Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The US Needs to Blow Up the Iranian Nuclear Reactor

No question, this will be my most controversial posting to date. But I’ve been studying Middle East politics for a lot of years now, both from the US and while living in the Middle East, and I can tell you that, by the rules played by in the Middle East, rules referred to in many texts as “Hama Rules”, respect comes from quick, thorough attacks, shows of force that all of your enemies you are committed to winning the current conflict. In this case, that show of force must be the destruction of Iran’s Nuclear reactor.

The term “Hama rules” is derived from the carpet bombing of Hama, the 4th largest city in Syria, by the Syrian government. In the 1970s and early 1980s, there was growing unrest throughout Syria. Many Palestinian refugees had settled in Syria, and they were thought to be forming alliances with the Sunnis of Syria, who were the majority in the country, although they had no political power whatsoever. The Palestinians were seen as pushing the Sunnis towards revolution.

President Hafez al-Assad knew the workings of the Middle East as well as anyone. And he knew that, with the Sunnis representing 70% of the population, anything but a quick punishing blow could be seen as a sign of weakness, and invitation for remaining Sunnis to take the power which the principles of democracy says should rightfully be theirs. So Assad, took quick action: he carpet bombed the city of Hama, a hotbed for anti-Assad unrest, killing over 25,000 of his own citizens.

Such swift and brutal military action has been seen throughout the History of the Middle East. Some more recent examples are the destruction of the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps by the Philangists in Lebanon, which Israel must take some (or most?) of the blame for, and the bombing of the first Iranian Nuclear reactor. The first Gulf War in 1991 was also an example of this; The US’ carpet bombing of Baghdad sent a clear message to Iraq and the Islamic world in general that they shouldn’t mess with the US.

In a recent post I addressed Ahmadinejad’s goal of mobilizing the Islamic world behind him, and the advantage that his Iran will have if his goal of becoming a nuclear power is realized. Other countries have recognized this; Israel has contemplated destroying the reactor. The EU has said in the past that resuming work on Uranium enrichment would be a violation of the UN Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and would not be tolerated. Iran today announced that they would be resuming their Uranium enrichment program.

But the US is the target of much of the venom coming out of the Islamic world. It is the US that has been engaged in a long, drawn-out second war in Iraq, a war where the US did not play by Hama rules and where they have paid the price, both in terms of American lives and Middle East prestige. The US needs to gain back some of the respect they’ve lost in the region over the past 4 years, and they need to send a clear message to Iran that Nuclear proliferation will not be tolerated. They need to blow up Iran’s nuclear reactor.

Posted by Scottage at 10:23 PM / | |