As the world awaits the UN report on Iran’s nuclear program, there is talk as to the possibility of a combined air strike by the United States and Israel on the Islamic nation. Analysts are quick to warn of the adverse effects such a strike may have not only on world economy but also on global security. The aim is to emphasize on the devastating effects such a move will have globally and why a strike on Iran is not what the U.S. and Israel can afford at this time.
Global economy is currently in shambles. From Greece to Italy, Portugal and Spain, governments are scrambling their efforts to avoid a global economic catastrophe; the U.S. is fighting its own economic battles here at home and Congress is unsure of how to resolve the high rate of unemployment in the United States. Looking at the situation as is globally, can the United States afford another attack on a “nuclear bound” Iran? A learned individual on the issue of foreign relations, will know that the answer to the question is No.
Since the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the American embassy hostage taken of the 80s, Iran has become enemy of the United States. To add salt to the injury, the beginning of Iran’s nuclear program help set in motion America’s interest and the global attention in making sure the Islamic nation of Iran does not possess a nuclear arsenal. To curb Iran, the U.S. needs a strategic location in the Middle East and a power house; no other nation fits the profile but Israel believed to be a “nuclear power” and with the capability to launch attack on Iran. However, will such attack be advantageous to both nations?
To make it simple, an attack on Iran will “unleash hell.” Since the beginning of IAEA investigation of Iran’s nuclear program, the nation has continuously made it clear its nuclear program is for energy purposes. So far, the international community, the IAEA, and the United States have not been able to show a direct or concrete evidence indicating that Iran actually possess a nuclear weapon or has made one.
The current events are reminiscent of what took place in Iraq before the invasion of 2003; our nation gathered evidence indicating that Saddam possess nuclear weapons and based on such intelligence, the U.S. invaded. The war in Iraq not only cost America billions of dollars, the U.S. also paid the ultimate price with the loss of American soldiers.
A military raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities at this time would wreck a profound damage on global recovery; American economy will suffer as our nation is yet to recover from the economic costs of two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The war in both countries cost about 2 billion dollars weekly meaning, 8 billion dollars a month for each war, money that could have been spent on recovery here at home. The few weeks of America’s collaboration with NATO in Libya cost the U.S about 1.5 billion dollars not to talk of the fact that currently, the U.S. is experiencing higher gas prices as never before.
Any attack on Iran may unleash retaliation, the nation is a “wounded lion” waiting to respond to years of both unilateral and multilateral sanctions which have destroyed its infrastructures, making it difficult to attain the status it wants in the global economy. Iran may respond to an attack by lashing out in the gulf thereby, severing oil pipelines a lifeline for the supply of oil to the global economy.
Those who doubt such move must revisit the first Gulf War when Saddam Iraq invaded Kuwait, causing great damage to its oil refineries. The effect was a quick rise in oil prices and a shortage of production felt globally including in the United States. Therefore, attacks on Iran will not only affect global oil prices it would have devastating effects on U.S. economy.
International isolation and years of sanctions have set Iran back considerably. Any form of attack at this time on the nation would undermine international agreements on how to deal with its nuclear program. Nations like Russia and China might use their veto power to the disadvantage of the U.S. some Arab nations as well may see the U.S. as a war monger ready to achieve its goals at all costs even when it means at the cost of global economy. An attack on Tehran will not only lack support, it would undermine U.S. campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq.
An attack by both U.S and Israel will not only damage the war campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would cause a revival of both wars as the U.S. prepares to wrap up its actions and bring American soldiers home. Iran may retaliate by raising a new wave of Jihadists and hardened terrorists willing to attack Western targets as long as they have the backing and financial support of a nation.
With such a backing by Iran, the U.S. would witness a rebirth of the “dismantled” Al-Qaeda networks; remnants of the organization may reemerge and once again America’s security would be at risk both at home and abroad. Protecting the homeland alone may not be enough because with the backing of a nation like Iran, terrorists once again will have the capability to attack American targets abroad.
The aim would be to create a global commotion, to inflame anti-U.S. sentiments in the Middle East most especially in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine thereby, provoking the U.S. into an all out war with the Arab nations.
Other effects would be Iran pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Such move means Iran would be able to expel IAEA inspectors from its soil and withdraw from all forms of negotiations on its nuclear issues. It may collaborate with Isolated North Korea and eventually, possess a nuclear weapon or export the capabilities to terrorists. So far, Iran has its nuclear facilities spread all over the country, an attack does not mean all would be found but rather, it would provoke the nation to achieve its goal and give the technology to others to divert global attention from its shores.
One thing is sure, Israel does not have all the means necessary both diplomatic and military to carry out a successful attack on Iran. To do so, it needs the help of the United States and as a result, Israel is engaging in tough talks to pressure the U.S. into considering an attack. Right now, Israel does not enjoy any relations with its Arab neighbors. Its friendship with Turkey has suffered damage and its relations with Egypt have been fragile since the deposition of Hosni Mubarak.
An attack on Iran by Israel means further isolation and unending hatred by its Arab neighbors. Recently, a Saudi official offered $900,000 for the capture of any Israeli soldiers to be used in a prisoner swap for the release of Palestinian prisoners, in Israeli jails. An attack by Israel would make Iran promote and finance Hezbollah and Hamas to carry out attacks in Israel. The result would be another Arab-Israeli war and no end to the Palestinian question.
Iran is aware that its nuclear pursuit does not enjoy international support. The government in Tehran knows that pursuing a nuclear bomb is both political and economic suicide and therefore, may be right when it says its nuclear program is for “peaceful means.” It is left for the IAEA the body entrust with such duty to determine whether Iran has a positive agenda with its nuclear program or not. A military strike by the U.S. and Israel at this time may fail to achieve its goal but result in costly outcome for the U.S. and Israel.
The U.S. is currently dealing with economic issues, there is high unemployment and the nation is trillions of dollars in debt. There are two wars ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan costing American resources and lives, what the U.S. needs right now is economic recovery and not another war.
Israel on the other hand need pull for international support to resolve the Middle East issues and the Palestinian question. An attack on Iran would only help delay its nuclear activities and would have a devastating effect on world economy and global security.
The United Nations must work with its nuclear body the IAEA to properly verify Iran’s nuclear agenda and disarm it if need be with the help of interested nations. A war without proper proof and verification means a revisit of the events in Iraq. Such move would have a devastating effect on global economy and security. It would hamper the recovery the world needs at this time.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is a writer and published author; an expert in General law, foreign relations and the United Nations.
Categories: Foreign Affairs