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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ehud Barak and Israel's war with Iran

Apologies for the recent absence - interviews, presentations, flu etc. Now onto Iran and Israel: 

"If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I'd eventually join one of the terrorist organizations." Ehud Barak 

"[Ehud Barak's] knowledge of war has fed a passion for peace." Bill Clinton 

Ehud Barak is not a monster. During his period in office as Prime Minister of Israel he oversaw some of the most painful transitions in Israeli politics in the past six decades. He enacted certain steps twowards challenging the far-right extremists of Israeli politics and even had the guts to take on the violent extremists among the "settlers" occupying the Palestinian Authority lands; people that very few ordinary Israelis have any sympathy for.

Barak recently entered into a stream of public pronouncements against the Iranian regime which proposed the likelihood of a strike against its nuclear facilities to prohibit Iran from attaining nuclear capability.

As has been made clear by the Iranian military (easily the largest in the entire middle east), such a strike would be met with the most severe response imaginable. Israel has enough nuclear arms to attack every capital in the region yet demands no other nation near it have such capability. It has killed physicists and other scientists in Iran and Syria through illegal assassinations.

The simple military facts are these:
  • Israel cannot win a war against Iran, Syria, and North Korea (which recently threatened to act against Israel if Syria was attacked again - Cf. "Operation Orchard").
  • Iran has thousands of missiles capable of hitting Israel, Israel has 42 missiles capable of hitting Iran - missiles Iran is actually armed to knock out before they reach their territory, thanks to Russian anti-missile defence shields.
  • Iran has 70 million people and a colossal standing army.
  • Israel has 6 million people and barely enough soldiers to man its own borders.
Given that the US military has already warned the US president that a)It cannot stop Iran attaining nuclear arms, and b)A regional war would crash the US economy it would seem that Israel has two options:
  1. Ignore the right-wing and unilaterally declare a free Palestine
  2. Fight a war of attrition that will temporarily damage Iran but utterly eradicate the Israeli state. 
Barak speaks of few options today because he serves a Netanyahu cabinet composed of some of the most dangerous ideologues to appear in Israeli politics in a generation. Among these is the hideous character of Avigdor Lieberman, the Russian-born Deputy Prime Minister of Israel and Foreign Affairs Minister who told Arab-Israeli members of Parliament:

"World War II ended with the Nuremberg Trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]."

These are the people Barak must pander to in order to get anything done in Israel's cabinet of hawks.

Yet let's not completely absolve Ehud Barak of his role in this current debacle with the Iranians. As Minister of Defense he is exposed on a daily basis to operations undertaken by Mossad to deny Iran its sovereign right to pursue nuclear energy and to even pursue nuclear-armed capability; he is in a position to know full well that the Iranian regime is now attaining a greater approval rating among its own beleaguered population thanks to Israel's involvement in attacks inside Iran.

The US military has already spoken on the matter - there will be no ground war in Iran. It knows that any such tampering with the oil supply of China, Russia and India will see at least two of those nations supply the arms and technology Iran needs to respond in like measures.

For the time-being, the operations of the Israelis remain small-scale precision attacks within Iran against heads of arms industry technocrats. If Israel continues such operations then doubtless Iran will ramp up funding of Hezbollah and Hamas and we will see the return of horrific wars such as that in 2007 when Israel murdered over 1,400+ innocent men, women and children in Lebanon in response to less than ten Israeli deaths.

Israel currently preaches the virtue of restraint. If it does not follow its own sermons it will no doubt experience a return to the 1980s, and nobody wants to see that happen.