Monday, February 20, 2012


Ten Factors Making Iranian Situation Extremely Delicate

The Iranian crisis has ratcheted up a notch or two in recent days. I'm fascinated by the complexity of the political situation. Here is my attempt to identify the factors making this problem so intensely difficult.i) Iran is claiming to be acquiring a nuclear capacity for peaceful purposes but everything Ahmadinjehad has done to date has been designed to tweak the US tiger's tail or infuriate Israel.

ii) If Iran actually acquires nuclear weapons, this will introduce a hugely volatile element into the explosive politics of the Middle East. Israel already has nuclear weapons though refuses to admit it. Saudi Arabia would certainly seek to acquire them and then there might form a queue of other countries eager not to be the vulnerable one left out.

iii) USA would be in a very difficult position with its key ally Israel would be frothing at the mouth, particularly Netanyahu who fears Iran more than the Palestinians. Could USA keep him under control?

iv)Professor Michael Clark, my old friend who is now Director RUSI, was on the radio this morning and provided an excellent analysis of the situation. He made it clear Israel would not be able to neutralize Iran's programme right now as it is spread over several locations and Israel does not have the fire-power required to do the job. This is not to say it would not try.

v)Israel and Iran have begun a covert war of assassination in foreign countries, killing each other's diplomats.

vi) Iran is beginning to hurt as a result of economic sanctions beginning to bite.

vii) The Pentagon is fairly sure Israel will make a strike.

ix) there is some reason to strike quickly before the Iranians move their research programme to Qom where they have fsshioned a research location in the middle of a mountain and hence invulnerable to any attack apart from the huge US bunker busting bombs.

x) Another final reason to move quickly is that after the presidential elections in November nobody knows what might transpire.

What is likely to happen? Impossible to say but I think some military strike by Israel is more than a slight possibility. But Iran itself faces elections very soon and who is to know what kind of volatility this might inject into this already immensely comlex and combustible situation?

I hope there would not be any war. All bigger recesions were followed by a war. Hope we will avoid a war now.
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