Monday, February 13, 2006

War with Iran

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The Oxford Research Group has released a report on the consequences of war with Iran (whether Israeli or US attack), to strike at its nuclear facilities and capability to retaliate. It estimates that it could lead to a wider war in the Middle East, kill 10,000 people and solidify backing for the current regime, and anti-American feeling in the Middle East. Iran could retaliate with suicide speedboats against oil tankers and a ground offensive would be untenable, requiring 100,000 troops.
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The full text of the report is here. It recommends that all non-military options be pursued to respond to Iran's nuclear programme - which, of course, should be pursued first. Diplomatic and trade sanctions may have a better chance of helping the regime topple than war. However, Iraq's nuclear facilities is Osiraq were knocked out by Israel in 1986, which did not result in war - but that was simpler.
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However.
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Nuclear attack on Tel Aviv, population 358 000. Imagine one third killed = 129 000.
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Maybe Iran is bluffing. Maybe Iran wont use nuclear weapons, maybe it wont supply nuclear materials to terrorists it supplies, funds and trains now. Maybe....
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Hopefully a diplomatic solution can be found that is verifiable, and Iran can be brought back from the brink. If it can't and Iran uses what it looks like it is acquiring, then it will be too late.
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Iran needs to be threatened with economic sanctions and isolation if it continues, and an opening up if it opens it facilities for full inspection and verification. Its government and people should know that there is a willingness to strangle Iran economically if it persists, and to use military force if necessary. As long as Iran has murderous intent against Israel, Israel will not sit by and watch hundreds of thousands of its civilians be incinerated.
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After all, if Iran uses a nuclear weapon against Israel - there should be no doubt that the Israeli and US response will make that the end of the Islamic Republic.

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