August 28, 2010
Israel Seemingly Will Not Rest Until It Sets The Middle East Ablaze
For OpEdNews: Michael Payne* - Writer
Israel seems hell-bent on launching an attack on Iran, notwithstanding the fact that such military action could inflame the entire Middle East. Israel, which has a large and very potent nuclear arsenal, is convinced that Iran is developing a nuclear capability and, therefore, has clearly indicated that it is ready to strike at any given moment. The state of paranoia in Israel has reached new heights and now endangers the entire region.
While the confrontation between Israel and Iran has been going on for years, with the U.S. monitoring the situation, Israel's constant threats continue to exacerbate this highly tenuous situation. President Obama has largely been silent on this matter but did spearhead the UN sanctions against Iran. On occasion, he makes the foolhardy statement that, "all options are still on the table." Gone is his previous campaign promise that he would meet directly with Iran's leaders in order to seek a resolution to the standoff. Yet another broken promise? What else is new?
Both Israel and the U.S. have significant "vital interests" (there's that nebulous term that our president and the generals routinely use) in the Middle East region. With Israel, it's an obsession with using its military power to dominate the region; to make certain that no nation can pose a serious threat to its security. Over the decades it has demonstrated its military power on numerous occasions against those nations who dared to challenge it. Peaceful negotiations with any nation have no place in Israel's agenda.
The U.S. on the other hand has similar but far more ambitious objectives in the Middle East. For decades, it has been establishing a foothold in that region for one reason, and one reason only; it's all about control of critical resources, namely, oil - it's always been about oil. For those who still dispute that conclusion here is my question for them. If the U.S. continued military presence and actions over these many years is not about oil then what exactly do they think it is?
Well, the U.S. has this ever-growing presence in the Middle East because we are a nation that is largely dependent upon oil imports from OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and other oil-producing nations. A decision was made years ago by the powers in Washington that we would not let any other nation gain control over the vast oil reserves of the Middle East; and that decision was underscored by the pre-emptive attack on Iraq.
In 2003, Saddam Hussein was the designated bogeyman and so Iraq, based on the Bush/Cheney lies about weapons of mass destruction, became a prime target and was taken down. Now some seven years later Mahmoud Amadinejad, the very vocal President of Iran, has been identified as the latest bogeyman that must be taken down, together with the Iranian nuclear power facilities.
The only remaining impediment to U.S. control of that region is Iran, that obstinate nation that refuses to be intimidated or become subservient to those who want to control the Middle East. You can bet that those in Washington and Israel are burning the midnight oil trying to figure out how to deal with this massive roadblock to their intentions. But however this situation is resolved, the most important issue is that someone, somehow must convince Israel that their attack on Iran would, almost certainly ignite a Middle East Inferno; one that could easily spread in a domino effect.
Here is the scenario that could unfold if Iran's nuclear facilities come under attack. On August 22 the Iranians started up their first nuclear facility, the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant. This plant will be internationally monitored and supervised, and the project includes a pledge by Russia to safeguard it against materials being diverted for potential use in developing nuclear weapons.
Russian officials were present at this start up and its engineers will be at that plant on a continuing basis so it behooves Israel to think twice or, rather, many, many times before it ever decides to launch an attack against that facility or for that matter, any other facility. If Israel would react in its typical impulsive way and if, in its constant state of paranoia, it suddenly initiates an attack, the consequences of that action would, without a doubt, infuriate the Russians; and that would not bode well for Israel.
Besides Russia, Iran has established a very good relationship with China. There are more than 100 Chinese state companies operating in Iran. Iran is a major exporter of natural gas and petroleum to China, which now has become Iran's most important trading partner. And as a part of this trade partnership, China has supplied Iran with more than 1,000 very sophisticated anti-air and anti-ship missiles.
Just imagine what might happen if, on a given day, the government of Israel decides to launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. When such attacks occur, as has been the case many times in military actions, one never knows where the bombs or missiles might explode. And just suppose that when the attack is underway that there are Russian advisers or nuclear engineers, or representatives from China present in those areas. Just think about what kind of "blowback" might follow.
At that point, crazy things could happen such as the start of a massive war that could involve Iran, Israel, Russia, China, and the U.S. And who knows how many other Middle East nations that might react to such an explosive situation? World wars can be ignited under various scenarios, such as when the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914 resulted in World War I; or by monumental happenings such as when Germany rolled over the nations of Europe at the inception of World War II.
That a tiny nation of no more than 7.5 million people with an area of only 8,000 square miles could cause a massive regional war should be unthinkable. But with the current situation in the Middle East, and with Israel having an itchy trigger finger, it involves extreme danger for the entire world. In this very fragile world such a conflict could erupt into a major catastrophe with so many of these potential opponents having substantial nuclear capabilities.
This is a study in paranoid behavior. According to Wikipedia, "Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself." Does that describe the state of Israel today or what?
Living in the same neighborhood with a person or a family with those symptoms would certainly be a harrowing experience; but just think what it is like for a nation in the Middle East to listen to the almost daily diatribes coming out of Israel relative to their desire to attack Iran.
Israel is, literally, playing with fire if it goes off the deep end and springs an attack; but who is going to stop it? The only nation that has the influence and the power to dissuade Israel and to defuse this potential time bomb is the U.S. and its current president Barack Obama. But does that fact give anyone any amount of faith and confidence in this critical matter?
Our government and our president know full well just how very grave this situation has now become. Even a very small spark could set the Middle East ablaze. This escalating confrontation has reached a most critical point and it's time that our president, Mr. Obama, stops vacillating and proves to the world that he is worthy of his Nobel Peace Prize.
*Michael Payne concentrates his writings on domestic social and political matters, American foreign policy and climate change. His articles have appeared on Online Journal, Information Clearing House, Peak Oil, Google News and many others.
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
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