Israel Threatens War that Could Destroy European Economy; Trigger Global Nuclear Conflict
February 6, 2012
AntiWar.com & Reuters & Associated Press
An Israeli attack on Iran would potentially involve weeks of bombings and inevitable retaliation by an Iranian government that has been preparing for decades. Turkey and Qatar have urged the West not to attack Iran. The political and economic consequences of an Israeli attack would be catastrophic for Europe's economy. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed Pakistant says that, if Israel were to attack Iran, Islamabad would "have no choice" but to come to Iran's defense.
Israel-Iran War Would Quickly Spread
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(February 5, 2012) -- Much of the talk of an Israeli attack on Iran makes it sound like a push-button operation. The Israeli government sends word, a few warplanes fly to Iran and bomb a few remote locations, and the whole thing blows over. This is, after all, what essentially happened in 1981 when Israel attacked the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq.
Yet an attack on Iran, if indeed it happens, is a much bigger matter, potentially involving weeks of bombings by Israel and inevitable retaliation by an Iranian government that has been preparing for decades.
The war would not be limited to Israel and Iran, but would have enormous global repercussions. President Obama has already conceded that, even if he prefers "diplomacy," he intends to commit the US "in lockstep" to whatever Israel decides.
This is part of the Israeli strategy. Israeli Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon has urged the world to think of it as "Iran versus the West, the United States, Europe and so on." There is little doubt, however broad Iran's retaliation might be, that it would be Israel firing the first shot in this war.
Europe's role in any such war would seem to be entirely involuntary. Many predict that the ensuing oil price spike would bring the entire Eurozone into recession, probably drive Greece and Italy into default, and likely cripple the Euro as a viable currency.
Turkey appears to fear the consequences as well, saying such a war would "be a disaster." And Iraq, a close Iranian ally, would probably get the worst of it, experiencing virtually instant bankruptcy, many predict.
On the other hand, the Pakistani government is said to feel obliged to support Iran in its retaliation if war breaks out. Since US involvement on Israel's side is already a foregone conclusion, it would also likely mean an American war with Pakistan. Given China's close ties with Pakistan, this could rapidly extend the tensions east.
Turkey: Attack on Iran "Would Be Disaster," Must Talk
William Maclean / Reuters
(February 5, 2012) - Turkey and Qatar urged the West Sunday not to attack Iran to solve a nuclear row, but to make greater efforts to negotiate an end to the dispute.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, a gathering of security officials and diplomats, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said an attack would be a "disaster" and the dispute over Iran's nuclear program could be ended very rapidly.
"If there is strong political will and mutual confidence being established, this issue could be resolved in a few days," he said. "The technical disputes are not so big. The problem is mutual confidence and strong political will. "
Turkey was the venue of the last talks between Western powers and Iran a year ago, which ended in stalemate because participants could not even agree on an agenda.
The West has since imposed much tougher sanctions on Iran, which it suspects of seeking nuclear weapons capability. Iran says its nuclear work is purely civilian and peaceful.
Davutoglu added: "A military option will create a disaster in our region. So before that disaster, everybody must be serious in negotiations. We hope soon both sides will meet again but this time there will be a complete result."
In Tehran, the deputy head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards told the semi-official Fars news agency Iran would attack any country whose territory is used by "enemies" of the Islamic state to launch a military strike against its soil.
Washington and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the standoff. Iran has warned of firm retaliation if attacked, including targeting Israel and US bases in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz shipping lane.
Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khalid Mohamed al-Attiyah, whose Gulf country is increasingly active in regional diplomacy, said an attack "is not a solution, and tightening the embargo on Iran will make the scenario worse. I believe we should have dialogue."
"I believe that with our allies and friend in the West we should open a serious dialogue with the Iranians to get out of this dilemma. This is what we feel in our region."
Tension between Iran and the West rose last month when Washington and the European Union imposed the toughest sanctions yet on Iran to try to force it to provide more information on its nuclear program. The measures are aimed at shutting off the second-biggest OPEC oil exporters' sales of crude.
'Israeli Attack Will Prompt Pakistani Response'
Dudi Cohen / Associated Press
(February 5, 2012) -- Is the world counting down to "D-Day"? After US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta estimated that Israel would attack Iran by June, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warmed government officials against "Iran chatter," a European diplomate based in Pakistan said that, if Israel attacks, Islamabad will have no choice but to support any Iranian retaliation.
The diplomat's statement raised the specter of putting a nuclear-armed Pakistan at odds with Israel, which is widely believed to have its own significant nuclear arsenal.
To some, the greatest risk of an attack was to the moribund world economy. Nick Witney, former head of the EU's European Defense Agency, said "the political and economic consequences of an Israeli attack would be catastrophic for Europe" since the likely spike in the price of oil alone "could push the entire EU, including Germany, into recession."
He said this could lead to "messy defaults" by countries like Greece and Italy, and possibly cause a collapse of the already-wobbly euro.
Witney, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, added that "the Iranians would probably retaliate against European interests in the region, and conceivably more directly with terrorism aimed at Western countries and societies."
Meanwhile, Iran continued to raise the bar, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander on Sunday warned that the Islamic Republic will target any country where an attack against it is staged.
Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard, Iran's most powerful military force, did not elaborate. His comments appeared to be a warning to Iran's neighbors not to let their territory or airspace be used as a base for an attack.
On Friday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called Israel a "cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut," and boasted of supporting any group that will challenge the Jewish state.
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