Sunday, 14 December 2008

What if… the Israelis were to bomb Iran?

Baghdad, Monday, February 29, 2010, almost 15 months in the future, and Israel has attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities. What might the consequences be…

The shutting down by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard of all maritime traffic crossing the Straits of Hormuz, through which 17 million barrels of oil or nearly 25 per cent of world supplies flow each day, signalled a further escalating of tensions in the Middle East that sent the price of oil up by $163 to $228 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange this morning.

This comes two days after Operation Persepolis on Saturday morning, in which Israeli pilotless drones destroyed the Iranian uranium enrichment plant at Natanz in central Iran and the Bushehr nuclear power plant on the shores of the Gulf. The first strike resulted in the deaths of at least 19 employees inside the nuclear compound that experts believe operates tens of thousands of nuclear centrifuges; no information is available on the Russian-built Bushehr plant.

It is unclear whether the United States, which has a permanent residual force of 45,000 troops in neighbouring Iraq, agreed to or had prior knowledge of the strike. Israeli media had reported earlier that the IDF was studying possible precision strikes against the Iranian nuclear reactors that do not include coordination with the Pentagon. President Barack Obama is said to be in consultation with world leaders and the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Defence, and will make a statement this evening that is expected to be publicly supportive of Israel.

The Belgian Prime Minister, Yves Leterme, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, is heading a high-level delegation to Tehran that includes the British Prime Minister, David Milliband, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to meet the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The delegation issued a joint press release that criticised the “unwarranted Israeli use of force” and called upon Iran to show restraint. The Iranian government put its military on high alert immediately after the strikes, but is believed to be awaiting a visit tomorrow from the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, before taking any retaliatory action.

Meanwhile a major airlift is being organised by the US and European countries to fly their citizens out of the Arab Gulf states that lie in close proximity to the destroyed Bushehr plant; foreigners crowded airports on Sunday seeking tickets out of the region and a number of carriers suspended their inbound flights. India, which has a significant expatriate presence in the Gulf, ordered all available government-owned and commercial planes to carry its citizens out of the region.

There are currently 12 million foreigners residing in the West-allied Arab Gulf states, where US military bases have been put on high alert. Saudi Arabia has the largest number of expatriates, with 6.5 million, followed by the UAE, where expatriates constitute about 80 percent of the population of five million. Panic buying has resulted in skyrocketing prices of essential food items as Gulf residents hurried to stockpile supplies. Stock exchanges were closed today as investors rushed to the markets to offload their shares on Sunday, mirroring a sharp decline in Western equity markets led by the Dow Jones, which lost 17 per cent upon opening this morning.

In a rousing speech on Sunday during the so-called Two Million Man March in Tehran, Mr Ahmedinejad promised to retaliate against what he called the “despicable Zionist entity” vowing to “wipe it off the face of the map once and for all”. Sporadic protests have erupted across Iran with demonstrators demanding that the country uses all possible force to destroy Israel, along with the American bases in the region.

A spokesman for the firebrand Iraqi cleric Muqtada Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, who declined to be identified, announced that the movement is willing to assist Iran in gaining “strategic positions closer to the enemy borders” with or without the Iraqi government’s consent. Similar statements of support were issued by Hamas and Hizbollah.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who is meeting President Obama in the White House today to discuss the repercussions of Operation Persepolis, said his country will “do everything in its power to eliminate the possibility of another Holocaust”. Mr Netanyahu refused to comment on whether Israel would consider the use of nuclear weapons if Iran retaliates, maintaining the country’s policy of nuclear ambiguity. The former US President Jimmy Carter has previously stated that Israel has an arsenal of at least 150 atomic weapons.

The Pentagon estimates that the Iranian government, which has mandatory military conscription, has approximately 20 million men available for military service, four times the total number of the citizens of Israel, which also maintains a conscription service. Earlier this year in a military parade Iran unveiled its Shahab 4 intercontinental ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads to a range of 2,300km, putting Israeli cities well within reach. Yesterday an Iranian military spokesman said that it had renamed the 1,000km range Zelzal 4, or earthquake missiles, the “Tel Aviv Zelzal”.

