Will Pfaff muses on the situation developing in Iran. There seems to be increasing media comment on a likely intervention by US forces in Iran – prompted in part by stories that Iraqi Shia militias are being armed with advanced weaponry by the Iranian government. Worries over their nuclear facilities are also making headlines, while Israel considers its position. Pfaff notes:
Israel reportedly contemplates a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. It would want America’s permission, so it needs to get it while it is sure Bush is president.
The recent decision in Israel to distribute antiradiation kits to people living in areas that might be contaminated by “an accident” at its own nuclear weapons facility is aimed at American opinion. The indirect message is that Israel is preparing for an Iranian attack on Israel’s nuclear weapons manufacturing installations; hence, pre-emption is necessary.
Israel’s basic position is forthright and simple to understand. Iran, like Iraq before it, is a major – and hostile – neighboring Islamic state. If the danger it potentially presents can be removed without disproportionate political or military costs, Israel – under Ariel Sharon – will probably do it.
The American case against Iran is entirely different. Its rests on the neoconservative notion that every society instinctively yearns to become an American-style democracy, and would do so if its despotic leaders were removed, by force if necessary. As the world’s leading democracy, the United States has an obligation to propagate democracy. Overturning despots is therefore a duty, and the result will be a better world. The argument, of course, is familiar: It is why the United States invaded Iraq.
Another piece by Martin van Creveld goes into more detail on the Israeli position.