Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Israeli Attack On Iran: What Will Be The Consequences?

Rumors of an Israeli attack on Iran have recently been revived as a CIA veteran, Robert Baer, predicted that Israel would attack Iran in the fall. [1] He argued that there was almost “near certainty” that the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to attack Iran in the fall, possibly near September. While this is still a rumor for the most part, it still has some credibility due to Baer’s background, not to mention the fact that the West and Israel have been planning (or had plans) to attack Iran for quite some time, and thus the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran need to be examined.

Firstly, for the United States, an Israeli attack on Iran would mean involving itself in yet another war when it is in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya as well as having a massive political battle over its debt crisis. It would stretch the US military when it is already involved in three wars. The attack would also “cause oil prices to spike and heighten concerns that energy supplies through the Persian Gulf may become disrupted” and Iran may very well “attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz by mining, cruise missile strikes, or small boat attacks” [2] which would without a doubt raise oil prices.

America has a strategic interest in fostering better relations with the Muslim world as it would lead to less anti-Americanism and more cooperation on counter-terrorism, yet if Israel attacked Iran, it would be assumed that they did so with Washington’s approval and thus damage US-Arab relations in terms of both Arab regimes and the general Arab populace. Also, an Israeli attack on Iran would strengthen the current Iranian regime and thus the US would lose all hope of trying to either directly or via proxy, change the Iranian government to something they find more suitable.

An Israeli attack on Iran might possibly even backfire and lead Iran to actually try and attain nuclear weapons as a way to deter Israel from making future attacks. This would involve Iran withdrawing from not only the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but also from Western-sponsored talks concerning its nuclear program.

The attack may also cause major problems for the greater Middle East region as an attack “against Iranian nuclear reactors would produce a nightmare far more extensive than Chernobyl. The immediate and long-term human toll from the nuclear fallout and radiation from so many reactors and plants is inconceivable.” [3] (See here and here as well.) If the attack on Iran would create a wave of opposition and anger at Israel, the nuclear fallout may very well lead to a region wide war as Arab nations retaliate against Israel, in addition to possibly causing Arab regimes to start on their on nuclear weapons programs.

With the future of the global economy, its staunchest allies military, and Israel’s own existence potentially at stake, the Israeli government may want to consider an attack on Iran quite carefully.



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