Iran poses no existential threat to Israel, US
What we know about Irans nuclear programme is not encouraging, but is it enough to judge Tehrans intentions? No clear leads have emerged to link attacks on New Delhi, Bangkok and foiled terror plot in Georgia.
So the question arises, do America and Israel have a strong case to attack Tehran and scuttle its nuclear ambitions? The answer could be in affirmative for many in Washington and its close allies.
However, unless Iran commits an unpardonable act, nothing qualifies Tehran for military action.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejads recent flaunting of nuclear card leaves no doubt about Tehrans ambition to possess nuclear technology. But unleashing American and Israeli military strength would throw the region into chaos. Tehran would be forced to accelerate its nuclear programme and may even take recourse to clandestine means, making it difficult to detect, inspect and attack, if need be.
The present Iranian nuclear ambitions do not pose any existential threat to America, nor to Israel. If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuke China and a clandestine nuclear Pakistan, then it can live with a nuclear Iran. If Jews could survive the Nazi Holocaust, have a separate nation carved out in West Asia and survive the Arab animosity, it would for sure survive any military misadventure of Iran, as Tehran would face decisive American military action.
But what remains to be ascertained is Tehrans nuclear status - that is, whether it is nuclear or near nuclear and how afraid is Israel.
The deliberate conviction of Iraq for possession of weapons of mass destruction should caution both America and Israel, when trying to ascertain how close Tehran might be to acquiring nuclear weapons.
Washington in 2003 insisted that we could not wait for nuclear inspectors to finish their job in Iraq. The then British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined a US- led coalition force in an illegal war against Iraq to ferret out Saddams WMDs that never existed. Iraq was depicted as a closing window.
The Iraq Survey Group, a 1400 strong member organisation set up by the CIA and the Pentagon, made every attempt to prove otherwise, but only came back empty handed. It its final Duelfer Report released in September 2004, the group found no evidence of concerted efforts to restart the nuclear programme.
How could Iraq, a country economically besieged, politically isolated and war torn, have produced nuclear weapons to attack America or pose a threat to Israel? Yet the country was ruined with military ferocity. However, the Iraq war invasion plot has started to play again in Iran. The drums of war beat louder as Iran and Israel step up rhetoric. Once again, leading the rhetoric is the American media.
A recent article, titled 'Al Qaeda in Iran,'published in a foreign policy journal, Foreign Affairs, elaborates that several of al Qaedas most senior leaders are being held in Iran under house arrest and that " evidence of the Iranian- al Qaeda partnership abounds," despite the fact that the Sunni terrorist group despises Shias.
The story is pushed further by Wall Street Journal in an article titled 'US Fears Irans Links to al Qaeda,'stating that US officials believe Iran recently gave new freedoms to as many as five top al Qaeda operatives who have been under house arrest, including the option to leave the country, and may have provided some material aid to the terrorist group.
Following the Journal story, Sky News has taken the story even further with an article titled 'Fears Iran is Helping Al Qaeda Plot Atrocity'. The article elaborates on Irans links with al Qaeda and training to latter in advanced explosives 'some funding and a safe haven'. The piece also cites a 'secret intelligence memo'claiming that " Iran has significantly stepped up its investment, maintenance and improvement of operational and intelligence ties with the al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan in recent months." The case against Iran is in the making. Defending Israel from some imagined Iraqi threat was used by Bush, his war enthusiast team members and the media.
The option of war against Iran has been tossed back and forth for a very long time, but no sensible reasons are to be found.
The picture has just begun to unfold. Iran is not a closing window. The international community would be profoundly shortsighted to go to war on the basis of recent ( failed attempts to) attack Israel, failure of nuclear talks, some irresponsible statements by Tehran and deliberate construction of fears of Iranian attacks.
If history repeats itself, it does so only when we fail to learn its important lessons.