Why Obama should not take the Iran bait?

Whether or not Iran possesses a dirty bomb right now is different matter. But Iran poses the threat, nonetheless, and a very grave threat to global peace and economy, in the event of an attack on its nuclear installations. This was also endorsed in the most critical report of the nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency. The report says Iran might be working on developing nuclear weapons. ­Its findings were widely-expected and have come days after Israel bluntly declared that military action against Iran was getting closer. There are rising fears that the report could be a pretext for an attack. In fact, the UN nuclear watchdog has found no smoking gun, but has succeeded, nonetheless, in hyping up fears that Iran is continuing its research on nuclear weapons. The report does not expressly say that Iran is building a nuclear weapon; it does however, say that Iran is collecting all the information it would need to do so.

The basis for IAEA claims is Iranian computer models of nuclear warheads which the watchdog views as a possible indication that Iran is planning to build an atomic bomb. Among other evidence there is a satellite image of a steel container that might be used to secretly test the high explosives needed to trigger a nuclear weapon. Veracity of this report is not dependable given the fact that IAEA does not have any intelligence capabilities. It seems to be relying on reports that may have been fed by other sources having direct stakes in Iran’s nuclear program. Many people suspect that these reports may be coming from the US and Israel who doctored false evidence to build up a case to invade Iraq in 2003.

The UN’s atomic watchdog report and P5+1 negotiation with Iran can serve one of the two purposes for the US and Israel; the report, and deadlock in P5+1 talk could be used as justification to start a war with Iran which will have catastrophic repercussion. These two justifications can also be used as political leverage to try and isolate Iran, and possibly to put a dent in its flourishing economic relations with China. Having learned from the outcome of Iraq invasion, no one in the international community would endorse a drastic unilateral action by Israel because that could set the region on fire.

The way media, particularly Israeli media, is working overtime to spread terrifying stories, suggests that the war may be imminent. Careful media leaks have already started suggesting that Israel and the US will unleash their lethal power on Iran in the next twelve weeks, most probably in October.

According to an article titled, Poisoning the air, published by The Guardian months before Iraq invasion, one of the oldest tricks in a run-up to a war is to spread terrifying stories of the things that the enemy may be about to do. Government officials plant these tales, journalists water them and the public, for the most part, swallow them. This sounds very prophetic but the question is; will Obama really want to go to war with Iran at this point in time and repeat the blunders committed by Bush administration?

Given the present state of US economy, the saner elements within the administration would definitely oppose another misadventure even if their stand leads to divisions within Obama’s ranks. But if the President believes there is no other alternative to stopping Iran from gaining the ability to produce highly enriched uranium and thus manufacture nuclear weapons, he will seriously consider military action and it is hardly a certainty he won’t take it. From a domestic political perspective, right now Obama’s strong suit is his national security performance. GOP is trying to take the issue away from the Democrats. Obama would not want them to attack him as being weak or assert they understand defense better. That is why they are so silent on the issue.

According to various assessments, Obama has only four real areas of vulnerability on this front. One, if he pushes too hard for defense budget cuts before the election, the Republicans will go after him. He won’t. He will seek cuts but will be comparatively cautious. Two, if there were a terrorist attack of some sort and the administration seemed unprepared or responded weakly, that would create a problem. But that is a perennial wild card. Three, if he distances himself from Israel, the Republicans will seek to capitalize on the sense some supporters of that country have that Obama is not a committed friend. There is already plenty of activity in that area … and the Israelis are eager to take advantage of their perceived election year leverage. And finally, if Iran were to detonate a nuclear bomb, Obama would be blamed and fiercely attacked for a policy of engagement that ultimately proved to be toothless.

Given the arguments for and against Iran misadventure, will Obama really choose to go to another war at a time very close to election year? This is a question which is agitating many minds. The people are looking at the unfolding events with their fingers crossed. The Iran invasion will certainly change the international political landscape, imperil the region, push oil prices up and devastate global as well as the US economy. Iran, aware of these repercussions, seems to be making all possible efforts to draw the US into an attack with aims to bleed US economy. Osama played the same trick and Bush walked into Afghanistan and Iraq trap and the principal victim of these attacks was US economy. Iran, already almost isolated internationally, has nothing to lose. But the stakes of the US and the rest of the world are very high. After an attack, Iran will be a problem bigger than the terrorists and highly impossible to handle in the event of a war.

Will Obama walk into another trap laid for the US, now by Iran or give diplomacy a chance? Only the time will tell and October is not far away.

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