A nightmare

I recently had a daytime nightmare. A horrific vision of what could happen if events proceeded along a not-unlikely course. But there are no nuclear explosions in my nightmare. It doesn’t end with a bang…

It’s August 2011. Iran, having stockpiled enough highly enriched uranium for several bombs, begins to actually construct one. Israel, its red line crossed, starts the countdown to execute the long-planned operation which is expected to set the Iranian project back 10 years, when it receives an ultimatum from the US:

The operation must not be carried out. If you go ahead, we will prevent it by any means necessary, including engaging and even shooting down Israeli planes.

Since 2008, the US has had an x-band radar installation in the Negev which can detect ‘even a bird’ taking off. The facility is operated and guarded by US  personnel; it is off limits to Israelis. It was installed in order to provide early warning of Iranian missiles, but there is no way that Israel can launch a major (or minor) air operation without the US knowing.

Israel, not prepared to fight the US Navy and Air Force, backs down. The US gives assurances that it will not permit Iran to attack Israel. Iran proceeds to install its new Russian air defense system.

Meanwhile, the US finishes up its withdrawal from Iraq. Syria, in return for the Golan Heights, which it received in January as part of the comprehensive Mideast Peace settlement imposed by the Obama Administration and the Quartet, has stopped allowing Sunni insurgents and supplies to transit the border, and the majority Shiite government has managed to suppress the remaining Sunni insurgency. Obama’s foreign policy appears to be a major success, having brought peace to Iraq, ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, and creating the long-sought after state of Palestine.

Peace in our time has been achieved, says Obama, although he knows enough not to use exactly those words.

What could more natural than for the two mightiest Shiite powers to make an alliance, says the Iraqi Prime Minister, as he announces a five-year economic and military cooperation pact with Iran? And while there is some trepidation that efforts of the new Hezbollah government in Lebanon to disarm Christian militias could lead to strife in that country, most Western diplomats think that the idea of a multi-ethnic state was never really practical.

In Israel, life goes on. Especially in Tel Aviv, you can barely tell the difference between pre-peace days and now. One problem that everyone notices is that air fares are much higher, what with oil at $120/bbl. and rising, and especially since that USAIR  Airbus was hit by an antiaircraft missile fired from the West Bank just as it lifted off from Ben Gurion Airport, killing 247 passengers and crew. President Barghouti of Palestine expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, but indicated that his police have insufficient resources, not enough helicopters, night-vision gear and communications equipment to effectively carry out their mission of fighting terrorism. As a result, the only carrier flying to and from Israel is El Al, whose planes are equipped with special devices to divert the type of missile known to be in the possession of terrorists.

The EL Al aircraft are heavily loaded on trips to America and Europe as those Israelis who can afford it take long vacations outside of the country ‘for the duration’.

The Israeli government has begun a project to reinforce buildings and build protective walls around towns in the area of the Syrian border. Although the peace treaty calls for an end of conflict between Israel and Syria, guerrillas thought to be associated with Hezbollah have been operating in the area, and Syrian troops are not motivated to stop them.  Meanwhile, Golan Druze who are considered pro-Israel were evacuated ahead of the Syrians and are now living in temporary camps in the Negev along with several hundred thousand settlers who were removed from the West Bank.

The evacuation of West Bank settlers was carried out with only a few hundred casualties on the part of the settlers, most of whom left their homes without armed resistance. There were a few isolated settlements where armed Jewish militants resisted evacuation, and special units of the new Volunteer Army, made up of known reliable personnel, were sent in to neutralize them. There are still some holdouts, and Israel has received sharply-worded protests from the government of Palestine in regard to them.

Right now the biggest construction project in Israel is the Palestine Contiguity Highway, to connect the Nahal Oz crossing with Hebron and thence north along the route of the existing Rt. 60 to the capital of Palestine, al-Quds. It’s to be a 150-meter wide corridor with electronic fences on either side, a highway in the middle, and service facilities along the way. Palestinian military vehicles can be seen on service roads, protecting the autos and trucks on the highway from Jewish guerrillas who lately have been harassing them, shooting and then quickly escaping. In some places, the fence is being replaced by a concrete wall to prevent this. Indeed some sections of the dismantled security barrier have been pressed into service.

