The Middle East is the world’s most volatile area, with the perennial war between the Arabs and the Israeli. The conflict has been institutionalized in the society, to a point where a kid is born knowing that the other group comprises of their enemies. The international attention is therefore drawn to the conflict, with the United States taking center stage in the affairs of the region. After the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is the main player in the Arab world, who has called for Israel to be wiped out of the world map. Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, and therefore can develop weapons without being closely scrutinized by the international community.
Israel’s Possible Retaliation against Iranian Aggression
The Middle East crisis has been a thorny issue in the international arena for long. Since the creation of the state of Israel, there has never been sustainable peace in the area. There have erupted military confrontations including real outbreak of wars between the Israelis and the Arabs.
The state of Israel is the only so far world over that does not have definite boundaries thus missing out on a crucial characteristic of state that of having definite border line. Having attained its independence and sovereignty after being a trust territory under the British the state of Israel has enjoyed close cooperation and support of the United States.
Israel, geographically located between Arab countries, some of which are its erstwhile enemies. The country is a tiny controversial territory which has been and still is fighting perpetual wars with the Palestinians who are fighting for a creation of their state outside Israel.
On the military front Israel has an ultra-modern military sophisticated in its operations. The military is trained to fight both conventional non-conventional wars as these are the wars engaged in by the Palestinians. It involves suicide bombings and guerrilla warfare in an effort to assert themselves.
The political establishment of Israel is based on a national constitution providing for a Prime Minister as the head of government a ceremonial president and a parliament.[i] The prime minister is usually the leader of the majority party or coalition and tradition has had that there leaders have ever been military officers in their lifetime or spy agents. Israelis have tended to favor for prime minister a tough leader who would not relent in retaliating whenever they are attacked by their enemies.
The crisis in Israel is said to have inspired terrorist organizations to train even more combatants. The Arabs fighting Israel are claiming to be doing so to liberate themselves, invoking the name of Islam. The Intifada war claimed several lives from either side but the greater casualties were reported from the Israeli side.
Controversies have been raging over the involvement of other countries in the affairs of the Israeli and Palestinians conflict. Several groups have declared a Jihad against Israel, including the Hezbollah group based in Lebanon and which has been launching guerrilla attacks against Israel.[ii] The Holy war has also been fought by the Hamas group, a group operating within Israeli territory and which has produced a prime minister for the Palestinian Authority. At the moment however, the Hamas movement is at logger heads with the Fatah led presidency under Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah is a moderate group which favors dialogue with the Israelis in order to create a Palestinian state graduating it from just an authority as it is now. However, the Hamas hardliners are ruling out negotiations in demand for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in the Middle East.
The state of Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.[iii] For this reason it is feared that the Jewish nation may be having nuclear weapons with which it can use in case of an attack by any of its adversaries, notably Syria and Iran. The two countries have been labeled by the Bush Administration as the “axis of evil” alongside North Korea and Iraq before a military operation was carried out in 2003 to overthrow the Saddam regime.
The United States is so far the strongest military power in the world the only superpower remaining after the collapse of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev. The 1990 historic eventuality marked the end of cold war and the concentration of power in one country to be able to manipulate the affairs of the world. At the time, the United States was free moving all over the world selling its democratic ideals.
The United States has been mentioned as the defender of justice and democracy in the world as a divine obligation. It believes that in order to achieve peace in the world there must be established democratic regimes, elected by the people replacing the executive monarchs who have been in control of their countries without due legitimacy from the population.
The United States is also the single-most influential member of the United Nations. This was evidenced during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars where the United States was the main players. The United Nations budget is also an indication of the United States’ position as it is the highest contributor in addition to being host of the main headquarters. The Breton Woods institutions are also controlled by the United States. The president of the International Monetary fund for instance is an appointee of the United States president and the successive appointees have all been Americans. This again is indicative of the influence of the United States on the economy of the world and of course social and political policies be undertaken.
The United States has been a generous contributes to the Palestinian economy, through the United Nations, Breton Woods institutions or directly. To freeze on this kind of help would be detrimental to the operations of the Palestinian authority. The leadership would not be able to finance the operations of government. Israel has also been assisting in funding the Palestinian authorities and providing employment to them.
