Words of war are heating up between Israel and Iran. “The sabre-rattling over Iran’s nuclear progamme has grown louder as a defiant Tehran claimed to have conducted missile tests for a second day running, the US warned that it would defend its interests and its allies in the region, and Israel hinted it was ready to stage a preventive attack to destroy Iranian nuclear installations. . . . With the latest tests–and the wide front-page coverage given to them by the national media–Tehran is signalling it will not be cowed by international pressure to end a programme which the West suspects is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, and that any attack by the US or Israel will be answered in kind. . . . The tests, including launching the 1,250-mile range Shahab-3 missile that can hit Israel, should be ‘a lesson to our enemies’, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was quoted as saying. But some of the talk may be bravado. Pentagon officials told CNN that surveillance suggested only a single missile was fired yesterday, apparently one that failed to launch on Wednesday. . . . Even so, the show of strength drew an unprecedentedly blunt response from Washington and Israel. No one should doubt US resolve, said Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, on a visit to Georgia. ‘We are sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and the interests of our allies.’ . . . More ominously, Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, noted pointedly that while diplomatic pressure remained the preferred way of persuading Iran to halt uranium enrichment, Israel ‘has proved in the past it is not afraid to take action when its vital security interests are at stake’.” To continue reading click here.
One needs to be careful here. Are both sides ratcheting up words of war just to satisfy domestic constituencies or to generate their machismo in the region. Or is this just the preface of a last ditch effort on the part of the Bush administration to either directly or by proxy take out Iran’s nuclear threat? Whatever the dynamics are here, it is quite clear that Iran is stronger and far more menacing now, since the invasion of Iraq, than it was pre-2003. The blowback from the invasion will haunt the U.S. and the region for years. Unless there is some reasonable means of negotiating with Iran regarding its interest in acquiring nuclear arms, March 19, 2003 will serve as the beginning of an Iranian supremacy in the region, or the reason the region was plunged into war. One final point. Is it possible that George W. Bush is so bereft of principles that he would invade Iran to tie the hands of the next president, especially if it becomes clear that the next president will be Barack Obama?