Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East is now considered a threat to the safety of Israel and its allies. Despite the U.S. administration’s efforts to urge Israel to seek more diplomatic solutions with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to assert that Israel is absolutely determined to protect its civilians from any potential dangers.
“Israel can’t afford to wait much longer,” said Netanyahu to AIPAC on March 5th, however nobody knows how long “much longer” will last. Everyone knows, though, Israel has been waiting for six years now for diplomacy and sanctions to discourage Iran from pursuing its nuclear power, yet in vain.
Iran-Israel relations have shifted drastically since the Iranian Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Ali Khomeini in 1979. Iran withdrew its recognition of Israel – it was the first Muslim country to recognize the Jewish state – and broke all defense and economic ties with Israel. Iranian hostility against Israel ascended in later years. In 2005, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”
Although most political analysts at that time asserted that an Iranian-Israeli armed confrontation is unlikely to happen, Iran’s nuclear program is certainly not helping matters. Despite claims that Iran’s nuclear program is for “peaceful purposes,” the IEAE’s last report outlined details of nuclear weapons-related experiments. Of course, there is no hard proof that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons, yet the possibility remains plausible. Such suspicions are valid since Iran continues to produce 20 percent enriched uranium despite the fact that this exceeds its civilian needs.
In the meantime, Iran continues to arm anti-Israel military groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad in Palestine and finance actions against Israel, such as the rocket fire attacks from Gaza only a couple of weeks ago. The two groups are classified as terrorist groups by the United States and many European countries; both groups are not so reluctant to launch military aggressions independently from their governments and are a potential threat to their civilians and the Middle East peace process.
Peaceful talks and negotiations have not yielded anything, so the window to solve the Iranian issue diplomatically is shrinking. An armed action against Iran might occur sooner than expected. Fears are that any military actions against Iran may end up in an anarchic World War III pulling in the world’s major forces and causing an oil price inflation that may damage the world’s economy even with the intervention of the Saudis.
Many argue that countries with nuclear power become more risk-averse to armed conflict such as the case of India and Pakistan, but this isn’t the case for Iran. The Islamic state has already voiced its hostility against Israel on several occasions and is certainly far from being a calculating state that favors diplomacy over military actions. It is even capable of a pre-emptive attack against its enemies if the need arises. However, the fear that an attack on Iran may cause wars to erupt in the region is not refutable. Arab Muslim governments – especially now that they’re ruled by Islamists – won’t support Israel’s actions against a fellow Muslim country. Iran’s militia will be likely to intervene in the retaliations. All terrorist groups from across the Islamic crescent and worldwide will gain more legitimacy with their anti-Israel propaganda, and war will erupt from all borders neighboring Israel, including Iraq and possibly Turkey. The U.S. and other European countries interference will also make them great perfect targets for more terror attacks against civilians. No one will be safe.
Economically, a Western attack on Iran will lead the country to close the Strait of Hormuz, blocking 20% of petroleum world supplies. The oil price inflation will be a death blow to the world's economy, despite the Saudis’ intervention to save the day. Barrel prices will leap up to $120. In fact, the Saudis overestimated their petrol reserves over the last year and won’t be able to pump in more oil to keep the oil prices stable.
My predictions are Iran and its militias will resort to a bloody carnage, facing an intelligent and highly-trained Israel military power. In such case, Israel will only repond more violently, which will only to a more massive destruction of the region. The world is facing an imminent dark age if none of the parties agree to compromise or reason their fears.