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The definitive piece on Iran and Israel


141 replies to this topic

#61 Triskan

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:11 PM

Here's a hypothetical:

Let's say you're Bibi, and you are understandably uncomfortable with Iran getting the bomb. Imagine a future in which Israel and possibly the US have been in continued bombing campaigns, destroying Iranian infrustructure, killing Iranian citizens, and solidifying the current regime's hold over power. What if they still get to the bomb anyway but it just takes longer? Wouldn't you be much more afraid of them in that scenario than if they got the bomb right now?

If so, why aren't you afraid of things playing out this way?

#62 Lummel

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:40 PM

Because the value of a nuclear bomb to Iran is firstly to be taken seriously as a nuclear power and get to sit on the grown ups table and secondly to counter balance the nuclear weapons held by regional rival Pakistan?

Iran and Israel currently use each other as mutual political bogeymen. That's far too valuable a relationship for their internal politics for them to risk jeopardising it.

#63 SpicyTurkey

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:11 PM

Because the value of a nuclear bomb to Iran is firstly to be taken seriously as a nuclear power and get to sit on the grown ups table and secondly to counter balance the nuclear weapons held by regional rival Pakistan Israel ?

Iran and Israel currently use each other as mutual political bogeymen. That's far too valuable a relationship for their internal politics for them to risk jeopardising it.


Fixed that for ya.

#64 RWHamel

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:19 PM

Iran has been a major pain in the neck to the other oil producing nations for a long time, in that it wouldn't play ball with production control and price control. I think Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait talked Saddam Hussein into invading Iran back in the 80's for this reason. Well that failed miserably for him, and he blamed the Saudi's and Kuwaitis, and wanted recompense, which they wouldn't give him So he invaded Kuwait, and after his defeat he also stopped playing ball. That's the real reason we took him out, because the United States are the good little tools of the Oil Cabal, and I also believe it's the real reason for all the sabre rattling concerning Iran.

#65 Nukelavee

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:31 PM

Is Bolton's Leech the only other person willing to factor this in? Israel is a nuclear power.

Let's say that again- Israel has the bomb.

Now - Apply that to the situation. Israel, as a government, isn't stupid - using that capability is going to cost them heavily in world opinion, but, they have the option.

Unless Iran has the threat to respond in kind. It's MAD for Iran to have the bomb (yeah, i said it), but for Israel, Iran having the bomb is exactly what they don't need, a direct counter to them.

Plus - it's my understanding that quite a large fraction of Iran's population isn't behind the theocracy, that they'd prefer a return to the more western state they enjoyed pre-Khomeini (without the Shah and his thugs, mind you). Leaning on Iran, isolating it, simply allows teh clerics to maintain the lock they have on the country. It allows them to "justify" arms and internal security that are also used to prevent internal dissent from possibly making Iran a more reasonable state.

IMO.

#66 mor2

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:50 PM

Of course, if we're talking about "messianic radicals", I could point out a certain American president who thought God wanted him to spread democracy to Iraq and the Middle East through military force

That just ridicules. As an atheist and one that did not particularly liked bush, I dont want to be the one to defend him but I think that if you dig bellow the superficial demagoguery, you'll see the big difference. More importantly is that Ahmadabad belief of the muhadi or the 12th imam if you wish, that he spook of are not just his. For example the recent protests in the Arab world that we call the 'Arab Spring', believed by their leadership to be inspired from their Islamic Revolution and Infact they have coined the name the 'Islamic awakening' instead the 'Arab Spring', which basically reflects Iran's policy and aspirations.

Edited by mor2, 06 March 2012 - 08:02 PM.


#67 adamsputnik

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 06:24 PM

It's refreshing to read a thoughtful and insightful piece on this otherwise sensationalised issue. I didn't really come across a whole lot that I disagreed with, to be honest. The warmongers out there seem to have a pretty warped perspective on geopolitics, not to mention a raging hard-on about the idea of the US projecting its power militarily - whether it's a good idea or not.

#68 Werthead

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 06:33 PM

I dont think that Israel need to fear of Iran long range missiles, its the much shorter ones that Iran have placed in the hands of their proxies in lebanon and gaza that Israel should fear. Attack on Iran would mean a very unpleasant aftermath to Israel with or without USA support.