This project, as well as the yet-to-be started housing for relocated settlers and Golan Druze, has been slowed by the worldwide economic depression caused by the high oil price. When asked about the possibility of increasing production, new OPEC Secretary-General Gholamhossein Nozari of Iran indicated that prices had reached a ‘natural level’ and indeed were at last compensating Middle Eastern and South American nations for years of Western exploitation.

The IDF has recently reduced standards yet again, as the difficulty of recruitment increases. Many secular youth are going abroad when they reach army age, and national-religious types – especially from the relocation centers in the Negev – are as likely to join an underground group like Tzvat Hashem as the IDF. The US-funded and trained (by General Keith Dayton) Volunteer Army has top-notch equipment, but lacks motivation. It also spends a great deal of time chasing Tzvat Hashem fighters, who make commando raids into Palestinian territory, provoking retaliatory Katyusha missile fire from the Palestinian National Army. The Israeli population shifts away from border areas which become more and more insecure.

In the North, Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 short-range rockets targeted at Israel. Iran, which already dictates policy to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, supports the Ikhwan in Egypt, despite ideological differences, because it prefers Islamic to Western-oriented rule. The weak government of Gamal Mubarak is overthrown, Egypt announces its abrogation of the peace treaty with Israel, and sends the Israeli ambassador home. The US cuts off aid, but Iran and Russia step into the vacuum. Iranian satellite Iraq begins to apply pressure to Jordan to also end its cooperation with Israel.

One of the great accomplishments of the peace treaty was the agreement that, while their inalienable right of return was acknowledged, Arab refugees would defer the exercise of this right to an unspecified time when the government of Israel should agree. US Secretary of State Malley even remarked “who said Arabs don’t know compromise?”

But now the Palestinian citizens of Israel (formerly called ‘Israeli Arabs’) demand an equal right of representation with the Jewish population, as well as a new flag and national anthem, etc. And the UN security council, on a motion introduced by the Iranian representative decides that if the rogue state of Israel does not grant these oppressed Arabs their ‘civil rights’, punishing economic sanctions will be applied to the already weakened Israel.

The Iranian ambassador to the US explains just what could happen to the price of oil, the US abstains, and the resolution passes. Israel, already reeling economically and socially, has no choice but to agree. More Israeli Jews begin to think that their future lies elsewhere.

Now at every opportunity, Arab Members of the Knesset introduce bills calling for the return of their refugee brothers. How can they be prevented from exercising a right that has been recognized in international treaty? How can they be allowed to continue their miserable existence (Palestine has only allowed a few to integrate, preferring to keep the great masses in camps)?

It becomes an international cause célèbre.
What can we learn from this nightmare?

  • Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear, no matter what.
  • The Golan must not be transferred to Syria, no matter what.
  • An imposed ‘peace’ settlement with the Palestinians must be resisted, no matter what.

No matter what.

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4 Responses to “A nightmare”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    There is enough material in this rich scenario to keep me in nightmares for years.
    However I have little faith in such scenarios, no matter how knowledgable those who make them, or how rich they are in credible detail.
    First of all this is because the nightmare that happens is usually different from the one we expect.
    But even more fundamentally, it is because of the essential unpredictability of historical reality. ‘Trends’ are one thing and even they are not inviolable but specific turning- point events often seem to come out of nowhere, and change the whole path of things.
    I do not have much comfort from my own thoughts here. The threats are as this piece shows from many sides and may work together.
    I pray we will be wise and strong enough to deal with them properly- and that we will have the Siyyata-di- Shemiyah that will help us in this.

  2. Robman says:

    This is certainly the most concise and scarily plausible scenario I’ve yet seen for what we face if “our side” loses. We have certainly suffered a major setback with the election of Obama, something which, incredibly, the Jewish American community played a major role in supporting. Speaking for myself, I supported McCain (the first time I supported a Republican for president since I have been voting, which has been since 1980).

    I take one major exception, however, and that is the role you posit for Iran.

