The Iranians want to destroy Israel. Big news, right? Not really. But what is and has been big news for the past few weeks is the advancement of the Iranian nuclear program, the possible international sanctions placed on Iran and the reactions of the Iranian leadership.
While the major issue has been the Iranians threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, if more sanctions are placed, the world keeps one eye on Israel and wonders what they will do.
The Israelis have proven time and again that they will not hesitate to defend themselves if they see a threat. Their military has proved several times that nothing is out of their reach. Will the Israelis strike Iran’s nuclear program?
There is legitimate concern on this matter. Israel has done this before when they attacked and destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osiraq using a coordinated air attack in 1981, which brought strong condemnation from the international community. Also in September 2007, Israeli aircrafts carried out Operation Orchard, which destroyed a nuclear reactor site in Syria and brought no comment from anywhere in world. Even the Iranians offered no condemnation of the attack. Israel has gotten very good at destroying nuclear reactors.
While the world has made it clear to Iran that closing the Strait of Hormuz, where 85 percent of the world’s oil transported by sea passes through, would be considered an act of war, Western navies have increased the number of ships patrolling the area. The Israelis are more concerned about the nation, whose leaders weekly call for its destruction, claim the Holocaust is a lie, sponsor the terrorist network Hezbollah, which have carried out several attacks on Israel, of getting a nuclear bomb.
There is no doubt that Israel will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon and will resort to military action to defend itself. A strike on Iran would have major implications for the region and the world as a whole.
Unlike Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, Iran has the capability of striking back with medium range ballistic missiles, possibly tipped with chemical weapons. While the Iranian Air Force would offer nothing except target practice for any Israeli aircraft involved in an airstrike, their ground based air defense is now formidably well-prepared, having seen what the IAF is capable of in the past.
Iran has also shown that its vast terrorist networks and intelligence services have a long reach. Although the recent plot to murder the Saudi ambassador was uncovered, it does show that the Iranians are capable of retaliatory strikes.
Some speculate that this time the Israelis would not have to go at it alone and that Western nations may provide support for an operation that would end the headache of Iran’s nuclear program. I personally think this true and the Obama administration has shown it is willing to go after hard targets regardless of international fallout.
This is a very dangerous situation in a very unstable region. Iran is feeling the pressure of the world and is flexing its military strength and threatening to bring the world economy to its knees by choking off all trade through the straits.
Western navies and American aircraft carrier battle groups are ready to keep the vital trade routes open, all with a nuclear backdrop and Israel willing to do anything to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Is this the powder keg that ignites the first major war of the 21st century?