Thursday, July 23, 2015

Am I a prophet, or what?

Earlier this month I called the Iran deal 'a recipe for war'.  It turns out I may have been prophetic.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is currently touring the region, trying to drum up support for the deal.  He's making little (if any) headway.  Earlier, Israel's Prime Minister had "not responded" to a proposal from President Obama to "upgrade the Israel Defense Forces’ offensive and defensive capabilities" in return for its support.  I have little doubt that Israel's military planners have already moved Iran's nuclear facilities to the top of their targeting list.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are also growing much closer in the light of the threat from Iran.  A few months ago Israel reportedly offered its Iron Dome air defense system to Saudi Arabia to deal with missile threats from Yemen (although the Saudis turned it down).  Now Saudi Arabia has echoed Israel's concerns in discussions with Ashton Carter, and made it clear that it will support - and join - military action against Iran if necessary.  That may well include joint operations with Israel, a prospect unthinkable even a short while ago.  I discussed this in 2013, and noted last year that the various and sundry threats in the Middle East were driving an Arab-Israeli rapprochement.  Looks like that may happen a lot faster now.

As StrategyPage points out:

Saudi Arabia came out an publically agreed with Israel about what was wrong with the Iran treaty. The Israelis, Saudis and other Gulf Arabs agree that Iran is more likely to behave like North Korea or Saddam ruled Iraq rather than comply with the treaty and pull back on getting nukes. Inside Iran the new treaty is seen as a great victory and on the streets (and on the Internet) the average Iranian sees this as their well-deserved opportunity to get their nukes. Senior American military leaders are also not happy with the new treaty, some of them going so far to point out that Iran backed Islamic terrorists killed over 500 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Israelis and Saudis can also point to citizens killed by Iranian terrorism. Gulf Arabs in particular are reminded regularly that Iranian propaganda still praises and encourages that sort of thing. Israel reminds everyone that Iran still holds national holidays where millions of Iranians are urged (sometimes coerced) to gather and chant their hatred for the United States and Israel and call for the destruction of these two enemy states. Many Gulf Arabs still call for the destruction of Israel, but their leaders now openly speak of Israel as a valued ally in the struggle against Iranian aggression.

There's more at the link.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

StrategyPage noted in January:

While Arabs cannot speak out in support of Israel (or even cooperation with Israel against common enemies), such cooperation continues and since the 1980s has grown. Saudi Arabia has always been the major supporter of greater, and open, cooperation with Israel. It’s an open secret that this relationship exists, has existed for decades and continues to be useful for both Arabs and Israelis. This is especially true when it comes to common enemies like Islamic terrorists (especially ISIL) and Iran. Israel wants the Arab states to go public about these relationships but because of decades of anti-Israel propaganda most Arabs would violently protest against any Arab government that admitted the truth of the Arab-Israel relationship. Yet there is progress, however slow, towards openness about the Arab-Israeli cooperation.

Again, more at the link.

If the threat from Iran is great enough to overcome decades of Arab-Israeli enmity (at least at government level), then it's probably great enough to allow Israel to use air bases in Saudi Arabia and/or the Gulf States to hit Iran with air strikes.  It may even be enough to allow an Israeli submarine or two, probably equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, to be stationed in the Persian Gulf and be supported from a local port (very discreetly, of course).  This was mooted as far back as 2010, and may already have happened.  From there, the submarine's 900-mile-range Popeye Turbo missiles can hit any target in Iran.

If I were the Iranian leadership, I'd be getting more than a little worried about all this.



m4 said...

So what you're saying is that Iran shouldn't get a/this deal because some other nations might attack Iran because they believe Iran won't respect the deal? I don't like this logic.

Also what you appear to be doing is claiming that your echoing of middle eastern sentiment foresaw middle eastern sentiment not changing.

0007 said...

No what he is saying is that the Arabs in the ME don't trust the Persians I Iran. Which is probably a good thing from their standpoint. They sure as hell don't trust the white house occupant and his handlers - with good reason.

Anonymous said...

What will happen if the Sunni Arabs decide that the Monsters in ISIS are the solution to their Shia problem?

sth_txs said...

Why are we over there? Another lesson in how one intervention just makes things worse down the line. Iran, Iraq, Central America, it never ends.

And Israel! The hell with them already. They are not our friends and they should take care of themselves.

Bob said...

Wanna be a prophet?

OK, you're a prophet.

All kidding aside, you've been hitting the mark - dead center - on several issues.

Jeanne Dixon (remember her?) would make up to 7,000 predictions a year, so naturally, a few would hit, and then she would play it to the hilt.

You have a far better track record than she ever did.

August said...

These people are always taking war, and of course, war is happening all over the region, but what you are talking about here could actually be the first fruits of peace. If the Saudi's feel so pinched they are now openly turning to Israel, then hopefully this co-operation extends beyond saber rattling against Iran and towards containing ISIS.
The geography of Iran suggests invasion is a very bad idea. Maybe they attempt strikes on supposed nuclear targets. That would be stupid, but maybe they do it. What would Iran do? Do they want Iran to gain territory? And if Iran did, what territory would it most likely gain? Likely land that is currently under ISIS control.

The treaty is stupid because two bad goals- non-proliferation and global governance- were substituted for real goals. I probably would have just ended sanctions unilaterally on moral grounds- they don't harm the government, only the people- and America would likely have gained more good will from that than playing like a good little U.N. member.

Saudi Arabia has the most risk from ISIS. Sorties can easily be made over their borders, and ISIS may well have more catchet with the Sunni lower classes than the House of Saud does. All of the states that still exist need a way to harden in order to fend off the caliphate. This is a good excuse- the lower classes hate the Shia too, so maybe the aristocracy can get away with partnering with Israel under this pretext.

Our real recipe for war is that we go over there and foment war. If we leave them alone, and stop funding them, they'd settle down.

Uncle Lar said...

I predict the next nuclear strike in somewhere between two and six years time.
Where is up for grabs, but I'm thinking a 50/50 split between Tel Aviv and NYC. Or possibly some other US port with a shipping container delivery system.
People who think that car bombs and vest wearing suicide bombers are just business as usual are salivating at the thought of getting their hands on a nuke. Once that happens it is simply a matter of time.

Will said...

The real threat that the M.E. faces is the result of an Iranian nuke in a US city. Our response won't be instant. It will take time to remove the idiots in DC, due to them ignoring peoples demands to retaliate.

However, I expect the results to be a fairly comprehensive urban renewal project that will encompass a fair portion of that part of the world. It will not be limited to Iran. For some reason, I'm reminded of the saying: "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"