,

“Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble”

Maybe not a US election changer but it could certainly have  global consequences…..



Categories:Middle East

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