The Threat of Attack on Iran Is Needed to Deter It

To ensure that Israel is not forced to bomb Iran, it must maintain the impression that it is about to bomb Iran.

Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit
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Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit

First fact: Neither the West nor Israel can accept a nuclear Iran. A nuclear Iran would make the Middle East nuclear, threaten Western sources of energy, paralyze Israel with fear, cause Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to go nuclear and the world order to collapse. A nuclear Iran would make our lives hell.

Second fact: Neither the West nor Israel has to act militarily at present against Iranian nuclearization. A military attack against Iran would incite a disastrous regional war, which would cost the lives of thousands of Israelis. A military attack against Iran would turn it into a great vengeful power that would sanctify eternal war against the Jewish State. A military attack against Iran would cause a world financial crisis and isolate Israel from the family of nations.

Third fact: Out of a profound understanding of these two basic facts, the West and Israel have developed a joint strategy that can best be described as the third way. The third way has two dimensions: (covert ) activities and economic sanctions. Surprising even to those who have formulated this strategy, the third way is achieving results. It is not eliminating the Iranian threat, but it is postponing and weakening it. Britain, France and Israel, working in close alliance, are spearheading the effort. The United States is also doing its part. Germany and Italy are trailing behind. But the bottom line is that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is under pressure. The still waters of the West and Israel run deep.

Fourth fact: A key element of the third way is the threat of a military attack against Iran. This threat is crucial for scaring the Iranians and for goading on the Americans and the Europeans. It is also crucial for spurring on the Chinese and the Russians. Israel must not behave like an insane country. Rather, it must create the fear that if it is pushed into a corner it will behave insanely. To ensure that Israel is not forced to bomb Iran, it must maintain the impression that it is about to bomb Iran.

Fifth fact: In order to conduct a sophisticated strategy vis-a-vis Iran, there must be total trust between the political and security leadership in Israel. That trust does not exist. Therefore, when the leaders of this country initiate certain moves, they create panic among their subordinates. Sometimes it seems to the subordinates that the leaders have gone crazy. What is meant to frighten the Iranians, Americans and Europeans frightens Israelis as well. Instead of the Israeli establishment conducting the policy of ambiguity in a disciplined manner, it becomes giddy. Everyone suspects everyone else, and the necessary cloud of ambiguity evaporates.

Sixth fact: Neither former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, nor former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, nor former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin led the drive to restrain Israeli foolhardiness over the past two years. It was led by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Bogie ) Ya'alon. Ya'alon is calm now. If Ya'alon is calm, Israeli citizens can be calm. There is no immediate danger at the moment that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will behave like Samson in Iran. The fact is that the prime minister - as of now - is behaving seriously and wisely toward the Iranians. If only he would behave the same way toward the Palestinians and the Israelis. Seventh fact: The success is partial, relative and temporary. True, Iran did not arrive in 2011 at the place where it had planned to be, but in 2011 Iran is in a place where it wasn't supposed to be. Therefore the dilemma is still with us. Therefore the discussion of the dilemma must be conducted clear minds and good judgment. Whichever way it goes, the final decision about Iranian nuclearization will be the most important decision of our generation. Eight fact: What is really disturbing about Iran is not what is hidden from the eye, but what is exposed. It is not clear why the West has so far failed to impose draconian sanctions on Iran that would lead to the fall of the regime. It is not clear why Israel is not preparing all its systems for a moment of truth that even if delayed, will certainly arrive. The real fault of the American, European and Israeli leadership is not related do what it is doing in secret. The real fault is related to what it is failing to do in the open political and diplomatic spaces.



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