In an opinion piece last week in The New York Times, Dennis Ross, a former US senior diplomat, wrote:
Each country [Israel and the US] could set Iran back militarily, but neither could destroy Iran’s skill or technical and engineering capacity to develop nuclear weapons.
Within this rather obvious statement lay the seeds of what the confrontation with Iran is really all about as far as the US, Israel and their allies are concerned.
Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities will not solve anyone’s problems and the reason why it won’t is because the nuclear facilities aren’t actually the problem. The real problem, for Israel and, therefore, the US and their allies, is that Iran supports those that are resisting Israel’s expansionist ambitions into the West Bank, south Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. Iran supports the Palestinian cause and supports Hezbollah in Lebanon. It also supports the Syrian peoples desire to have the Golan Heights returned to Syria – and, regardless of who ends up winning the civil war currently being fought in Syria, the Iranian people will continue to support the Syrians in their quest to have the Golan Heights returned to them.
Iran has said for years that it’s not interested in nuclear weapons but only self-sufficiency in providing nuclear energy to its people. While Israel and the US could indeed set back Iran’s capacity to produce uranium of any sort, they can’t, as Ross says, take away the knowledge to produce uranium and the probability that Iran will continue in its quest regardless of what Israel really thinks that quest actually is.
No matter what way one looks at it, what Israel really wants in Iran is regime change. If they truly believe that Iran is after a nuclear weapon to use on them then regime change is the only way to ensure that it never happens. To just destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities would only provide Israel with a temporary reprieve. On the other hand, if Israel are only using the ‘Iran has a nuclear weapons program’ meme as an excuse to attack both them and their other enemies, then again, regime change would be the only way to consolidate any victory they obtain over Ian, Hezbollah and Hamas – with the added bonus of occupying permanently south Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in order to ensure that their enemies are never able to regroup.
At the moment Israel and the US are playing ‘good cop, bad cop’ with Iran. Israel, the ‘bad cop’, wants to go in boots and all right now while the ‘good cop’, the US, are pretending to hold back the ‘bad cop’ saying the villain will cough in the end. Both, of course, know the ‘villain’ won’t ‘cough’ because both know there is no ‘nuclear weapons program’ to ‘cough’ about.
For now it’s just a waiting game. The US will continue to act as if it’s trying to hold back its impetuous partner and Israel will continue to shout ‘Let me at ‘em!’
Then, after the 2012 Presidential election…