ہفتہ، 7 اپریل، 2012
The charade in and around Iran
United States has always used Iran as a threatening tool for Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It has used Iran to make them wary of Iranian threat to establish its bases on their soils. A rogue Iranian posture helps US just fine in reaching this objective. Iran has been the neighbor of Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries where US spent much of the 21st Century.
Iran has always played the role of odd one in the international arena. Its stand out stance from the rest of the world has distinguished it from others and as a result pretty much isolated, apparently. There has been so much conjecture about an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, whether from Israel or US. Iran has always been cooperative with IAEA over the years but somehow they have been portrayed as rogue one and uncooperative. Just a week ago, Iran agreed to allow UN inspectors to inspect their notorious nuclear facility against the odds.
However, the dust of an attack has settled very much. The recent meeting between Netanyahu and Obama was followed by a barrage of meetings between officials of the two states. The final showdown between Israeli PM and US President proved to be the real dust settler as Obama communicated his intention of not allowing any attack on Iranian soil to Israel. US, particularly Obama administration, has been of the view that Iran should be dealt through diplomatic channels and sanctions should be the harshest punishment. That raises a question. Israel always knew about the US intentions but then why Israel and European nations were pressing for surgical strikes on Iran? Were they serious in carrying out an attack? Was war always on the cards?
The interaction between states, including war, has become a very complex web where the interests of the states are dependent on each other. To judge the current episode, one must study the interests of major players in this charade. United States, being the overseer of everything happening on the globe, is the one that has the most stakes involved. International media has always portrayed Iran and United States on loggerheads. But a careful scrutiny of the relation between the two suggests otherwise. Iran has always played the role of pain for others but it has never threatened United States’ interest in the region, whether it is Strait of Hormuz, Afghanistan or Iraq. Moreover, Iran has always helped in preserving interests of US in the region.
United States has always used Iran as a threatening tool for Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It has used Iran to make them wary of Iranian threat to establish its bases on their soils. A rogue Iranian posture helps US just fine in reaching this objective. Iran has been the neighbor of Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries where US spent much of the 21st Century. Iran has paved the way for US in making the environment conducive in both the countries, especially in regime establishment. Both Afghanistan and Iraq have a government that is Shiite and Iran has been the biggest proponent of Shiite Islam. Iran always had good relations with Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and it has helped US in conjuring up and providing stability to the government. Same goes for the Maliki government in Iraq. Bottom line is that Iran is indispensable for United States right now and its importance has increased more than ever considering the withdrawal of US forces from both war-torn countries. Another question mark is the role of US in Syria. Syria has been known for its allegiance to Iran and the recent reluctance of US to take a military action against Assad’s regime speaks volume.
The question of Israel’s skepticism over Iran is very dubious one. That is for sure that Israel does not take Iran the same as US takes it. Nonetheless, Israel has somewhat exaggerated the threat of Iran to Israel. Even it has gone to the extent of calling Iran as an ‘existential’ threat to Israel. However, this claim of theirs has been negated by their ex-Mossad Chief in the start of February, 2012. Even a couple of days ago, he was on record saying that anyone thinking about an attack from Israel on Iran is nuts.
One thing we may be forgetting is the Israel – Hezbollah war and influence of Iran on Hezbollah. Hezbollah, virtually, tore the image of invincibility of Israel apart and that is something Israel has never been able to digest. Hezbollah kicked Israel in the teeth. The inability of Israel to take Lebanon down draws many questions. If Israel was unable to brush aside a small militia then how would they be able to tackle Iran, which is supported by a full-fledged army and state machinery including the tools of propaganda.
If all these things are a factor of not going to war, then why there has been so much fuss about an attack on Iran? To answer this question, we have to consider few basic things. United States is going to have elections this year. Contesting for the second-term is the time when a regime is the most weak. Israel and EU understand that fragility of Obama and they are trying to cash in on it. Obama cannot afford to lose Jewish votes and that is why he is walking on a tight rope. European countries are themselves fighting their own war of survival of EU. Though the European Countries don’t say it but their economic problems have been triggered by the acts of US.
To sum up and put everything in a nutshell, it can be concluded that an attack on Iran is a very distant possibility as the costs attached with the attack are much higher than stopping it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, a weapon Iran is not trying to acquire. Things have started to settle and Obama administration has almost handled Israel but it remains to be seen how the next administration will cope with the desire of Israel to take Iran down.
By M Saqib Tanveer:
The writer is a student of International Relations.
Thank You For Reading.