Essential Reading to Understand The Headlines

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Iranian Trap

As the scramble for Iranian sanctions for the US and Israel accelerate into a faster pace, one would have to think real long and hard on who is in control of this game.

One usually thinks that this Iranian regime is trapped in a corner with the US and Israel going through sympathetic Russia and China while other countries are salivating at sanctions as what is perceived to be as Iranian regime becoming more dangerous by the day with its nuclear program. But are the Iranians really at a trap?

Israel which has been pushing hard for Iranian sanctions only has two options at the table which it has direct control and these are pushing for sanctions or attack Iran. The first one pushing for sanctions is merely to the point of its effort to persuade countries sympathetic to Iran and int his case China and Russia. It has control over its effort but almost nil on influence on both countries. In fact if one has to look at it closely, China and Russia are friends of Iran, they make billion dollar trades with Iran and in the case of Russia, Iran is an important strategic military ally.

Israel can also decide to attack Iran. A first strike in the magnitude of the Six Day War! But with a nuclear Iran, even Israel is probably careful. This isn't Egypt which just has airplanes and ground troops in a desert. This country might already have nuclear weapons at its disposal. And in my past comment, an Israel attack is probably what Iran wants at this point.

As for the US, it is in a big quandary. It has to tip-toe within the UN and also must show Israel that it still supports it. During the week, high level meetings within Israel has been made by the US but it has to thread carefully with UN countries as it tries to get support with an irritated China and with an enigma like Russia. It would actually be to Russia's advantage to see the US struggle with this conflict and probably further damage the latter's image even more in the Middle East. A region Russia wants to have very strong ties with.

Iran actually has all the advantages in this chess game. They can move pieces that could disturb. both the US and Israel.

1. Iran could use Israel's enemies (Hamas and Hezbollah) to disrupt attention on the issue of sanctions. In fact the New York Times mentions that Israel is very wary of this.

Its officials say they do not want to be lured into what could be an Iranian trap: a confrontation in Lebanon or Syria aimed at diverting the world’s attention from Iran.
source: "Hoping Sanctions Work but Readying Gas Masks" By ETHAN BRONNER

2. By being mysterious about its true nuclear abilities, Iran is forcing the US to think of different options in dealing with the matter like maintaining a status quo or even a deal

The US and Israel are at a tough situation now and it seems that Iran actually is the one pinning them at a corner. So far Iran is winning at the scorecards.