US may indeed attack Iran — but not for Israel

News item:

The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an [Israeli] Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term. It said that while the military option had not been taken off the table, the Administration preferred to resolve concerns about Iran’s push for a nuclear weapon “through peaceful diplomatic means.”

Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who concluded a trip to Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for. — Jerusalem Post

The report went on to say that the success of Hezbollah in tightening its grip on Lebanon was “evidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s growing influence”.

I tend to believe the original report. A nuclear Iran really is a threat to American interests. The cornerstone of US Mideast policy is Saudi Arabia, which is also the center of Sunni Islam. Iran is challenging the Saudis both in a geopolitical and religious sense, extending its sphere of influence to include Syria and Lebanon, and has the US tied down in Iraq. All this has been accomplished without nuclear weapons; imagine how much worse the situation would be if Iran had a nuclear deterrent and threat.

It is obvious that diplomacy has been ineffective in stopping or even slowing Iran’s progress, primarily because of Iran’s influence on its oil purchasers. However, just because a nation cannot afford to join a diplomatic offensive does not mean that it would not quietly applaud a unilateral US military action, which could be blamed on the supposedly regressive George Bush and Dick Cheney.

There are powerful forces among American policymakers who would oppose military action. But I don’t think they are as strong as the Saudi-aligned faction. So, although I’ve said in the past that US military action against Iran is unlikely, I am not so sure any longer.

If it should come to pass, Ahmadinejad’s threats against Israel will likely be cited as one of the reasons. But don’t kid yourself — if the US really cared about Israel’s security, we wouldn’t be arming Fatah. The real drive for an American attack on Iran is coming from Riyadh.

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One Response to “US may indeed attack Iran — but not for Israel”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    I also believe there is a fairly good chance of an American attack. One reason is that it if it does not happen the Bush Administration will gone down in history as the one which allowed Iran to become a nuclear power. The incumbent will in fact face a fait accompli.
    Bush’s concern for his own place in history may lead him to take on Iran.
    Also to really win the War on Terror Iran the principal state- sponsor of Terror has to be stopped. If Iran could be soundly drubbed it would go a long way to taking the wind out of Radical Islam.
    However this does not mean I personally look forward to an American attack. Israel after all is the one who is going to pay the major price for any U.S. action. The missles Syria, Hizbollah, the rockets of Hamas will be headed towards Israel.So will the Shihab – 3 and we do not know what kind of warhead it will have.
    Outgoing Air- Force Commander Eliezer Shkeidy said in a coming war thousands of missiles will come down on Israel. They will should the U.S. attack Iran. And will the U.S. give Israel advance warning? Will there be coordination and an Israeli effort to preempt the Syrian and Hizbollah missiles?
    All alternatives now look bad. The thought is that nonetheless preemption of a nuclear Iran is necessary- and that the U.S. has the means to do this more efficiently ( And absorb the political heat better) than Israel.