By Guest Writer Frank Edward Jordan
The state of Israel will not forgo attacking Iranian nuclear facilities just because the US has not given it permission. Israel is a nuclear power. It has both the means and military expertise to subject Iran to a nuclear holocaust when it feels the time has come to act. One should remember that the only reason Israel did not subject Saddam’s country to missile strikes during the first Gulf War was that George H. W. Bush, fearful of losing Arab support if Israel retaliated, pledged to wipe out the Scud missiles that were impacting in Israel. But, the Knesset and the Israeli leadership were just a hair’s breath away from launching its own retaliation.
Eighty years ago, the Nuremburg Laws set out to destroy Jews from all of Germany and Europe. The survivors of that Holocaust settled Palestine under the terms of the United Nations Partition. Now, the state of Israel is a military force that, more than once, has beaten back all the nations surrounding it, and without nuclear weapons.
Russia is in no shape militarily to do anything of note in the Middle East. Putin notwithstanding, Russia cannot field and maintain a credible army outside its own borders, nor can its beleaguered navy and air force do more than demand Israel leave Iran alone. Realistically, China has no dog in this fight. They want the Gulf open to shipping as much as anyone else but the commitment of troops has never been an issue. Washington and Peking have allied interests in a peaceful middle east.
Iran may have an army, but its air force is a farce. Israel, as they did in the last Arab-Israeli War, would seek to take out Iran’s airfields first, effectively grounding Iraq’s war planes. Control of the skies would be Israel’s alone. However, to achieve air superiority, Israel would be forced to invade Jordanian or Syrian airspace, and that could be a major stumbling block. Jordan’s air force is no farce. Jordanian pilots are US and Russian trained dog fighters and may be the equal to Israel’s. No Arab country will allow Israel to overfly it; Israel would face a heavy Arab attack immediately. Of course the US might restrict Israeli flights over Iraq. The only way to avoid Arab air space would be a long flight down the Red Sea, across the Gulf of Aden and then north over the Arabian Sea directly into Iraq.
That leaves Israel only two good options: a long flight with horrible logistical problems of refueling, or an attack with missiles.
Israel has demonstrated its commitment to remain the only nuclear power in the arena. They destroyed Iraq’s first nuclear reactor many years ago, before it came online. There are other concerns in the area. Pakistan, a Muslim nation, is a wildcard, but they might fire missiles at Israel. And anything Pakistan attempts will be met by Indian resistance and may be the start of an all-out, nuclear war between those two nations.
Can a peace be brokered? Secretary of State Hilary Clinton would certainly attempt peace talks. But is she a Kissinger? No one can say.
Of one thing we can be certain: President Obama’s foreign policy will be seriously questioned by his opponents. Is he up to the challenge; and how would the Republican controlled House of Representatives react to his peace proposals? If Obama can manage this crisis without the use of US military forces, he’ll truly take his place among the Nobel Peace Prize laureates whose company, dubious as it is, he already shares.
We are among Israel’s strongest allies or have been in the past. Are we yet? Does Israel need our protection or permission to act in its own interests? Are they even asking for our input? Will the UK act with us? What will France do? Russia has made its aims clear. China could go either way, but it has sided with Russia in the UN Security Council. Any nation in the Security Council could veto UN action.
One thing is certain, Iran’s leadership is out of touch with reality. If their nuclear arms program continues to the point of arming missiles, you can bet they will use them against Israel. I am no prophet. I’m not preaching out of Revelations. A crisis that can set off a world war is growing every day. The United Nations is useless.
Thus, avoiding a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran will come down to the ability of their particular allies’ leaders to broker a peace. I hope to live to see such a peace, but for Israel, I fear, a peace at any price is too high a price.
Frank E. Jordan is a UCF graduate. He is retired Navy, and a Vietnam veteran, wounded in action.
As a writer, his focus is on military history, although he also writes satire and serious commentary on various subjects.