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Why is ISR not acting now? Variables, Turkey, Syria and Iran

Reader comment on item: Panetta Predicts an Israeli Strike on Iran
in response to reader comment: Addendum with Clarification Leading to a Second Addendum

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Feb 29, 2012 at 13:55

I have not quite understood, what you meant, Mr. Tovey, when you mentioned targets of opportunity. Please clarify.

As far as Syria is concerned, from a purely opportunistic viewpoint of the Iranians, this conflict could not have happened at a better moment. For as long as the world's eyes are focused on this ugly repression, the Iranians again win precious time. On top of that, Syria now provides an even better testing ground for the proliferation of weapons to an unstable region with direct impact on ISR's sense of security. Syria even more than Egypt may well fall to Islamistic forces in the end, but this time much more radical and fanatical in nature. While Iran overtly at present supports the Alawites under Assad, they may well play both sides against the middle in order to keep the influence no matter what happens.

Turkey on the other hand, as outlined before by Mr. Pipes, seems to find itself in a dilemma as well. Having manifested clear signs of a re-emerging Islamism and strong rhetoric vs. ISR on one hand, Turkey understands itself nowadays as the regional hegemonial power, which will not feel comfortable with a prolonged conflict at its borders which may well swap over into Turkey proper, which is why they will see any increased influence and engagement by Iran in Syria with a lot of suspicion and unease.

Hence, I assume that Turkey would for purely pragmatic reasons remain factually "neutral" at this point, which does however not mean that they will remain silent, if ISR launches a pre-emptive strike. Having said that, I strongly feel that, should in fact an Arab uprising against ISR on a broad scale occur, fueled by the "aggression", Turkey may well join in very quickly, due to popular opinion.

In conclusion, while the road (mechanism) towards the strike seems quite stringent and logical, following a causal chain of events, the variables appear later in the potential process of escalation to regional if not outright global conflict. As seen throughout history, an "outside" enemy sometimes has the capacity to unify even warring factions. The very last thing the ISRs would like to face is a unified front between Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, not to mention the (militarily) weaker nations in between.

In my mind this very hard to calculate risk of massive escalation beyond a two nation conflict between Iran and ISR is the main reason, why ISR is going to wait until the very last possible moment, gather irrefutable evidence and likely issue the mentioned last minute ultimatum.

The first stage of the mentioned crisis mechanism is comparably easy to predict. The second stage offers a ton of variables from the reaction in Iran to the Saudis to the Turks and Egypt, let alone the reaction of Russia, China and the West itself.

One fact remains - only the Iranians have the means and the power to avoid this strike, which may escalate to a local war, which may in turn escalate to a regional war, the latter into outright WWIII. Only the uncertainties of stage II and stage III are preventing the ISRs from pushing the button at this time and I can only hope for all of us, that some intelligent people in Iran (in the true latin sense of the word - the capability to see and understand) grasp this terrible causal chain and stop it soon from being triggered.

Nothing Israel can do here, not the USA, not the UN, not anyone but Iran and Iran alone. We can only hope that their sense of self-preservation and obligation to protect their own people is not overridden by religious dogma and ill-guided feelings of martyrdom and sacrifice. Are they willing to be crippled for generations to come in order to wipe ISR off the map or will the pragmatic faction prevail?

Do they understand that the sheer continuation of their unchecked and uncontrolled nuclear development pushes ISR into the impossible situation of the cornered lion? I have to assume that they do. It is too obvious and logical with a lot of historical evidence - it happened before elsewhere. Thus, why do they push forward nevertheless? What do they have possibly to gain? Why are they cornering the lion, knowing full well, that the consequences are predictable?

I so very much wished to gain insight into the thinking of the Iranian Regime. Just to hear from a reader out of Iran to this, would be great. I invite any Iranian (Mullah, Ayatollah, Government rep etc.) to explain to us, why they are willing to incur such a great risk and hope one of them will have the courage to respond here. Quite actually, I'd like to hear from anyone willing to explain to us, why this regime is doing what it does, seemingly so illogical irrational considering the outlined crisis mechanism.

Submitting....

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