Friday, June 24, 2005

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran elects hurtling new leader

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran elects hardline new leader: "The ultra-conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has won
Iran's presidential election run-off, the interior ministry has
confirmed."

There have been a number of things staying the hand of Israel with regard to when and if they will bomb Iran and it's nuclear facilities. One of those things was the possibility that Iran would elect a moderate leader who would actually find a way to compromise with the Europeans who have been attempting to negotiate Nuclear weapon technology away from Iran. That hope died today with the election of hardline leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today. The already slim chance of compromise fell to nothing today and any thought that a bombing by Israel would further radicalize the Iranian population and put a hardliner in power is now a moot point. A hardliner is now in power. Israel knows that Tehran isn't following it's nuclear path in order to wrestle economic concessions from the west but is following a pure nationalistic policy. Like P'y┼Ćngyang, they reason correctly that having nuclear weapons immunizes them from an attack by America and provides them the ability to stand up to pressure from the US and the West over various conflicting policies which is reason enough to continue racing toward having nuclear weapons. Israel also knows that the equation for their survival will change with a nuclear and hostile Iran next door. They cannot hope that Iran will become unhostile to their existence but they can do something about the nuclear problem. And as I've mentioned a number of times, nuclear weapon technology is 60 years old and available to anyone with the money and inclination to work toward the weaponry. Indeed, for Iran the hard part of the nuclear equation is putting nuclear weapons on missiles since the missile technology and the miniaturization for the weaponry are the harder parts to accomplish.

So any military strike will also hit known missile fabrication and research facilities. It would also seem logical for them to attack any facilities with the scientists and researchers in them. They would be weighing the diplomatic furor over the military strikes themselves and the amplification of that furor with the death count elevated. The survival equation would say that the death of the scientists would do as much as the destruction of the facilities to push back the ability of Iran to produce the fuel and fabrication of their nuclear weaponry.

I've read reports that the United States has in it's fashion accepted the inevitable prospect of Iran becoming a nuclear power. Last I heard the United States gave fairly clear indications to Israel that it wouldn't object too loudly if the problem was addressed militarily and now I don't know if that unspoken policy has changed. Regardless, with the election of the Iranian hardliner you can be assured that the military planners in Israel are updating and reevaluating their plans for an attack inside of Iran.

The other alternative for Israel is to seek a way to live with a nuclear Iran. They would acknowledge their own considerable nuclear arsenal and announce a mutual assured destruction strategy with their neighbors. Any attack by anyone would be considered an attack by all and would be responded too with a strike large enough to also obliterate the enemies. For Israel to do this they would have to believe in their neighbors acting like responsible rational nations. This would be a leap of faith that they would likely not be able to make. Israel is after all small enough that a 'first strike' would be the end of Israel. Nuclear weapon capable enemies have only to provide the very terrorists that they support with a bomb or two to sneak into Israel and that would be it. The terrorists after all constantly display their disregard for life and a zeal when it comes to suicide bombing. The history of the Jews is one of fighting against the odds and in the face of overwhelming odds against them so they are not afraid of a fight. They are also not apt to stand there and do nothing. Look for the attack in the next six months - depending on the so called negotiations between Iran and the Europeans.

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