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A Time for War. Envisioning a nuclear Deal with Iran. Part 2

October 17, 2013

In the first part of this article I described the motivations of the main actors for a nuclear deal and how such a deal might look like.
In this second and final part I will explore the ramifications of such a deal for the players in the region and beyond.

The first most unlikely deal would mean a substantial reduction of American military presence in the region.
The second more likely deal would mean a de facto nuclear Iran which would be non-nuclear in name only.
But as you will see in the course of this article the second deal would also lead to a substantial loss of US influence in the region.

For the readers not familiar with my writings I want to make clear that ‘Obavez’ refers to the US president who reminds me in his style of goverment of Hugo Chavez.

The countries most immediately affected would be Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
With the desastrous handling of Syria by the Obavez administration in mind and the ongoing attempts of Washington to sabotage the stabilization of Egypt these states have lost any trust in the US.
Knowing that they cannot rely on the US to protect them a quasi nuclear Iran would be a deadly threat to them.
Iran has tried to extend its influence in Gulf countries with a sizeable Shia population like Bahrain thereby destabilizing them and fanning unrest and tension.
With the need to protect themselves against further Iranian expansion or aggression as well as a nuclear attack they would try to aquire nukes themselves.
They would try to buy nukes from Pakistan but it is also conceivable that they would try to buy them from North Korea which seems unrealistic at first glance because of the Iranian partnership with the North Koreans.
But as the Saudis who are sitting on a huge amount of money are willing to pay any price to get nukes and the North Koreans are starving it is entirely plausible that they would sell them nukes if the price is high enough.
The possession of nukes alone would be not enough to defend them against the Iranian military and Irans regional ambitions.
We have also to keep in mind the Sunni/Shia conflict that has benn going on for more than a millenium, often erupting in bloody wars between the two denominations of islam.
And so it would be very likely that they would seek a strategic and even more importantly a defense alliance with another great power.
There are only two powers which come into question for such an alliance: Russia and China.
Contrary to their public declarations and their seeming reluctance to back sanctions against Iran the Russians are very happy with the current situation and would like to see it going on indefinitely if that were possible.
As a rival of the US and as an exporter of energy and weapons they profit in many ways from the current situation.
The tensions in the region help to keep oil prices high while the sanctions against Iran keep the oil supply artificially low thus allowing them to sell more of their oil at a higher price.
The tensions mean also that Iran and possibly other states are buying more Russian weapons systems.
Moreover these tensions mean that the US has to commit military and thus financial resources to ensure the stability in the region.
As a constant threat to US dominance the Iranians are very useful for their goal to reduce global US dominance and make such dominance for the US more costly which automatically increases their own weight as an adversary of the US.
An Iranian deal would mean the end of some of these economic advantages and it would also mean that Iran, while still serving as a means to threaten and reduce US influence and control in the region, would become more independent from Russia. Iran is not a proxy of Russia and it has its own regional ambitions.
This is not what Russia wants. While Russia wants to decrease US influence and control in the region it wants to increase their own influence and control thereby increasing their power and control over the world economy.
And so it is very probable that Russia would seek such an alliance with the gulf states. This would give them the advantage of controlling the region as well as starting an arms race in which they sell arms to both sides thus keeping both parties dependent on them and making a lot of dollars in the process.
While such an alliance would be possible it is unlikely because China would be a much more natural partner for such an alliance.
The Chinese have the advantage that they are no allies of Iran and that their interests are more aligned with the interests of the gulf states.
In 2011 60% of the Chinese oil imports came from the gulf region. As a rising economic and military power with constantly increasing energy demand they would want to keep this energy supply safe and they would also want to increase their presence, influence and control in the region.
A similar although not exactly the same case makes Zachary Keck in his article ‘China and Iran: Destined to Clash?’ published in ‘The Diplomat’.
This undoubtedly would boost the Chinese on their way to becoming the worlds next superpower and would give them huge economic power and might also endanger the status of the dollar as the worlds reserve currency.
This in turn would drive the Iranians back into the arms of the Russians. We could see a Chinese/Russian rivalry in the region. Whether this would erupt in war or not I don’t know but it would keep the tensions and thus the price of oil high.

