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Will the US and Israel launch war against Iran?

Jan 31,2019 - Last updated at Jan 31,2019

Although no world peace and no prosperity can be attained without the stability and security of the Middle East, a mounting fear of a new crisis is in the offing that would ravage the whole region. The Middle East is undergoing a transitional phase. Since the Arab Spring, the region has been in the middle of said process, meaning that the instability will continue for years to come and the security dimension will prevail because the conflict of the great powers will aggravate the mishaps of the Middle East due to their conflicting interests.

War clock in the Middle East is ticking between Iran and Israel. What was keeping both countries from direct confrontation was the so-called war on terrorism: Daesh and Al Qaeda. At present, with US troops’ withdrawal from Syria, the battle will take another direction. This escalates the pace of confrontation and wards off any settlement between both countries due to conflicting ideologies. However, in the coming era, the region would face three scenarios: the North Korean scenario of talks to defuse tension, war as a lifeline to Iranian regime and war as an inevitable matter. 

The North Korean scenario denotes that talks between Americans and Israelis on one hand, and Iranians on the other, would be held to defuse tension, similar to peace negotiations between Americans and North Koreans to defuse and denuclearise the Korean Peninsula. What is required here is true will to reach a peaceful settlement between Israel, the US and Iran. However, this is not easy to achieve as Iranians have signed a pact with the international community regarding cessation of nuclear activities, which are the source of concern to Israel and Arab states.

Military balance between the United States and Iran does not prompt further escalation, as this is not in favour of Tehran due to imbalances and enormous differences, even in conventional armament capabilities in terms of quality, precision and destruction abilities. If Israel is involved in such a battle, the conflict will take other approaches regionally.

Others believe that the first scenario has been in the past, before May 2018. At present, neither the US nor Iran would accept further discussion of the minutes of the nuclear deal due to lack of mutual confidence. Thus, Iran would view the coming war as a lifeline for the regime, which always bets on exporting crises. This might be the best ever opportunity to save its regime, by mobilising the majority of Iranians under slogans: “Countering American and Israeli aggression”. This could be a suitable pretext for Iranian rulers to market their idea of steadfastness at this critical moment to face the deterioration of economic activities due to sanctions. This would drive Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to resort to dormant cells to sabotage states and disseminate anarchy. In other words, Iran would initiate the war against American and Israeli targets in the region.

The third scenario is an inevitable war which the US and Israel would resort to. Israeli officials have recently warned Iran of not only targeting its forces in Syria or Iraq, but rather of targeting Iranian armed forces wherever they are positioned and destraying the nuclear sites of Bushehr, Esfahahan, Bonab, Arak, Fordow, Natanz and Parchin.  Will Tel Aviv, Washington and Tehran be able to press the war button? Will the unprecedented economic pressure on Iran help topple the Mullah regime?

Many analysts and observers view the recent developments on both sides as escalating, and expect that the zero hour is ticking. It was neither strange, nor exciting that Israel officially announced by end of 2018 that Tel Aviv had thousands of documents and pieces of evidence that Iran was pursuing its nuclear programme, despite signing a full and binding agreement with the major powers not to resume enriching activities.

Tehran has been developing its missile programme, preparing all the alternatives and options based on its experience in prevarication. All of this is pushing the Middle East to be on the verge of a makeover. Israel has repeatedly warned Iran and other regional players that its forces can destroy any country within hours, Iran has also been threatening of a comprehensive war if attacked.

Arabs are sandwiched between Iran and Israel. Will the US be able to protect Arab allies if Israel initiates strikes against Iranian forces? How will any future war break out and develop? What would be the ramifications on the parties concerned and the region? Will Israel act first, waiting for Iranian response before the US intervenes? The coming springtime promises further political and military developments in the region at all levels.

 

The writer is a consultant, senior political and media adviser and the executive director of Geostrategic Media Centre-USA. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times

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