As the world vacillates to and fro in its deliberations on the Iranian nuclear standoff, not much has been written on who stands to actually benefit from some type of Israeli strike on Iran. Understanding this part of the puzzle is crucial in determining the long-term fallout from such an action, and when you stack the net benefits against the losses, the list is decidedly stacked towards the latter. Regardless, here’s a list of a few who would actually prosper if Iran were to be attacked…
1. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
That’s right; Khamenei has been carrying the revolutionary torch and all it stands for, ever since his predecessor lit the flame in 1979. One of the Revolution’s main tenets, that the U.S. is a Great Satan – with Israel (little Satan) right behind it – that seeks to undermine the prosperity and right to self-determination of the Iranian people, still stands strong.
If Israel struck Iran, all of the seemingly paranoid ghost stories that Khamenei has been whispering in the Ummah’s ears will come true, since to the Iranian regime, Israel is nothing but an American appendage. This will no doubt rally the people behind Khamenei, cementing the foundation of the Revolution for years to come and exiling any chance of peace to the Dashte Lut desert.
2. Saudi Arabia
Although Israel and Saudi Arabia have no formal diplomatic relations, an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be a welcome move against their Persian rival. Saudis fear an Iranian nuke since it would theoretically move them one step further in their quest to become the gatekeepers of Islam.
The problem? Iranians are Shia, Saudis are Sunni, and that divide has caused sectarian violence from 680 AD to the present day. Saudis have watched their counterpart become stronger over the last few decades and would like nothing more than to see it taken down a peg or two.
3. The oil industry
Saudi Arabia may consider Iran its arch nemesis, but any spike in oil prices means more income for OPEC countries and oil giants, albeit at the cost of national security. Iran’s economy is currently reeling from crushing sanctions, and any spike in oil prices would help ease at least some of the pain.
4. Bashar Al-Assad
Assad’s grip in Syria is weakened every day as the opposition surrounds Damascus and the international community continues to condemn the regime for gross human rights abuses. A strike by Israel on a fellow Muslim nation would no doubt take some of the attention off of him and redirect it to Israel, possibly enabling him to get nastier in his fight against the opposition movement and extending a bloody conflict that has already claimed over 60,000 lives.
Israel’s nastiest regional nemesis, the Iranian backed, Shia dominant Hezbollah – “Party of God” in Arabic – will no doubt curry favor if Israel strikes Iran. Hezbollah is already a powerful political force in Lebanese politics and serves as a symbol of strength among Shia Muslims who for centuries have been looked at as second-class citizens by their Sunni counterparts.
An Israeli attack on Iran would empower Hezbollah since it is the only Muslim fighting force in the region that has proven worth its salt against Israel, and could bring both Sunnis and Shias closer together against their common enemy.