Published on August 16th, 2010 | by Eli Clifton1
Evaluating the costs and benefits of bombing Iran’s Nuclear Facilities
Dan Murphy has written two excellent pieces in the Christian Science Monitor which concisely sum up the Israeli rationale for considering an attack on alleged Iranian nuclear facilities and the devastating consequences that such an attack would bring.
Interestingly, the list of reasons the Israel might launch such an attack appear nearly identical to the rationales presented by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in his recent cover story on the possibility of an Israeli or U.S. strike, but the consequences, as clearly discussed by Murphy, were largely glossed over or simply ignored in Goldberg’s article.
In the first article, Murphy outlines the reasons that Israel might want to strike alleged Iranian nuclear sites as:
1.) A nuclear weapons possessing Iran would tilt the regional strategic balance and a nuclear arms race between countries which are hostile to Israel’s existence.
2.)Fear that a nuclear Iran would behave irrationally and launch a preemptive attack or arm a terrorist group.
3.) A “never again” credo in the Israeli security establishment which takes Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust-denying statements as a threat to Israel’s survival.
All of the reasons given by Murphy, whether shared by the reader or not, are believable explanations of why Israeli leadership is concerned about the possibility of a nuclear weapons possessing Iran. Indeed, it is hard to find many voices in the Middle East or anywhere in the world that are in favor of Tehran acquiring nuclear weapons. But, as Murphy emphasizes in his article, “3 Reasons Israel Won’t Bomb Iran,” the costs of Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities are overwhelmingly high.
Murphy summarizes three reasons that Israel won’t bomb Iran as:
1.) U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would be at put at risk as regional anger with the U.S. and Israel would grow tremendously and Israel might find itself the target of attacks by Iran’s allies.
2.) An attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only delay the arrival of “breakout capacity” and mobilize Iranian public support behind acquiring a nuclear weapon.
3.) The actual execution of a strike on Iranian nuclear sites would severely test the capabilities of the Israeli air force and might impose unacceptable risks on the Israeli air force.
Murphy’s articles are valuable in that they openly discuss the ideological and political motivations for an Israeli attack on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons facilities without disregarding the realpolitik of a successful, or unsuccessful, strike.
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