The country that would be existentially threatened by such an outcome would be Israel but I will deal with that later for reasons which I hope will become obvious.
So, the next country affected would be Turkey.
In what only can be called suicidal stupidity the Russians have already signed an agreement to build the first Turkish nuclear reactor.
Granted, that is a far cry from building nukes but nevertheless it is a first steps and it seems that the Russians are happy with their historic adversaries getting nuclear weapons.
One shouldn’t forget that Russia and Turkey were always adversaries who fought several wars in their history.
Turkey would be the next country which would aspire to get nukes even if it is not threatened. With a mighty quasi nuclear Iran directly on its borders this would hardly leave them any other choice.
Not that Turkey wouldn’t want to get nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary. They would love to have nuclear weapons but up to now there is no justification that would cause the world to tolerate this.
But given these circumstances who could condemn Turkey for trying to get nukes or achieve a nuclear status that is equal to that of Iran?
Why would Turkey love to have nukes, you might ask.
The answer is very simple. With Turkey’s economic rise and the decline of Turkish secularism under Erdogan Turkey seeks a new identity which it finds in its past.
Turkey has always been a very nationalistic country. After Attaturk abolished the Khalifat islamic fanaticism was replaced by fanatic nationalism.
And so it is no wonder that Turkey wants to revive its glorious past of the Ottoman Empire.
It is no secret that Turkey has such aspirations and many countries which were once (against their will) part of the Ottoman empire were disturbed when Turkish foreign minister Davutoglu invoked Ottomanism as a new order for the Middle East.
It is stupidity of the highest order for the Europeans not to recognize the danger that lay in such aspirations if Turkey could get nukes as a consequence of Iran getting nukes.
It would not be only that Turkey wants to assert again its influence and control over the parts of the Balkans that once were part of the Ottoman Empire.
It would increase the prospect for war in Europe dramatically because of two conflicts that although not on the radar screen of the world are brewing for many years.
The conflict between Turkey and Greece has a long history and it was not that long ago that these two countries came to the brink of war.
In 1996 Greece and Turkey almost went to war over the tiny little uninhabited Imia island in the Aegean Sea. And while the world didn’t understand why this happened anyone who wants to understand can understand.
Turkey has been pursuing a longstanding aggressive policy of constantly challenging Greek sovereignity over the Aegean for many years by frequently violating Greek airspace and by constantly laying claims to territory that clearly belongs to Greece by international law or by existing treaties. In some cases Greek and turkish pilots of both air forces have been killed as a result of dogfights or of unexplained accidents.
This conflict has the potential to explode any moment.
The value of the tiny island of Imia was not the island itself but the right to the territorial waters surrounding it.
This conflict is part of a larger conflict invloving territorial waters, continental shelfs and ultimately the resources that are believed to be there.
It was just in recent years that the Israelis got a taste of such ‘friendly’ behaviour when the Turks send war ships near the newly found huge Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean.
The other conflict is the conflict over Cyprus of which half is illegially occupied since Turkey invaded it in 1974.
It is bad as it is now, but a Turkey with neo-Ottoman aspirations and armed with nukes would definitely be a much greater danger.
If these two conflicts were to erupt into wars this could very likely ignite the whole Balkans which is the most volatile and unstable region of Europe.
Even ‘just’ a war between Greece and Turkey would be a catastrophy which would make the war in the former Yugoslavia make look like a picnic.