Iran's long-range missiles are a significant threat to Israel, capable of damaging large areas and being orders of magnitude more difficult to defend against than the small (in fact, compared to the Iranian weapons, near-negligible) missiles used by the proxies in Lebanon and Gaza. It might be the case that a large-scale missile strike by Iran on Israel might trigger a considerably deadlier retaliation by Israel on Iran (and so the escalation mounts), but the Iranian regime could feel that it's been pushed into a corner, where it has to launch a missile strike or be seen as weak by its regional rivals.

Let's say you're Bibi, and you are understandably uncomfortable with Iran getting the bomb. Imagine a future in which Israel and possibly the US have been in continued bombing campaigns, destroying Iranian infrustructure, killing Iranian citizens, and solidifying the current regime's hold over power. What if they still get to the bomb anyway but it just takes longer? Wouldn't you be much more afraid of them in that scenario than if they got the bomb right now?

If so, why aren't you afraid of things playing out this way?


I think they are, very much so, but that they feel they have no choice. Israel perceives Iran with a nuclear weapon as an threat to their very existence, irregardless of whether Iran would actually conceivably use it. If there's even a 0.0001% chance Iran might either use the bomb on Israel, or pass it to terrorists who might, that is not acceptable to the Israeli government.

To be honest, the most worrying thing about the situation is that both Iran and Israel could feel themselves pushed into situations where the only way out is military action. That feeling of not being able to take any other action is extremely dangerous.

it's my understanding that quite a large fraction of Iran's population isn't behind the theocracy, that they'd prefer a return to the more western state they enjoyed pre-Khomeini (without the Shah and his thugs, mind you). Leaning on Iran, isolating it, simply allows teh clerics to maintain the lock they have on the country. It allows them to "justify" arms and internal security that are also used to prevent internal dissent from possibly making Iran a more reasonable state.


The irony here is that Iran was among the more tolerant and open-minded countries in the region (well, at least as with regards to internal affairs, obviously not foreign policy rhetoric), even under the Ayatollahs, until comparatively recently. It was the protest movement in 2009-10 which seemed to really rattle the government and lead to some crackdowns, possibly intensified as the sanctions have grown more severe.

What is quite worrying is that there are factions in the Iranian government who consider even Ahmadinejad to be too weak and soft, great on his anti-Israel, anti-US speeches but feeble on action, and do not think of him as a hardliner in the way he is portrayed in the Western media.

I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if the USA had followed the path of bringing Iran in from the cold post-9/11, when the Iranians were keen to cooperate in destroying al-Qaeda (Iran's sworn enemy) and for a few months it looked like relations could have been improved before Bush's Axis of Evil speech derailed everything.

#69 mor2

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:28 PM

Iran's long-range missiles are a significant threat to Israel, capable of damaging large areas and being orders of magnitude more difficult to defend against than the small (in fact, compared to the Iranian weapons, near-negligible) missiles used by the proxies in Lebanon and Gaza. It might be the case that a large-scale missile strike by Iran on Israel might trigger a considerably deadlier retaliation by Israel on Iran (and so the escalation mounts), but the Iranian regime could feel that it's been pushed into a corner, where it has to launch a missile strike or be seen as weak by its regional rivals.

I might agree with your second point, but I think you mistaken when you say that it is harder to defend again Iran missiles. From what I know Israel has an early warning and defense system in place to defend against those, however they have nothing that can deal with rain of missiles that would come from hezbollah, more importantly because this would not be a symmetrical war, I see no reason why they would not be aimed at certain strategic industries, where a hit would be as good as an unconventional missile and for this they dont need a large payload.

Edited by mor2, 06 March 2012 - 07:33 PM.


#70 Social Justice Darkstar

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:00 PM

I might agree with your second point, but I think you mistaken when you say that it is harder to defend again Iran missiles.

Early warning and defense systems don't work reliably; even the best ones we have work about 40% of the time, and that's the US. In order for Israel to be protected against these sorts of attacks they'll need to take out the missile bases, which they don't have the resources to do alone.

Which means the US. Which means a pretty big war.

Dealing with Hezbollah isn't that big a deal by comparison ssimply because the missiles aren't nearly as destructive and Israel can absolutely bring a ton of resources to bear on stopping them. It will cause damage, but we're talking about tens of thousands of deaths from Iranian missiles. The destructive power of a launched Iranian missile isn't some shitty Scud and it's not some backwater thing that random hick terrorists can use. These are long range, computer guided weapons that are very difficult to react to. Again, you not knowing this basically shows how much you're talking out of your ass on this.

