John R. Houk
© January 31, 2011
Dina Esfandiary and Harry White are geopolitical experts that focus on security issues such as nuclear proliferation. Esfandiary and White have tagged an article that has appeared in the Australian about their belief that a nuclear armed Iran is inevitable. Their conclusion is based on covert and overt activities have only served to slow down Iran’s nuclear aspirations rather than prevent them.
Their solution to a nuclear armed Iran then is not prevention, it is in deterrence. It seems the word “deterrence” is code for the old Cold War strategy between the old USSR and America of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). In no place in the article is there is specific to MAD strategy; however check this sentence out:
“The most obvious answer is deterrence, and probably nuclear deterrence. It will have to be clear to Iran that the consequences of using of nuclear weapons will far outweigh the benefits. Security provided by deterrence is more frightening than security provided by accord, but …”
That sounds like MAD strategy to me, how about you?
The thing is the threat of MAD strategy with Iran will have to be tweaked if it has any chance of working. The Mullahs of Iran subscribe to a radical theopolitical ideology that proclaims the Twelfth Imam (i.e. the Mahdi) will return soon to begin a global conquest to bring Islam to the world. Politics and theology merge for Iranian Twelver Shi’ites that will bring little fear of reprisal from a nuclear armed kafir nation such as the USA or Israel. Indeed Twelvers believe that the hidden Twelfth Imam needs a little help to reveal his self to lead physical Muslim armies in global conquest. What is that help? Check it out: If a human factor causes global chaos, the Twelfth Imam will appear to set things straight.
The only way to tweak a MAD strategy with Iran is to actually utilize a surgical small nuclear attack to show America means business. There is no way Israel could get away with such a notion. The Western armed nuclear powers are too cowardly to sign off on such nuclear surgery. India is capable, but they have their own MAD strategy working between them and Pakistan. China would take a wait and see what happens and throw in with whoever provides the best for Chinese National Interests and Security. Russia will overtly support Iran but also will join in according to how it benefits them.
Let’s see. What kind of chaos is happening currently in the Middle East?
1. Recently a Hezbollah backed man became the Prime Minister of Lebanon after Hezbollah forced out Prime Minister Saad Hariri. New Prime Minister Najib Mikati has given public assurance he is not in the pocket of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. If you believe that I have some mythical swamp land in Florida I can sell you for cheap.
2. And why did Hezbollah topple the fragile Lebanese government of Prime Minister Hariri? It is because the U.N. has taken the shocking uncharacteristic action of naming what many believe to be Hezbollah members. There is speculation that Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran issued the order to assassinate Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and might be on the indictment. You can see the Iran to Syria to Hezbollah to Lebanon connection, right? Rafik was the father of Saad.
3. Who can count how many times Syria has issued alerts in preparation for war with Israel the last couple of years. Did I mention Israel bombed a Syrian stealth nuclear reactor not too long ago?
4. Hezbollah is Iran on the Mediterranean with some extreme back-up from rogue nation Syria.
5. Sunni Hamas is a military recipient of the psycho-Shias of Iran and a tool of the Muslim Brotherhood.
6. In mentioning the Muslim Brotherhood, that Salafist Islamic organization has taken advantage of Egyptian unrest to thrust itself into a potential power vacuum the mob is causing. Indeed, there are reports that both Hamas and Hezbollah have dispatched agents into Egypt to tweak the mob. Muslim grassroots unhappiness has spread across North Africa and is now entering the Sunni Middle East as well.
I am sure with a little more digging I could find some more Muslim African and Muslim Asia indicators of the kind of chaos that is having a global effect. You can’t tell me the Twelvers of Iran are not thinking of giving a Twelfth Imam nudge by pushing chaotic circumstances.
Tehran must know we'll strike back
By Dina Esfandiary and Harry White
January 31, 2011 12:00AM
TALKS with Iran failed last week in Istanbul in another sign that within a few years the international community is likely to be faced with a nuclear-armed Iran.
Now is the time to work out how we plan to deal with it. Iran has never officially declared an ambition to develop nuclear weapons, but there is a very real possibility it could go down that path. How should the rest of the world respond? Delaying tactics should not be discounted; after all, buying time is useful. And breaking off talks would be a rash decision. But if there ever was a window of opportunity in which the rest of the world could prevent a determined Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it has almost certainly closed.
Slowing Iran's progress towards a nuclear weapons capability is an important way of dealing with the problem. A few weeks ago, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said Iran's nuclear program had been set back and would not produce a bomb until 2015. This timeline is a testament to the success of the current mix of sanctions and sabotage -- including assassinations, and industrial and cyber-sabotage -- in slowing Iranian progress.
Limited air strikes, most likely by Israel, on the main Iranian nuclear installations will have the same effect, although there would also be some serious risks.
But lack of intelligence about the number and location of covert facilities would make targeting the program difficult, and strikes will lead Iran to double efforts to overcome the damage and resume development. None of the options can stop Iran developing nuclear weapons. All they can do is buy time.
In a perfect world, delaying tactics would give the international community some time to figure out how to convince Iran to forgo its nuclear program, but the problem with coming to a negotiated solution is that it is difficult to imagine what the rest of the world would offer that would entice Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program.
The real subject of these talks is not the domestic nuclear program, but the potential it has to be used as the basis for developing nuclear weapons. Iran clearly wants to retain the option. But who can blame them? The advantages to Iran of having a minimum nuclear deterrent may well outweigh the disadvantages.
If Iranians cannot be prevented from developing nuclear weapons, and if we are unlikely to change their minds about whether they want them, then, like it or not, the international community might just have to learn to live with a nuclear Iran.
Instead of trying to figure out how to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons, we now have to figure out how to stop them being used. The most obvious answer is deterrence, and probably nuclear deterrence. It will have to be clear to Iran that the consequences of using of nuclear weapons will far outweigh the benefits. Security provided by deterrence is more frightening than security provided by accord, but it may be the best option we have.
America Might has to use a Little Tweaked MAD on Iran
John R. Houk
© January 31, 2011
Tehran must know we'll strike back
Dina Esfandiary is research assistant and project co-ordinator in non-proliferation and disarmament at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Harry White is editor of Pnyx blog.
Copyright 2011 News Limited. All times AEDT (GMT +11).