    I don’t believe Iran is pursuing nuclear arms as merely an umbrella under which they will establish regional hegemony. I am convinced – and have argued at length in an original manuscript – that if the mullahcracy remains in power, and if under their reign, they acquire a fleet of say, 30 warheads to put on their already operationsl MRBMs, they WILL initiate a nuclear exchange with Israel. This in turn will lead to the destruction of Moslem SW Asia / NE Africa. Israel will be destroyed, but they will take the whole region with them. We are talking about 100 million dead in the space of a month from immediate and short-term residual effects, disaster beyond history. I am reasonably sure that key decision makers are aware of these consequences.

    I believe it would take Iran about 10 years to achieve this capability, give or take, but once they acquire even one nuclear warhead, the perceived cost of stopping them at that point will be too high, perhaps even by Israel, and certainly the U.S. and the larger Western bloc. As Iran is within as little as six months – according to recently revealed German intelligence reports – of reaching this milestone, I consider it likely that they are going to be stopped….one way or another.

    Even Obama – yes, Obama – may indeed, at the very least, acquiesce in an Israeli strike, and even may operate actively in concert with Israel. Why not? Iran will blame the U.S. and attack American interests whether we participate or not. As the chances of Israel landing a telling blow are far less than those of the U.S., and as it stands to reason that we are going to pay the price in any case, we might as well kill this elephant as best we can, rather than stand by and watch as it is wounded.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to suggest that Obama & Co. have suddenly done a 180 and gone all warm and fuzzy over Israel. Far from it. That Obama would behave as I have described above is a combination of cold calculation of national interest (a massive nuclear exchange in SW Asia is not good for anyone, and certainly not the U.S.)…and would be an act objectively aimed more at protecting our Sunni Arab “moderate allies”, who are just about as scared of Iran as is the case for Israel.

    But your scenario works extremely well even absent Iran. To me, it becomes substantially more plausible if you make the following adjustments to your assumptions:

    1. Israel and/or the U.S. does indeed take out Iranian nuke capability, cracking them a good one, and even following up with more punishment in retaliation for whatever Iran might do in response. BUT…even though this really ISN’T for Israel’s sake (see above), this does not prevent Obama & Co. in the least from billing it as such for maximum political mileage and leverage both here and there.

    2. Following from #1 above, it is a very short line to merely replacing the role of Iran in your scenario with Saudi Arabia, supported by Obama cashing in his phony “chits” with Israel over Iran by forcing a Saudi-style “settlement” down Israel’s throat. Whereas I contend that the Iranian Shiite mulllahs really believe they can “win” a nuclear war with Israel (why not?…during the Cold War, a lot of more ostensibly “sane” folks- at least compared to the mullahs – on both sides of the Iron Curtain believed in the “winnability” of nuclear war in an even more laughable context with THOUSANDS of nuclear warheads crossing paths), the denoument you describe for Israel meshes extremely well with my estimation of the Saudi playbook for the same.

    The Saudis will raise/threaten to raise the price of oil as you describe. They’ve done it before. This is one of their standard tactics.

    The Saudis will support the terrorists attacking Israel. The always have. Reducing the profile of Iran in this respect only gives the Saudis that much greater proportional behind-the-scnenes control over this aspect of the war, which they would probably welcome. At least then the ‘terror baramoter’ rises and falls at THEIR command, on THEIR timetable, instead of having to deal with those pesky Iranians who just go off and provoke wars on their own with no coordination….

    The Saudis want to turn Israel into, first, another 1970s Rhodesia with respect to the world community, with the last act looking something like Biafra (see Darfur today). What do you expect from a culture in which beheadings are public entertainment a la the Middle Ages? Where 19-year-old rape victims are flogged?

    Ever since 1982, when it was conclusively proven that the Arab world could not exorcise the Zionist entity by conventional military means, they have single-mindedly pursued this “low intensity conflict combined with global propaganda” model. This requires patience, but it is so much more low risk than the messy, clumsy business of trying to nuke them.

    The Saudis and their Gulf pals are the main actors behind a literally decades-long campaign – costing by some estimates $70 billion, the most lavish smear campaign in history – to demonize and isolate Israel. As any reader here would surely agree, their so-called “peace initiative” is a sick joke.

    And now, they’ve got their star pupil Manchurian candidate, Barack Neville Carter Hussein Obama, in the White House. Just loverly.

