Nuclear Ambitions of Iran
THE COMPLEX IDEOLOGY OF IRAN
Iran is on the threshold of building nuclear weapons. It has no conscious or fear of pressures that may be applied by other nations or condemnation by the outside world. It is only concerned with the influence, prestige and security it will derive from possessing nuclear weapons (Schulte, July/August 2010, p. 85). The Islamic Republic of Iran has historically been aggressive. The goal of the dictatorial leadership is to always stay in power.
Iran perceives itself as being in jihad, “a holy war”. The Iranian government and the Iranian people are totally committed to the destruction of Israel. It is a religious “duty” to forward the destiny of Islam. As the end of mankind approaches as foretold in the Koran and other holy books, Muslims lack any fear of death. Dying a sacrificial death to speed up their entry into heaven is considered to be an honorable deed. Mothers send their sons and daughters gladly to be sacrifice for this end.
Unlike the Kamikaze pilots of Japan who sacrificed themselves for a human being--their emperor--Muslims sacrifice their lives for God.
At this time in history, nations in the Middle East gain status by standing up to Israel and the United States. Lacking a great military power, Iran uses this strategy to the greatest effect. To harass and strike fear into nations many time its size, Iran has been known to use the following strategies:
? Damaging oil infrastructure;
? Attacking United States forces in Afghanistan and Iraq;
? Interrupting tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf;
? Giving weapons to non-state groups such as A-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Talliban.
? Terrorist strikes worldwide; and
? Using its oil exports to influence allies to demonstrate political power.
Radicalizing youth and having them commit suicide, making them national heroes, and supporting their families is a pattern that we are becoming all too familiar with.
Iran’s leadership is aware, as is the United States, that by developing nuclear weapons, “Iran would emerge as the most powerful regional player, and the United States would become greatly weakened. Revolutionary Islamist forces in the region—taking note of Iran’s power and perceived success. [Islamic organizations] would become more aggressive. [As a result] many Arab and European governments would try to appease Iran to survive or to avoid trouble.” (Posen, July/August 2010, p. 160)
WILL IRAN STRIKE ISRAEL?The illicit, renegade nuclear pursuit of Iran poses a serious challenge to the planet’s nonproliferation goal. Stopping Iran’s program most likely will not happen in the foreseeable future (Schulte, July/August 2010, p. 85). Thus, it is no longer a question of “If Iran will attack Israel?”, but “When will Iran attack Israel?”
Iran’s nuclear weapons will be controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the most radical organization. Its leader, Iran’s Minister of Defense, is an internationally wanted terrorist. Iran is already supplying Hamas and Hezbollah with weapons. By doing this, Iran can attack Israel and avoid taking responsibility or being blamed for the attack. By using such a strategy, Iran eliminates all risk to itself and any prospect of a nuclear confrontation with Israel.
NEIGHBORS AND SUPPORT FOR IRAN
The United States is aware that if Iran does get nuclear weapons, its friends and allies will separate and realign themselves. And, enemies will challenge and confront the United States and its policies more aggressively.
As Iran nears the point of being armed with nuclear weapons, it will prompt surrounding countries in the Middle East to follow in its path. This would escalate the potential for a nuclear crisis in the region and around the globe.
To prevent this chain of events, the Unites States and NATO can, and must, strengthen their relationships with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and other Persian Gulf nations. Strategies such as consultating, combined military exercises, providing missile defense systems and providing protection to world energy supplies would help to reassure countries that are most exposed to Iran’s tyranny. It would isolate and contain Iran. This would hopefully discourage other countries from going nuclear (Schulte, July/August 2010, p. 85) .
While the United States and its allies have good intelligence to combat Iran’s subversive activities, care must be taken not to make matters worse with threats that will not be fulfilled. Also, the United States should not underestimate Iran because of its small size. The U.S. must keep in mind that (a) Iran has hidden relationships with nations and non-state entities, and
(b) under threat, nations are going to make decisions in their own best interest, even if this means breaking their commitments to the United States and being a “traitor”.
Iran has already provided antiaircraft to Hezbollah and materials to make bombs to insurgents in Iraq for the purpose of attacking U.S. troops.
If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it will protect itself and its supporters in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian territories and Yemen.
Further, neither Israel nor the United States should plan to preempt a suspected attack from Iran. The danger of this strategy lies in the unlikelihood that the entire nation of Iran could be destroyed without major collateral damage to Israel and neighboring countries. Any result short of total destruction would leave Iran with the potential to destroy an entire city with even one remaining nuclear missile. Angry and wounded victims will retaliate while claiming “Victory” with their dying breath.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF THE 21ST CENTURYThe biggest mistake in the 21st century, on the part of the United States, NATO and its allies is lacking the foresight to predict, or detect, the nuclear aspirations of nations like Iran. International efforts can interrupt and postpone nuclear proliferation (Schulte, July/August 2010, p. 85). However, ambitious, determined leaders who strongly desire to possess nuclear weapons are likely to find ways to acquire them.
As the United States intelligence agencies learned in the case of Pakistan’s scientist and weapons dealer, A.Q. Khan, it is nearly impossible to detect secret nuclear activities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the agency responsible for verification of peaceful uses of nuclear technology, has not been very successful in uncovering malicious nuclear development projects. It failed to detect undercover projects in Libya, Syria and Iran. The agencies ineffectiveness is partly due to the fact that it depends on the cooperation of member nations and “open-source” information (Posen, July/August 2010, p. 160). It cannot demand access to sensitive information, nor access suspected sites. The agency must rely on the cooperation of the offenders and available intelligence (Schulte, July/August 2010, p. 85). These arrangements are a guarantee for failure.
In this writer’s opinion, Iran’s drive to attack Israel for religious reasons cannot be stopped. The strategy of devaluing nuclear weapons as a source of national pride, prestige and security is futile in today’s atmosphere of unrest, greed, food and water shortages, and shifting power. It is too late to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear ambition. And, it is too late to adopt a policy of deterrence and containment. All attempts on the part of the United States and its NATO allies will fail.
For the United States to threaten Iran with weapons of mass destruction would not serve to deter Iran from attacking Israel or the U.S. homeland. However, this writer is in agreement with Posen when he states, “Iran would not need to attack anyone; it would merely need to ensure that no one else threatened or pressured it as it stepped up its support for terrorism and its efforts to subvert neighboring governments. A nuclear Iran might …use the threat of a disastrous war to intimidate others into doing what it wants. Arab states would be ‘hostage to fears of rash actions by Iran that could cause nuclear catastrophes’”. (July/August 2010, p. 160) The situation is not encouraging when Posen reports that, “Iran’s regime is the farthest thing from a rational state that the United States has confronted since Nazi Germany.” (July/August 2010, p. 164) It will use its new weapon to “change the rules of the game.”
In conclusion, in this writer’s opinion, the worst nightmare for the Unites State would be for nations to feel that they must do anything to keep Iran satisfied to avoid risk of annihilation.
Posen, B. R. (July/August 2010). The Containment Conundrum: How Dangererous Is a Nuclear Iran? [Monograph]. Foreign Affairs, 89(4), 168.
Schulte, G. L. (July/August 2010). Stopping Proliferation Before It Starts: How to Prevent the Next Nuclear Wave. Foreign Affairs, 89(4), 95.