Saturday, October 06, 2012

An Israeli Strike Will Force Iran To Launch Nuclear Weaponization

And International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors continue to meticulously monitor Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium to make sure none is being diverted to any military related activities. Mohamed El-Baradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent more than a decade as the director of the IAEA, said that he had not “seen a shred of evidence” that Iran was pursuing the bomb during his time at the agency (1997 – 2009), adding “All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.”

Even Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged this fact: “Are [the Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear [weapons] capability. And that’s what concerns us.”

Of course, a nuclear weapons capability comes with the territory: Any nation with a fully developed nuclear fuel cycle has such a weapons capability. In fact, this could be considered a major flaw in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. For instance, Japan, Argentina, and Brazil also have a latent nuclear weapons capability. Just like you can't get a speeding ticket for a car that is capable of going 110 miles per hour, it is not illicit to have a latent nuclear weapons capability.

An Israeli strike on Iran could change this latent capability into an active weaponization program. Iran’s response would likely include the expulsion of IAEA inspectors and a break-neck race to the bomb – not to mention the possibility of a region-wide conflagration and sky-high gas prices.

Recent analysis shows that a previous Israeli strike – in 1981, on Iraq’s civilian Osirak nuclear reactor complex – led Saddam Hussein to demand a nuclear deterrent and was actually the trigger for Iraq launching a full-scale effort to weaponize. A decade later, by the time of the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq was on the verge of a nuclear weapons capability.

As researcher Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer explains in a recent International Security article, such ostensibly “preventive attacks can increase the long-term proliferation risk posed by the targeted state.”

Her research suggests that the conventional wisdom that Israel’s 1981 attack on Osirak denied Iraq a nuclear weapons capability no longer holds up: The strike actually created unprecedented pressure inside the Iraqi national security apparatus to pursue the bomb more vigorously than ever.

Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy recently told Haaretz: “[W]hat I recommend is trying to calm the Iranian-Israeli conflict and not escalate it.”

He continues: “It is possible that, in the end, we will have no choice and will be forced to attack.....But before venturing on such an extreme and dangerous action, I suggest making a supreme effort to avoid it. We must not hem the Iranians in and we must not push them into a corner. We have to try to give them an honorable way out. It’s always worth remembering that the greatest victory in war is the victory that is achieved without firing a shot.”

Via: "The Christian Science Monitor"

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