    All this gloom aside for a moment, a few other rays of light I see out there, besides the consensus to stop Iran, that serve to mitigate your nightmare:

    – Congress – and even the American people generally – still largely support Israel. This may blunt Obama’s treachery. At least the potential is there, if many of us do our part to mobilize support in a focused and coordinated manner. Jewish American fear/apathy/denial is our biggest obstacle here.

    – At least the right guy is in charge over in Israel, so far, at least. If Livni had won, we’d be a lot closer to the disaster you describe, but Bibi seems to be holding firm. He’s got to hang on, and the Israeli people have to hang on with him.

    – Most importantly, objectively, Israel’s immediate adversaries are basket cases in most respects. B.S. and propaganda are important – they excel at these like no one else – but Israel’s immediate neighbors are all economic failures, and are falling farther and farther behind. Even the Gulf oil states have many internal problems, are very unstable. Syria in particular is really a total mess. What we are really witnessing, in a “macro” sense, is a failed civilization in its death throes. This makes them dangerous in the near term, for sure, but I believe that a dynamic country like Israel can hold out realistic hope of waiting them out as they collapse. Consider even Iran, the most “serious” military power among them: their GDP is about the same as Ohio, and 80% of that is based on oil, which shows how little else they have to offer the world (and they are seven times as populous as Ohio). They use model airplanes for “fake” pictures of alleged operational tactical fighters (really).

    – Let’s also not forget that Obama’s credibility is falling amazingly fast for the short time he has been in office. He is rapidly proving to be the fraud and charlatan that his detractors before the fact (like me, and I presume, you) claimed he was. He is almost certainly toast in 2012, and his replacement is almost certainly going to restore robust ties with Israel, if Obama doesn’t find a way to permanently fracture the relationship (which I don’t put past him). So, we’ve just got to play for time for the next three plus years (hey, that’s better than seven plus years, which I really think is quite implausible even now).

    This is a great blog, by the way. You are doing a great job. I hope it is increasing in circulation and popularity. Your voice is much needed, and I wish you every success in this enterprise.

    Happy New Year, all.

  3. Vic Rosenthal says:


    I chose the scenario that I did to show that even if Iran didn’t use a nuclear weapon, possession would be bad enough.

    About Obama: actually, the closest I came to endorsing a candidate was this:


    It was mildly pro-McCain. The problem with McCain was Palin, combined with McCain’s age.

  4. Robman says:

    I was for McCain from a while back. I even switched party registration back in 2000 just to vote for him in the primaries, but wound up supporting Gore in the general election because I could not stand Bush.

    McCain’s age did not worry me; his mum is still alive and healthy. This is a man from strong, sturdy stock.

    As to Palin, do not sell her short. I saw her live at a rally near my home town, the week before the election. She has phenomenal charisma. She is also no dummy, calculated “gotcha” media smears aside.

    Consider what she accomplished. This is a woman who started out as a PTA mom in a small town, who just got up and decided to get into politics. She didn’t come from money or a politically connected background. By her early 40s, going up against considerable opposition even within her own party, she becomes the governor of a state. In terms of demonstrated accomplishments outside of the classroom, I submit that she has displayed far more potential than Obama.

    What she is not is an intellectual. I guess for cultural reasons, we Jews – at least the Diaspora variety (Israelis I know love Palin) – seem to need to have this in a national leader. I contend that it is really not all that important in a national leader, especially in the absense of what I deem to be far more important characteristics of leadership/motivational ability, character, experience, and judgement, the latter three of which are absent to a shocking degree in Obama. Many of our best and most effective presidents could hardly be called “intellectuals”.

    I would not be surprised at all if Palin winds up as the standard bearer for the Republicans in 2012. Who else is there? Huckabee, who can’t really appeal beyond his poltiical/cultural zipcode (i.e, the deep south)? Romney, who has all the steely leadership aura of Daren Stevens from “Bewitched”? Pawlenty, who is so boring, I consistently have trouble even remembering his first name? Jindal? Young and sharp, but will most Americans be ready to relate to this guy? Maybe there is an unknown out there who will emerge from the pack to be sure, but for now, I’d say Palin – yes, Palin – is where the smart money is for leading the GOP ticket in 2012.

    And if this is the case, she will smash Obama. This will happen with or without Jewish American support. I realize it will be very difficult to convince Jewish Americans to support her – and maybe you are among the skeptics – but I for one back her 150%.