This article first appeared in The National newspaper on Sunday December 14th 2008


Notorious said...

We wont be soo lucky ,, since we're sooo close to Iran so enshalla nothing of that sort happens

Anonymous said...

are you Zionalist or

Sultan Al-Qassemi said...

TO Anonymous, are these even words?

Anonymous said...

Is 'tournalist' a word?

Sultan Al-Qassemi said...

Hehe, I made up that word. WHat do you mean Zionalist or Mossadalist? Again, I admire your courage in using your real name.

Anonymous said...

Well, your article was highlighted by MEMRI- The Jewish Zionist Media , because of your ideas

I would admire your courage to bash the Jewish atrocities against Palestinians and Americas killing in Iraq & afghanistan, instead of highlighting small incidents that happen here and there.

Mr. Qassemi...Just 1 article against Bush's atrocities in the Arab & Muslim world

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Qassemi

It is a very good chance for you to prove your courage now, after the Jewish Terrorist State killed 255 Palestinians!!! When less than 200 innocent people died in India, the whole world media & press gave live telecast on it and talked for weeks dedicating many pages including the front page. Also some Muslims wrote articles condemning it. Now hardly 1 page is covered even in papers of arab countries. Are not the life of a muslim not equal to a non-Muslim. When only 2000 innocent lives were taken in 911 attacks the whole world talked for months. But when more than 1 million kids died due to malnutrition & many thousands lost lives due to bomb attack in Iraq due to war for oil, the media didnt care much. Is 2000 lives more important than 1 million lives.

It is a very sad state of affairs, that when Muslims are being killed, there is very less to no press coverage. And muslim columnist divert readers attention to minute issues.

I hope I can see a more bold Sultan talking about Jewish atrocities and the world 'super' power remaining quiet on it.

Sultan Al-Qassemi said...

To Anonymous.

Just to reply to your first comment. So I am pro-Zionist because a news gathering website highlighted my comments? I've written articles that appear on various media outlets and I do not think that I can be easily labelled in that way.

Second comment, W's administration is probably the most incompetent in the last three decades. I did not write about it because so many others have (it's the same old story).

Third comment, what is happening in Gaza is a tragedy. Both Hamas and the IAF are responsible for it. Gaza is probably the most densely populated area in the world. If I know that then I am sure that Hamas and the IAF know that too.

I suggest that instead if you encouraging me to write what you could probably better articulate -since it is your opinion- that you personally write something yourself. Create a website and write your thoughts, there are many people who will certainly agree with you. Any others may disagree. Still, if you truly believe what you are preaching come out of your hiding (I need not know) and voice your concerns on a blog.

Thank you A for reading my articles.

Mohammed said...

I adviced you to write because you articulate well (& i dont) and honestly I like the way you present it. Sorry, if my comments were a bit harsh, I would like you to write on Muslim causes.

Re: Hamas
"Both Hamas and the IAF are responsible for it." I wouldnt disagree with you on that issue as some issue might have risen due to Hamas's wrong policies. As prince Waleed hinted, 911 could be avoided if America had the right foreign policy re: ME. Similarly, Mumbai incident and some other terrorist actions done by allegedly by evil Muslims could be avoided if India gave freedom to Kashmir and protected the muslim minorities & their mosques.

Sultan Al-Qassemi said...

Dear Anonymous

I believe you articulate yourself very well in fact. You are opinionated and passionate about what you believe in. It doesn't matter if I agree with you or not, what matters is that your voice gets heard. If you decide to write I can direct you to publications online or in print.

Sami Husain said...

You just reminded me of what is known as "Armageddon". One day something like this or WORSE might happen. It is just a matter of time.

Sultan, this is scary because you were giving good examples of what worse might happen. Thanks god you didn't get the rest of the Arab world involved in your story, otherwise it will really become like the 3rd World War.