Sunday, 18 December 2005

Iran and Nukes : Is it OK to Panic Now?

from Charles Krauthammer :
The wild pronouncements of the new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have gotten sporadic press ever since he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. He subsequently amended himself to say that Israel should simply be extirpated from the Middle East map and moved to some German or Austrian province. Perhaps near the site of an old extermination camp?

Except that there were no such camps, indeed no Holocaust at all, says Ahmadinejad. Nothing but "myth," a "legend" that was "fabricated . . . under the name 'Massacre of the Jews.' "
Of course "Holocaust Denial" is such a pervasive lunacy that we've become a bit blase abaout it. I mean, only raving nutters could deny obvious facts, right? No one who actually has any power. No one who matters.
To be sure, Holocaust denial and calls for Israel's destruction are commonplace in the Middle East. They can be seen every day on Hezbollah TV, in Syrian media, in Egyptian editorials appearing in semiofficial newspapers. But none of these aspiring mass murderers are on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons that could do in one afternoon what it took Hitler six years to do: destroy an entire Jewish civilization and extinguish 6 million souls.

Everyone knows where Iran's nuclear weapons will be aimed. Everyone knows they will be put on Shahab rockets, which have been modified so that they can reach Israel. And everyone knows that if the button is ever pushed, it will be the end of Israel.
And as mentioned in a previous post, protestations that the Shahab-3 is "purely for defensive purposes" ring just a bit hollow when they're paraded draped with banners reading Israel should be wiped off the map.
But it gets worse.
How could it get worse?
The president of a country about to go nuclear is a confirmed believer in the coming apocalypse.
That's how.
Like Judaism and Christianity, Shiite Islam has its own version of the messianic return -- the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. The more devout believers in Iran pray at the Jamkaran mosque, which houses a well from which, some believe, he will emerge.

When Ahmadinejad unexpectedly won the presidential elections, he immediately gave $17 million of government funds to the shrine. Last month Ahmadinejad said publicly that the main mission of the Islamic Revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam.

And as in some versions of fundamentalist Christianity, the second coming will be accompanied by the usual trials and tribulations, death and destruction. Iranian journalist Hossein Bastani reported Ahmadinejad saying in official meetings that the hidden imam will reappear in two years.

So a Holocaust-denying, virulently anti-Semitic, aspiring genocidist, on the verge of acquiring weapons of the apocalypse, believes that the end is not only near but nearer than the next American presidential election.
Well, we can't say we weren't warned. How bad has it got to be before we at least publicise and take note of the problem?
It gets worse.
How could it? The guy would have to think he was some sort of divinely inspired instrument of God, to hear voices, for that.
After his U.N. speech in September, Ahmadinejad was caught on videotape telling a cleric that during the speech an aura, a halo, appeared around his head right on the podium of the General Assembly. "I felt the atmosphere suddenly change. And for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink. . . . It seemed as if a hand was holding them there, and it opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic Republic."
OK, so he's certifiable. Yes, that's worse alright.

Bottom Line:
Negotiations to deny this certifiable lunatic genocidal weapons have been going nowhere. Everyone knows they will go nowhere. And no one will do anything about it.
So what can be done about it? What should be done about it?

We can, say, cross fingers and hope that "he really doesn't mean it". That didn't work so well with Osama Bin Laden or Adolf Hitler though. But it's worked so far with Kim Jong-Il. Apart from the kidnappings of foreign nationals, the attempts to kill the South Korean Cabinet, the drug-smuggling and so on, it's not as if the Dear Leader has actually nuked anyone. Yet.

We can hope that everything's been taken out of context, that there is no problem, it's all a media-manufactured fiction. The trouble with this is that there is just too much evidence against it. It's not the words of hostile propagandists that are of concern, its the words of the Iranian President himself, recorded on tape. And his Government's actions, of course. No, this one's not a goer.

We can wait and hope that saner heads will prevail, that the Iranian President doesn't really have the authority to authorise a Nuclear Strike. Given the support he has from the clerics and the judiciary (the same thing in Theocratic Iran), and the Revolutionary Guard (who have shown a historical penchant for ignoring inconvenient orders), then this is really a very chancy bet.

Or we can try waiting for the Iranian populace to rise En Masse and throw the bums out. But we may be facing a fairly tight deadline here, and the Revolutionary Guard aren't averse to picking up anyone vaguely suspected of being againt the regime and dealing with them summarily.

We can try International sanctions. No, stop laughing. OK, given the deadline, and the track record, this one doesn't pass the giggle test, scratch that one from contention. It's more likely that the Iranian President would suddenly become a Mormon.

We can try covert or semi-overt action. This may be happening right now, I certainly hope so, but the more successful it is, the less we'd know about it.

The remaining options are all military. From a "surgical strike" on the nuclear facilities (which unless 100% successful would make a 'probable' nuclear attack on Israel a certainty), to a full-scale Invasion, which would take years to prepare, and which lacks popular support, so is almost certainly not feasible.

The best that can reasonably be hoped for is that the IDF's anti-missile systems work better than expected, and that the Nuclear Warheads never detonate, and the Biologicals don't do too much harm to the Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians caught in the clouds. Hopefully then the world will act. But I wouldn't bet on it. The usual suspects would be talking about "ending a cycle of violence" or "it's not our concern, it would make us more of a target". Many would blame Bush, and say that any military action was as the result of his Fundamentalist Christian Apocalyptic vision of a post-nuclear Utopia.

You see, they're far too busy inventing concerns about President George Bush to notice the quite genuine problems with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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