Hassan Haidar
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s activities could have had a greater impact, despite its highly dangerous nature, had not Israel anticipated its being issued with media and political uproar over its resolve to wage a military attack against Iran. Yet the only state in the Middle East armed with nuclear weapons so far has other motives, among them eluding recent reports that point to its continuing development of its nuclear arsenal and call for holding it to account, but also disrupting the Arab Spring and the international sympathy with which has been met the move by the Palestinians to obtain recognition of their state at the United Nations.

This Israeli uproar coincides with a report published by the independent British American Security Information Council (BASIC) ten days ago, which asserts that the Hebrew state is developing ballistic missiles able to carry nuclear warheads and is increasing the capabilities of its submarines to fire such missiles. This is why Israel’s threats seem tantamount to directly declaring itself to be part of the “international nuclear club” which refuses to let Iran join it, and asserting that its nuclear arsenal is a matter beyond question and not one to be held to account.

It is no coincidence for Israel, upset at the repercussions of the Arab Spring, to threaten to strike against Iran, at a time when matters in Syria have reached a critical stage with the resounding failure of the initiative by the League of Arab States to drive the regime to put a stop to the killings and arrests – which could drive the Arab League in two days to hoped-for stringency in its stance on Damascus, and pave the way for a new move by the international community, whether through the Security Council or through imposing harsher sanctions against the Syrian regime. Moreover, it comes at a time when Iran has reached a final decision at the domestic level regarding its unlimited support of the Syrian regime, with the weak reservations some of its leaders had voiced having faded away, as the Israeli campaign against Tehran seems to endorse the latter’s stance on what is happening to its only ally in the region, provide gratuitous applause for the two poles of “defiance” that “worry” Israel, and confirm the conspiracy theory being promoted by the regimes of Damascus and Tehran, which accuses Ankara of being implicated.

The “discovery” made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy of one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s many bad habits, lying, as well as US President Obama indirectly admitting to this and complaining that he “ha[s] to deal with [the Israeli Prime Minister] every day”, is a well known matter among Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular, who also have to deal with Netanyahu and his occupying army on a daily basis. Yet the Hebrew state, which is experiencing a harsh political defeat with the gradual international recognition of the state of Palestine, is begging with its “virtual” attack against Iran to play the role of the victim that has its security threatened yet again, and to warn Europe, after France voted in favor of Palestine’s membership in the UNESCO, that indulging the Palestinian effort will bring Israel out of its bounds and drive it to turn the tables in the region in a manner the world does not wish for, as it drowns in its financial and internal crises and thinks a thousand times before considering a military solution to the Iranian issue.

A popular saying states that “barking dogs seldom bite”. Rather, they maneuver. Indeed, Israel knows that any attack against Iran could drive the latter to carry out its threats of directing random attacks in the region, whether directly or through its many arms there, and that this could lead to, in addition to international political division, a tremendous rise in oil prices – which would make oil-importing countries, especially in Europe, suffer the burden of its economic repercussions, and would drive the United States, which is absolutely committed to protecting Israel’s security, to take stances opposed to its interests and the interests of its friends in the region. But it is most likely that Israel seeks to blackmail them all, by warning them of the consequences of the isolation it is experiencing.


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