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Sunday, 19 February 2012


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It is looking serious, isn't it? Several points here.

First, who are we relying upon for the information about Iran's capabilities and ambitions? I am with you on this, and fully believe they are going for tactical nukes. But are we really so sure? The "WMD" issue with Iraq weighs heavily. We were lied to and misled by a wide range of people on both sides of the Atlantic.

Second, an American friend told me over dinner yesterday that he is convinced it will happen, and that America will lead. His reasoning is that even Obama will not risk looking weak in the run up to elections, and so the Israelis have him by the proverbials. The "April or May" scenario might be replaced by an autumn "sweet spot", when the election enters critical mode.

Third, I have over the course of the last few years known many Iranians, and none of them ever expressed any hostility towards the West in general, or to Israel. Concern over war in general, but no expansionist or aggressive tendencies. They all seem to believe that their nuclear science is peaceful. This is not the case with their Arab co-religionists (Pakistani, Gulf States, Syrians, etc) that I have known. Many of the younger ones were frothing with anti-western feeling, and were prepared to openly justify killing Yanks and Jews. So what is going on here? Are the Iranians shit-scared of their leadership? Have the liberal nice ones left while there is still time? Are the leadership unrepresentative? I have no idea, but it gives cause for thought...

Fourth, there is the wider economic dimension in Iran. I suspect that if we hit the nuclear programme, and do sufficient collateral damage, the whole regime will collapse and people will starve. I doubt if they have the ability to mount an effective blockade once we have given them a reason to mount it, so to speak.

Finally, our leadership. It needs Churchillian resolve, doesn't it? And instead, we have got...

Good points, 'W'.

1: In an uncertain world not made any more certain by MI6 (or at least, Head Office rather than the guys in the field) I think I would rely on Israeli intelligence. They have, to say the least, a vested interest!

2: Tricky one with respect to Obama. I simply don't know how gung-ho the American public is in support of Israel these days. A 'judicious', 'middle-man' approach might well go down well. Also, of course, he has a large and very anti-Israeli section in his own party which he would not be eager to upset.

3: Well, it's that 'generation gap' thing again, even in Iran! I stick to my point that there is a vociferous but powerful section of the Iranian population (most of them in the country and of a type you would be unlikely to meet in the west) which would rejoice at the destruction of Israel, and would take revenge on a weak leader.

4: I doubt your apocalyptic scenario. Iran is an agrarian society capable of supplying basics and if a half reasonable government came into power world aid would flow quickly.

Finally, "our leadership". I'm not sure we want or need leadership in this matter. We have no power to intervene. All we can do is offer 'diplomatic support' (or, hot air, as it is usually known) to the Americans and the Israelis. In fact, you touch upon a point - our powerlessness - about which I have been meaning to post for some time. Perhaps next week - you have been warned!


One good reason to own a nuke - no-one dare make you desperate (or steal your oil).

Perhaps all this talk has something to do with campaign funding in the USA. A risky strategy, banging war drums may bring in the cash but a fair number of Americans are fed up chucking money and lives down the drain and might just vote against politicians too supportive of an Israeli attack. Take the cash and lose the election?

If the Iranians have any sense they will avoid being goaded into precipitate action in the election run up and remember that revenge is a dish best taken cold - and of course keeping your nuke plant is the best revenge. I do wonder if this is the last opportunity Israel will get to secure ongoing American support as political and financial influence shifts to China and Asia.

Finally, any fool can attack Iran but what then? Remember that a nuclear-free world is a fairy story, get used to it.

Thanks, Roger, and welcome to D&N.

You are right to stress the point that it is no longer a nuclear free world. No-one should deny that it is possible - just - that even if half the world is so armed they might all forebear to use them. I think what alarms me with Iran is its proximity (in ICBM terms) to Europe (or ME, as I prefer to think of it!) If the Israelis can do the job and give us a dozen years of a breather then good luck to them.

As for the Americans, like you, I sense they are in a state of flux at the moment and that old realities are fading. "Interesting times" - and you know what they say about them!

Oh David. Where's your Christmas spirit?

It was just some fourteen months ago...

I drank it all!

Why not add some radar absorbent materials or jammers on the tankers? That should make it tougher for Iran to spot them.

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