Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Coming Divsion of Labor: Israeli Levithan/Russian Sys Admin


Russia appears to be tilting towards an "all clear" on the coming Israel-Arab strike on Iran:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday Iran was gaining the ability to build a nuclear bomb, remarks welcomed in Washington as a sign of growing international unity behind a tough line toward Tehran.
Medvedev's comments were the strongest criticism of Iran's nuclear program to emerge from the Kremlin under either Medvedev or his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
A major goal of U.S. President Barack Obama's "reset" of relations with Moscow has been winning Russian backing for a tougher international line toward Iran.
"It is obvious that Iran is moving closer to possessing the potential which in principle could be used for the creation of nuclear weapons," Medvedev told a meeting of Russia's ambassadors in Moscow.
Russia's Strategic Interests

Interesting. If Medvedev asked me, not only should Russia (from their perspective - not an American perspective) support an Israeli strike, they should also adopt a policy of intelligence sharing with Israel (WRT Iran's nukes and air defenses) and even offer to use Russian intelligence assets or special forces as needed to assist Israel. This is because a nuclear Iran is a bigger threat to Russia than to anyone else:

To top it all off, Iran, which already posses a missile that can hit Russia, had crowds in the street today shouting "Down with Russia!"

The day will come in the not-too-distant future, when Russia wants to throw its weight around in the Caucuses or central Asia and all of these answered prayers are going to haunt them. Until then, I hope the Poles and Czechs do their part to reduce global warming, I hope the protesters keep going until A-Jad either steps down or "gets Ceascued" and I hope Putin keeps getting everything he wants. 

Besides the obvious benefits of setting the Iranian program back a few years, I continue to suspect that Russian companies will be in a the cat-bird-seat, so-to-speak, when it comes to rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure in Iran:

Russia, Turkey and Pakistan want nothing more than an Iranian client state, stripped of all international connectivity and forced to conduct business through Russian/Turkish and Pakistani smugglers. These guys will be popping popcorn and laughing with glee as Israel destroys Iran's nuclear capacity - I'd not rule out Turkish, Pakistani and Russian complicity in such an attack, by the way - because it ensures an even weaker Iranian position and greater levels of dependency upon its patrons.

A Road to Damascus Tehran Conversion?

So there you have it. The world is lining up to support either an Israeli or American strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. The question now is not about the strike, per se, but instead its about whether or not a solid long-term shift in regional politics will emerge in the Middle East, post strike. The Arab countries are scared and the Israelis are talking about resuming peace talks, setting the stage for a regional deal.

I remain opposed to an American strike on Iran, in theory, but I'm always most strongly in favor of playing the hand we've been dealt. If planning to bomb Iran is Obama's way to plan to fail in Afghanistan, then so be it. Let's do it right - get the Arab's and Israelis to bury to hatchet, once and for all, and we'll have more than made up for the cost, both monetary and human, of destroying Iranian nuclear facilities.

Given these developments, I have moved from "opposed" to "agnostic but skeptical" when it comes to either an Israeli or American strike on Iran - so long as it's part of a larger strategy to disengage from Afghanistan and cement a permanent Arab-Israeli peace in the Middle East. Given my dithers between American or Israeli jets delivering the goods, I order my preference:

#1. Joint Arab-Israeli operation - with Saudi jets flying cover for Israel.

Baring notorious Arab-Israeli cooperation, I shift to my preference to:

#2. A multi-day American air campaign designed to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, Republican Guard and key nodes of civilian infrastructure, including power plants and communications grid. America can get things done that Israel can't, and if we're going to strike let's minimize their ability to make trouble in the region by doing whatever we can to cripple or even destroy the Iranian state.

#3. An Israeli strike. Ok, but less likely to be successful than an American strike.

#4. An American or Israeli preemptive nuclear strike. From a tactical perspective, it gets the job done even more effectively then option #2 and but, oh boy, we better really have out ducks in a row WRT regional strategy before we open that door.

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