The ultimate form of retaliation however is a military intervention. Israelis have a strong sophisticated military with which it attack the Palestinian targets without a problem. It should be remembered that during the Intifada, the Israelis’ retaliation killed more Palestinians that the number of Israelis killed by their opposite number. They were however targeting the combatants not just every Tom, Dick and Harry.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has thrown the whole world into trying to look for a possible solution. The conflict has gone on for decades now especially since Israel attained independence in 1947. The creation of the state of Israel came into being after Israel was under trusteeship under the British supervision. There was long conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in the region pitting the tiny Jewish nation enclosed in a surrounding of Arab States.
At present the Middle East is the most volatile region in the world with some of Israeli neighbors joining forces with armed groups designated as terrorist to destabilize Israel.
The State of Israel is enjoying almost maximum support from the United States a country that has been spreading its crusade for democratization around the world. Several American presents if not all, have had at least a plan for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Middle East conflict. However, the plans went to the extent of having the two main antagonists the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestine Authority president shaking hands but nothing comes after that. A possible explanation of this could be that armed groups in the Arab world are not ready to see any peace pact that does not give Jerusalem to the Palestinians and having all occupied territories vacated by Israel. On the other side, Israeli hardliners who would hear nothing of this sort that they vacate occupied lands.
At play in the international arena on this are several players. There have been several talks some sanctioned by the United Nations aimed at resolving the conflict. And for any durable solution to be arrived at there has to be a concert effort between the two main players, the Arab nations and of course the United States.
The historical political proximity between Israel and the United States cannot be downplayed in this case. The two countries have been operating closely since time immemorial, with the US using its veto power at the United Nations to reject any outright condemnation of Israel in relation to the conflict in the region. These have infuriated several Arab nations who blame the United States for shielding Israel. They term the act as bullying.
As mentioned earlier Israel is suspected of being in possession of nuclear weapons.[iv] It is not a member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and so cannot be subjected to international screening as pertaining to its nuclear program. Also access is power Israel has been categorized by some political analysts as America’s small brother with whose influence one can challenge at his own peril. It is the eyeball of America like a province of the United States.
Among the controversial Arab countries in the region, designated “axis of evil” by the Bush Administration, is the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is a country presided over by a hardliner Mr. Mohammed Ahmedinejad. Under his leadership, Iran has been confronted with accusations of developing weapons of mass destruction and a state sponsor of terrorism.[v] It is alleged that it is investing so much in nuclear weaponry aimed at neutralizing the perceived threat from Israel. Currently the international community is trying to persuade the Islamic leadership to abandon its nuclear plan in exchange of economic assistance.
Israel could be the first victim of Iranian nuclear program in the quest for Iran to become the most powerful player in the Arab world. It is though confrontation with Israel and the United States raises the status of the country in the Arab world.
The retaliation therefore may take the form of Israel pressuring the United States to impose further sanctions against the Islamic Republic. These sanctions may include arms embargo, economic barriers and even effect negatively on the diplomatic front. This would however be a long route.
Israel may choose to relate militarily with Iran. Basing on the past experience in the several wars than Israel has encountered in the region, the Middle East country has greater chances of winning a military confrontation with Iran. It is on record that Israel took six days on the battle field to defeat all her Arab neighbors in 1967.[vi] This was a credible performance. However, attacks against Iran may land Israel into international condemnation and function to increase attacks by the terrorist groups hiding on the excuse of defending Islam.
Israel may as well have another option that of using missiles to attack and destroy suspected production plants of these alleged weapons. This again may attract international condemnation as it may be interpreted as violating Iranian sovereignty. Whichever way the crisis may reach escalation and utmost care should be taken to deal with the question or retaliation.
[i] Israel Constitution.
[ii] Nazilla Fathi. “Wipe Israel ‘off the map’ Iranian says” Herald Tribune. October 27, 2005. Retrieved from http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/10/26/news/iran.php
[iii] Statement on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Retrieved from http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=2342
[iv] Israel 1991 to Present. Retrieved August 16th, 2008 from http://palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_israel_nnp_treaty.php
[v] About.com: Terrorism Issues at http://terrorism.about.com/od/iran/p/Iran2.htm
[vi] Anthony D’ Amato. Israel’s Borders Under International Law. Retrieved from http://anthonydamato.law.northwestern.edu/Adobefiles/israels-borders-under-international-law.pdf