Friday, December 12, 2008

The Growing Iranian-Israeli Tensions

Thousands of Iranians today chanted “Death to Israel” as they demonstrated in Tehran against Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Today’s demonstrations took place amid growing concern over the possibility of an imminent Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israeli observers have speculated that such an attack might be launched in the last weeks of the Bush presidency.

The renewed talks of war and the recent harsh verbal attacks on Israel by the Iranian president and today’s anti-Israeli demonstrations in Tehran have raised tensions between the two countries to a level not seen in a long time.


Jesse Aizenstat said...

Why in the last few weeks of the Bush term? Why not now? This way American forces could be drawn in (Iraq etc) and perhaps finish the job against Iranian facilities.

Strategically, for Israel, it seems better to do it now than waiting...

I still think the idea is crazy though.

Thank you,
Jesse Aizenstat

Kemjika said...

An Iran strike now or in a few weeks is going to be horrible for US- ISrael relations. US doesn't want ISrael to strike, so if they do, they've gone against US wishes. On the other hand, US will have to support Israel if they initiate an airstrike campaign, and who else otehr than the US is likely to refuel Israeli Jets on the way to Iran ? :)

Jesse Aizenstat said...


Yes, for sure. But I don't understand why the Isrealis would wait for only two weeks left in the Bush term. Why now now? They would have a greater window for American Jets to finish the job, not to mention their own.

Jesse Aizenstat

Kemjika said...

Good question Jesse.
I also wonder why Israel is waiting(or possibly waiting).One good reason could be the logistics required. Striking a country like Iran involves MANY complications, which probably increase considering Israel is a small country with limits too. If there is a strike Israel can't afford to miss, its this one. israel might also be waiting for some special intelligence to be received, such as Iran really being a step away from the bomb.
On the other hand, US "finishing" the job is very bad idea for US and Israel, but Israel might force US' hand if it initiates a strike. If the US gets involved in any major way in that strike, we can forget the progress already made in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran will push for a full blown war because it knows US doesn't have the will and probably resources to fight a full scale war against them right now. Iran has already multiplied its Shahab inventory, supplied more fast attack craft to the Navy and introduced new weapon systems, so as time goes by, this "strike" gets harder, and its chance of success reduces...

Mark Pyruz said...

Israel couldn’t strike Iran without a green light from Washington. There’s too much at stake for Israel, such as billions of dollars in aid. For their part, the Iranians have declared that any attack by Israel or the US will include retaliation upon both, as if they are a single entity.

Will there be an Israeli strike? The odds are against it and the Iranians are aware of this. So why all the obvious sabre rattling? To a certain extent, sabre rattling on both sides fulfills the needs of internal politics, particularly from Iran but also in Israel. External threats can be quite useful in diverting attention away from internal problems, especially during times of election.

The big question is how the new Obama administration will handle the Iranian situation. And then a little further down the line, the Iranian presidential election is another looming variable to be taken into consideration.

Kemjika said...

Personally, Obama is not going to handle this situation much differently from the current administration, and if he does, there could be devastating consequences. Firstly, Obama still needs China and Russia to push more serious sanctions on Iran, which i believe will still be contentious. On the other hand, Obama might want to apply multiple pressure levers on Iran, such as a naval blockade + economic sanctions, and this will be disastrous. I am confident Iran will not allow any blockade on its Persian gulf coast. Under Obama's administration, its either a bomb or war, thats how i see it. Iran is not stopping its program, and its getting to critical milestones. On the other hand, Obama doesn't want Iran with the bomb(or will he tolerate it?), and he's probably going to engage in a war, or accepts iran's bomb. I think Iran is going to get the bomb. They are so close, and have paid such a price, so why stop? At this stage, Iran won't even stop to save Khomeini's life!

Jesse Aizenstat said...

For a country with no nuclear deterrent, I am always impressed by Iran's "retaliatory options." Rockets in Lebanon, powerful political and milita control of Iraq, Northern Allyance and Shia Hazeras in Afghanistan and for good measure, Intifada in the territories. I agree with Mark that neither the U.S or Israel can afford it.

But I'm not too sure that Isreal is concerned about its aid being cut off as much as you say Mark. They know that all U.S reps have an AIPAC tattoo. I think they wont do it for the simple reason that they cant. I mean they could, but they'd need regime change. Otherwise, this new marriage between the Rev. Guards and the Ayatollahs will become stronger and they will have the best shot yet at 'exporting the revolution.'

The U.S nor Israel will do it because they cant get it all and will fox the problem of crude Iran governess for them by evoking Persian Nationalism.