The UN expects Israel to play Simon Says with its security and the lives of the millions of people who live there. Now that photographic evidence has been brought out that Syria WAS building a nuclear reactor, and that it WAS receiving help from North Korea the UN’s International Atomic Energy Committee is complaining that Israel should have come to them before they decided to turn the reactor into a wasteland.
And maybe they are right. After all Israel has deprived us of five years of “OK we REALLY mean it this time–dismantle the plant or we will invoke sanctions” and another five years of “we really, really mean it this time” during this time Syria will be working with its buddies in Iran and North Korea perfect an A-Bomb so Tel Aviv will have that glowing burnt-out look.
Israel was absolutely right in bombing the Syrian facility. In the last 40+ years the UN has not exactly been friendly to the Jewish State. And we all know how successful the”ramp-up ” to sanctions on Iran have been.
The bombing of the Syrian plant was the only way that Israel could protect herself from a Syrian Nuclear attack. At the same time it sent a message to the Iranians that Israel is not frightened by their madness and the next strike, may be on their soil.
BY HILLEL HALKIN
October 30, 2007
Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had had his feelings hurt. Israel, he stated earlier this week, did not consult him before its September 6 bombing of a Syrian nuclear installation. Nor did it share with his agency any of the evidence of the nuclear nature of this facility said to be collected by it. “To bomb first and ask questions later,” Mr. ElBaradei said, is “unhelpful.”
One can understand his frustration. After all, wouldn’t he have taken immediate action had Israel contacted him? Wouldn’t he have sent a team of experts to the Syrian site within 24 hours, created an international storm if they were not allowed full access to it, lobbied for a Security Council resolution condemning Syria’s non-compliance, pressed for economic sanctions if it did open the site to inspection, acknowledged that there would be grounds for military action if the sanctions did not achieve their goal? Didn’t Israel realize that?
But of course Israel didn’t, because Mr. ElBaradei would have done nothing of the sort. His team of experts would have arrived at the Syrian installation after several months, following tedious negotiations with the Syrian government — plenty of time to clean up whatever the Syrians did not wish the world to see. And had their disclosure not been a full one, the Atomic Energy Agency would then have called for more negotiations, this time taking years, not months, and were these negotiations unsuccessful, it would have called for still more negotiations while opposing a resort to meaningful economic sanctions or force.
How do we know? Because this is exactly what, under Mr. ElBaradei’s guidance, the Atomic Energy Commission has done in regard to Iran. To this day, indeed, Mr. ElBaradei professes not to know whether the Iranians are seeking to build a nuclear weapon or what all those centrifuges spinning day and night at Natanz and other Iranian nuclear sites are going round and round for. As far as he is concerned, they may simply be for the fueling of a nuclear power plant. Why Iran, which has some of the largest oil reserves in the world, wants nuclear energy so badly but is unwilling to let the world confirm that that is all it wants is a question he does not appear to have asked himself.
Mr. ElBaradei is upset with President Bush too. When it comes to Iran, in his opinion, the president is only “adding fuel to the fire” by brandishing the possibility of World War III if the Iranians don’t give up their nuclear ambitions. In general, Mr. ElBaradei believes not in threatening the Iranians but in being nice to them. Presumably, they will one day be so overwhelmed with gratitude that they will hand over the keys to their atomic installations.
Mr. ElBaradei might do well as the principal of a progressive school, but as head of an international agency whose main task is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons he is clearly in the wrong job. The fact of the matter is that there are only two ways to keep Iran from getting the bomb. One of them is to threaten them with military action — and the other is to take it if the threats do not work.
And economic sanctions? Economic sanctions, too, have a chance of working — only if the threat of a military strike hangs over them. This is because the governments of the world that are not strongly conscious of their global responsibilities — which is to say, the great majority of them — have no interest in applying sanctions themselves. They have an interest in the application of sanctions — as long as it’s others who are doing it. Countries like Spain and Italy, let alone Russia and China, would like nothing better than for the United States, France, and Great Britain to cut economic ties with Iran so that their own industrialists, businessmen, and oil companies can have the field to themselves.
And why not? Why should they care whether Iran has the bomb or not? They know perfectly well that it won’t be dropped on Rome, Madrid, Moscow, or Beijing. If India has it, and Pakistan has it, and the world still hasn’t come to an end, why can’t Iran have it too?
There is only one thing that might really frighten them: The specter of an American or Israeli attack on Iran that could lead to sky-rocketing oil prices, an overall Middle East war, and a period of international instability, especially in Arab and Islamic countries. If they knew they had to choose between this and lining up behind sanctions, at least some of them might prefer sanctions. (Russia, an oil exporter with a totally cynical foreign policy, probably wouldn’t.)
This is why anyone who sincerely wishes to see Iran’s nuclearization stopped by peaceful means should have welcomed President Bush’s “World War III” speech rather than criticized it. And it is why Israel should not be pleading with the nations of the world to stop Iran but simply telling them calmly but firmly: “It’s up to you. If you don’t want to see warplanes taking off for Iran and Iranian missiles flying in the opposite direction, economic sanctions that hurt are the only way. There is simply no other choice.”
We all know the old Roman saying that if you don’t want to fight a war, you had better prepare for it. But it’s also true that even if you prepared for it and no one believes you will fight it, you may have to fight it anyway. It’s not a matter of bluster. It’s one of letting the world know what it can expect. One hopes that Israel’s bombing of the Syrian nuclear installation helped get that message across.