Why Is Israel Threatening Iran

16 January 2010 | 19:18 Code : 6733 Middle East.
By Mohammad Irani, Middle East affairs expert
Why Is Israel Threatening Iran

Behind all the intimidation run by the Jewish state against its regional competitor.

Since the start of the row over Iran’s nuclear program in the early years of the new millennium, Israel has kept flexing muscles towards Iran, threatening it with air raids on nuclear facilities. My personal reading says that Israel is possibly following these goals in all its bold intimidations:

First may be the age-old ‘enemy at the gates’ trick. The government foregrounds the alleged Iran threat, runs a series of accusations and warnings against this country and manages to derive the support of its citizens. Threats against Iran may also have a corollary target: Arab states of the region. All the air force maneuvers and military muscle-flexing could in fact be a play performed by Israelis to intimidate neighboring Arab states and extract more concessions in the peace process.

However, we should not discard the possibility that Israel’s efforts could be real. That is, the country may have come to the analysis that Iran is turning into a new regional nuclear power. This would create a new equilibrium that Israel fears of most, and as long as it has the upper hand, tries to preclude the unfortunate situation by preventing Iran to achieve nuclear know-how. European and American observers may view the threats from a different angle. For some of them, Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, particularly with regard to Iran, is flustering the Jewish state. Belligerence and resort to brutish rhetoric are Israel’s oft-used weapons just as they sense that an Iran-West thaw is on the way. Butterflies are dancing around in Israelis stomachs as Iran and Five plus One come closer to a compromise.

Now let’s change our perspective. Clearly any military step by Israel needs preparations which are as technical as political. The course of events during the recent years shows that Israel needs to double-check the situation before launching a military attack on Iran. Israelis should ask themselves that are all the conditions met? Can Israel disregard Americans’ considerations and concerns while they are having hard times fighting terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen? The answer is no. The circumstances are no better for Israel than they were during, say, four years ago. So it’s better for them to forget all about military options.

But despite all the unfavorable circumstances, Iranians, on the other hand, should be on high alert given the predisposition of Israelis to mount surprising attacks.

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