The big losers of any one of the deals I envisioned would be Europe, America and the West in general.
It would leave the world’s most important resources to three regimes which are not champions of liberty and human rights. It would give the the power to blackmail or control the world economy to Iran, Russia and China.
Due to its dependency to Mid East oil the West would be at the mercy of these three evil empires.
Evil empire sounds very strong you might think. America was up to now the world’s hegemon and it was often called the ‘benevolent hegemon’.
America is indeed the benevolent hegemon. Yes America has profited very much from its power but it treated the world better than any other hegemon in history.
In principle I have nothing against China becoming the next superpower. But only in principle. If you want to know how China behaves as a hegemon just look at Tibet.
The brutality and genocidal methods they use in oppressing a sovereign country they once invaded speeks for itself. Do I need to mention the way the communist Chinese rulers treat their people?
As for Russia and Iran, I don’t need to mention why these regimes are evil, I hope. If you have doubts in this regard, I can not help you.
I hear often from our American friends that America is energy independent or that it will become energy independent and therefore it doesn’t need to care anymore what happens to the Middle East.
I would love to see an energy independent America rather today than tomorrow but this view is naive to the extreme.
As long as the rest of the world is dependent and Middle East Oil it does matter a great deal who controls this oil and thereby a great deal of the world economy.
The US is not an autark island but it depends heaviliy on the rest of the world.
Just think of the immense external debt (2 Trillion $ +) of the US or the fact that the US depends heavily on imports of manufactured goods from China etc.
What would happen if Iran would block the flow of saudi oil from the gulf?
Oil prices would go trough the roof world wide. Yes, even in the US the oil price would go up because of world wide demand.
Unless the US would reintroduce protectionistic measures the price of oil would go up in the US as well.
All the economies which have to import oil would suffer greatly and experience a decrease of economic growth or recession.
This would not be helpful for the US, to put it mildly for the very simple reason that 20% of US exports go to the EU and US banks hold a substantial part of EU debt.  Do I need to remind you of MF Global?
I don’t want to even think of a European collapse which would most likely take the US down with it.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It could also be the other way round. A US that is dependent on the influx of foreign money would be seriously in trouble when the countries from where this money comes get in seriuous economic trouble.
But it is not just the economic impact of such a scenario, it is the immense political power that is a result of controling these resources.
Russia is an energy independent country but they know the awesome power that comes with controlling the energy resources.
In Jabuary 1 2006, in the middle of the winter, Russia cut all gas supplies to the Ukraine.
This and other moves ensured that a Ukraine that wanted to be more independent from Russia came finally back to mother Russia.
Putin has shown, that he is an expert in using this power.
Why do you think the Russians, who are energy independent showed a keen interest in sharing in the exploitation of the newly found huge Israeli gas fields?
Till now I have primarily talked about the economic and political impact for the West.
But this should not let us forget the other dangers of an Iran that can breakout at any moment to produce nuclear weapons.
These dangers are wellknown, or at least they should be, but the world chooses to believe that the Iranians are rational and that even if they get nukes Iran could be contained.
Well, the world made wrong assessments about rational regimes before. The world made such an assessment 1933 when papers like the New York Times wrote articles and commentaries to that effect.
They even painted the Führer in a positive light. We all know how many innocent lives were wasted because of this. I certainly know because members of my familiy were among them and not only did some of them lose their life but many lost everything except their life.
Yes, maybe, maybe the Iranians are rational. But do we seriously want to try? Trial and error is fine when the cost of error is not so huge as in this case.
Do we want to gamble with the lives of millions? NO! NO! NO!

This brings us to the last country I want to talk about.
A deal where the US substantially reduces its military presence and influence in exchange for a non nuclear Iran and an acceptance of an Iranian hegemony in the region would be perhaps not an existential threat to Israel but as I said, such a deal is very unlikely, even for Obavez.
That leaves us with the second deal. The deal which would allow Iran to have the capacity to break out in a matter of weeks or even just one week, a de facto nuclear Iran.
As it is obvious such a deal is intolerable for Israel, not only because of a quasi nuclear Iran but because of nuclear states and an nuclear Turkey, all countries hostile to Israel.
In the long run Israel could not survive in such a scenario, even if they were not nuked because under their nuclear umbrella all this hostile countries could send their proxy forces more boldly then ever to destroy Israel, if not in one war then in many wars of attrition.
The reason why I mention Israel last is, because Israel is the only country able and willing to prevent a nuclear Iran and thus make many of the mentioned scenarios not to happen.
We are in the final moves of this chess game and there is a real danger that Israel waits too long.
Either the Iranians simply can play their rope-a-dope and finally get their nukes they so badly want or the pathetic, spineless and appeasing West makes a deal with them that would in effect lead to the same result with just a nice looking wrapping around it.
The biggest danger possible is not just that Israel would be isolated when attacking after a deal with Iran is reached.
I want to stress that the following consideration is highly theoretical and speculative and very improbable.
But nevertheless I want to say it.
The biggest danger is, that the world would condemn Israel as an aggressor, punish Israel with sanctions which would not be lifted unless Israel gives up its nukes.
This sounds crazy but we are living in crazy times and we have seen crazy things happening that none of us would have thought possible until Mr. Hope and Change arrived on the scene.
Therefore, Israel, don’t wait too long!

As the Bible tells us:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The time for war is now.

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One Response to “A Time for War. Envisioning a nuclear Deal with Iran. Part 2”

  1. Luis Says:

    A swift, decisive and short timed operation in Iran will resolve all the above problems; I’m sure you are already accommodated regarding my opinion about how such an attack should be conducted and what outcome should be expected. If that is the case, and Iran will cease to exist as a state entity, Israel has nothing to fear (about any sanctions) for taking action against a foe who threatened its own existence.


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