#71 Anarchosaurus Rex

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:04 PM

Of course, if we're talking about "messianic radicals", I could point out a certain American president who thought God wanted him to spread democracy to Iraq and the Middle East through military force . .


Bush was a terrible president, but be careful about blaming him for everything. The actions Bush took were really more a continuation of the policies begun under the administrations of Bush Sr. and Clinton. Bush Sr. invaded Iraq under false pretenses of "protecting Kuwait" despite the total lack of evidence that Hussein intended to invade Kuwait, then Clinton besieged and bombarded Iraq for 8 years. When Bush Jr. invaded Iraq, deposed Hussein, and installed a U.S.-friendly government in his place, he was only finishing the work his predecessors started.

Furthermore, Obama, who campaigned on "change" and "ending the wars," has not only escalated the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (note: withdrawing U.S. soldiers and replacing them with U.S. mercenaries is not "bringing the troops home"), but also threatened to start two new wars in Iran and Syria.

Quite frankly, American Empire is an ideology that transcends party. Republicans and Democrats are both in favor of imperialism.

#72 Nukelavee

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:04 PM

Yo, Israel has the means to rocket a nuke or 2 into Iran.

That's kind of an important factor. Plus, Israel has no problems with airstrikes in foreign airspace, or covert ops against personnel.

They can't stop now - they'll never get teh chance again if they get shut down now.

And teh long range plans of the theocracy demand nukes, to project power. They've been working on the Holy Persian Empire for 40 years.

Israel isn't just prey, it's competition - Israel also has no problem taking territory after a war.

I'm not judging Israel, or justifying Iran, but, that's what it is.

eta:

Holy shit, Justice - Saddam didn't invade Kuwait? I'm pretty certain he was camping in Kuwait City for a while.

Edited by Nukelavee, 06 March 2012 - 10:07 PM.


#73 Triskan

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:32 PM

Bush Sr. invaded Iraq under false pretenses of "protecting Kuwait" despite the total lack of evidence that Hussein intended to invade Kuwait, then Clinton besieged and bombarded Iraq for 8 years. When Bush Jr. invaded Iraq, deposed Hussein, and installed a U.S.-friendly government in his place, he was only finishing the work his predecessors started.

Furthermore, Obama, who campaigned on "change" and "ending the wars," has not only escalated the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (note: withdrawing U.S. soldiers and replacing them with U.S. mercenaries is not "bringing the troops home"), but also threatened to start two new wars in Iran and Syria.

Quite frankly, American Empire is an ideology that transcends party. Republicans and Democrats are both in favor of imperialism.


Please provide evidence that Saddam never intended to invade Kuwait or whatever you're saying, and please provide evidence that whatever mercenaries that are in Iraq are a comparable force to the US soldiers that were withdrawn. If your point is that there are still Americans in Iraq, then I understand, but your statement can be read quite differently than that.

#74 Samalander

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:07 AM

Quite true, but equally true of the hypothetically-nuclear-armed-state-of-Iran. Is there any particular reason to think their commanders would be more willing to hit Tel Aviv than yours would be to hit Tehran?

Yes there is. We'll kill your family if you don't press the button is very different than having the will to press the button knowing your country is gone, your family is dead, you are all alone under water with this decision and if you do it you might be charged with crimes against humanity after the fact (this is second strike scenario we're talking about, as nobody seems to feel Israel will attack anybody with a Nuke first).

Iran is not crazy. This is the stupidest talking point that goes around in these discussions.
IRAN IS A RATIONAL ACTOR..
They are not gonna start a nuclear war.

Just because somebody is rational, doesn't mean they ascribe to your notion of rationality. We already know the leadership of Iran could care less about the people of Iran, since they killed so many of them during the last failed attempt at something close to an uprising. If they can assure their own safety and achieve their goals, what do they care if a million of their people dies? They have plenty more where those came from.

In any case, I can see why the Israelis aren't happy about the proliferation possibility. For one thing, it won't allow them to bomb and blast their way into Lebanon every couple of years before inevitably getting burned and pulling back.

Like that is something we relish doing. A smack down is required at times. And yes, we really need to manage those better.

P.S
And a /thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' /> to mor2 for his numeration of answers in post #46.

