Monday, March 19, 2012

(opinion) Iran a Grave Threat?

With the apparent winding down of the controversial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the incessant push for a war with Iran coming from Republicans and some democrats seems not only nonsensical but reckless. The constant natter of the threat Iran poses to the US, and Israel foaming at the mouth with the prospect of attacking Iran escapes the reality that Iran pose no real threat to the United States or Israel, and if they did manage to reach nuclear capability, it will only be of deterrent value.

Iran, who are almost universally hated in their region, share borders with nations where the US have invaded or have subsequently built military bases in. they also face attempts by the US to weaken Iran's oil exports by bullying other nations such as India and South Africa to cut business ties with Iran. To make matters worse, Saudi Arabia, a long standing US ally, have promised to pick up the slack left from cutting oil ties with Iran. terrorist groups in the region are largely Sunni Muslims which makes a proxy terror counter-strike from Iran unlikely as Iran is largely Shia. Its main ally in the region (Syria) is currently embroiled in a major civil upheaval where the continuation of the Assad regime looks less than promising.

In this current climate, the rational option for the Iranian leadership would be to build or develop nuclear capability in light of all these negatives, but the Iranians, despite having a nuclear program for five decades, have failed to achieve nuclear capability.Iran's nuclear research has come at expense with the concerning trend of Iranian nuclear scientists dying violently on the increase. this would surely increase with rebuilding attempts if surgical strikes from the United States or Israel were used in targeting nuclear research sites.

With this knowledge widely available , the drumbeat to war with Iran does seems absurd, but it is only absurd depending on where you start the conversation on Iran, with its current state of affairs or its perceived future capability for nuclear weapons. As the war in Iraq tragically proved, it is folly to start with a conclusion when dealing with foreign policy as starting from a  conclusion leads little room for alternative interpretations of the perceived threat.

In sum, the drumbeat of war with Iran should be ignored as considering  the current state of affairs, Iran poses little or no threat to the US or its allies.If Iran were to develop nuclear capability, it will be used almost exclusively as a deterrent as they are in a region with very few friends and growing list of powerful enemies. finally, it is important that the US and its allies avoid the mistakes of the past by avoiding premature conclusions, a lesson that should have been in light of the Iraq war.                  

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