#75 mor2

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:09 AM

Early warning and defense systems don't work reliably; even the best ones we have work about 40% of the time, and that's the US. In order for Israel to be protected against these sorts of attacks they'll need to take out the missile bases, which they don't have the resources to do alone.

Which means the US. Which means a pretty big war.

Dealing with Hezbollah isn't that big a deal by comparison ssimply because the missiles aren't nearly as destructive and Israel can absolutely bring a ton of resources to bear on stopping them. It will cause damage, but we're talking about tens of thousands of deaths from Iranian missiles. The destructive power of a launched Iranian missile isn't some shitty Scud and it's not some backwater thing that random hick terrorists can use. These are long range, computer guided weapons that are very difficult to react to. Again, you not knowing this basically shows how much you're talking out of your ass on this.

Anything you can show to back this up?

#76 Social Justice Darkstar

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:17 AM

Anything you can show to back this up?

Yes - all the prior links posted in this thread, for starters. Including (gasp) the original piece, which has links to all the information in it as well.

#77 mor2

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:35 AM

interesting, care to show me the specific part you were repeating that gave that assessment of 40% ?

#78 Social Justice Darkstar

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:39 AM

Sure, here's one in the NYT.

Mr. Obama’s announcement of his new antimissile plan in September was based on the Pentagon’s assessment that the SM-3, or Standard Missile 3, had intercepted 84 percent of incoming targets in tests. But a re-examination of results from 10 of those apparently successful tests by Theodore A. Postol and George N. Lewis, being published this month, finds only one or two successful intercepts — for a success rate of 10 to 20 percent.


I averaged the two to get the 40, but I've seen that cited for the Patriot.

#79 mor2

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:39 AM

I am not sure what the SM-3 or the patriot has todo with what I said, those are missile defense system that USA deploys, or rather both USA and Israel to complement Israel own missile defense system, which is far better. Before when I said 'early warning system', I meant an 'early warning system' i.e. the USA satellite and the long range radar, that was provided to boost the Israeli system capability.

In either case I don't see how this refute my statement, that It is easier to defend against Iran missiles. Because, even if we take your average of SM-3 and patriot(which left me speechless), Israel still has multi layered defense system against Iran, starting from your SM-3 in the gulf(and probably a compliment in the Mediterranean), then it's Arrow system and then the patriot crap. In contrast there is nothing they can do against 10k of missiles that would be lunched against them in the first hours of any engagement from Lebanon, nor would they have an option to retaliate, after all those missile are cheap, mobile and hidden inside civilian population.

Edited by mor2, 07 March 2012 - 03:42 AM.


#80 Horza

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:42 AM

Just because somebody is rational, doesn't mean they ascribe to your notion of rationality. We already know the leadership of Iran could care less about the people of Iran, since they killed so many of them during the last failed attempt at something close to an uprising. If they can assure their own safety and achieve their goals, what do they care if a million of their people dies? They have plenty more where those came from.


Eh, Mao once said words to the effect that he wasn't concerned about nuclear war because if it killed half the population of China he was still hundreds of millions of people ahead. Didn't mean China was an irrational actor, didn't make it in US interests to bomb their nuclear program before it was too late, and this was a country that killed tens of millions of its own citizens in the Great Leap Forward, set waves of bloodthirsty teenagers against it's leadership cadres in the Cultural Revolution and backed the North Koreans and later the North Vietnamese in bitter proxy wars with the US.

Despite all this, the US was shortly working with them against the Soviet Union, to the point of backing Pol Pot against the Vietnamese.

Iran, despite it's apocalyptic rhetoric (though honestly, what ME state doesn't indulge in that? If Bibi came on your TV sets and gave his AIPAC speech in Hebrew I suspect the opening paragraphs would have most people heading for their bunkers) hasn't acted in any way to suggest its leadership are anything but concerned with the preservation of the Islamic Republic and their power within it.

After all, this is the country that for all it's human-wave tactics signed a ceasefire agreement with Saddam rather than pursue a war it couldn't win (a war in which WMD were used, and their use against Iranian cities was threatened), that co-operated with the US in the invasion of Afghanistan and after the Iraq invasion offered Bush negotiations on their nuclear program with everything on the table,

Almost every state has portrayed its opponents as unreasonable, undeterrable foes who can only be talked to with force, sometimes while negotiating with them via backchannels. I think the danger here is not that Iran is irrational, but that one or both of the two leaderships might start to mistake their rhetoric about the other for reality.



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