The recent revelations that the Saudis may be due to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan reinforce the spiraling fears that the region is on the verge of further disaster.
The potential for the Middle East and its multiple armed conflicts to ‘go nuclear’ is increasing exponentially.
Some have argued that this was inevitable due to Iran’s nuclear programme; that it would set off a ‘nuclear arms race’ in the Middle East. They would say that the Saudis might be pursuing nuclear armament in response to Iran, particularly now that Iran is in the process of a reconciliation of sorts with the West.
However, this analysis is avoiding the giant elephant in the room (or the giant elephant in the region, to be more precise): specifically the fact that Israel is already a nuclear power and has in fact been the only nuclear power in the Middle East for decades.
So while Benjamin Netanyahu can stand before the UN General Assembly, as he famously did, holding up his cartoon drawing of ‘an Iranian bomb’, he is simply making an absolute joke of himself.
Israel of course has always denied its nuclear weapons programme, but it’s the worst kept secret in history; everyone from successive Iranian leaders to the late Muammar Gaddafi of Libya insisted for years that Israel has an enormous nuclear arsenal. And yet Israel, led by the Right-wing Zionist Benjamin Netanyahu has been relentless in its opposition to Iran’s nuclear programme for years, continuously demanding the international community take action against Iran. All the while it has refused to acknowledge or confirm its own substantial nuclear arsenal, provided to it no doubt from the US and other Western sources.
It obviously does have a nuclear arsenal; and so long as it does, Israel (a country currently being investigated in the ICC for War Crimes) has no real moral authority to make demands of the Iranians. Frankly, America, given its ruthless warmongering record, has no moral authority either, but only martial authority. Now don’t misunderstand me: I am anti nuclear weapons and believe that there should be a global disarmament. But unless there is a blanket global disarmament – including America and especially including Israel – then there is no moral basis for demanding Iran desist its programme.
If any country has a legitimate right to such a programme, it is Iran, which is utterely surrounded by hostile nations – Saudi Arabia, Israel, an Iraq now awash with Sunni extremists in the form of ISIS/ISIL, and a once-stable Syria now in danger of falling to the same Salafist/Islamist terrorists, all of which are a direct and existential threat to Iran. For the likes of Netanyahu, the Saudis or anyone else to therefore demand Iranian submission is frankly outrageous.
The point, or so we’re told, of anyone owning a nuclear arsenal is for it to act as a deterrent; therefore a defense mechanism that serves to stave off wars, not a weapon that is actually intended to be *used*. That’s the exact justification America, Britain, Russia and even Israel would use in regard to their own weapons. So why is Iran forbidden from being able to develop the same deterrent? Iran developing a nuclear programme would be a safeguard against Israel, Saudi Arabia and any other hostile power. Iran, unlike Britain for example, actually *is* under direct and real threat from its neighbours.
Again, any sane person should be in favour of *all* nations giving up their nuclear weapons. But it has to be all nations, otherwise it’s meaningless.
Here’s a particularly pertinent cautionary tale: years ago, Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan government voluntarily discontinued its tentative WMD programmes. It did so as a gesture of goodwill towards the West and America after 9/11. It did so because it wanted to demonstrate Libya’s peaceful intentions and its desire to be perceived as a friend and not as the hostile state that the US and others regarded it as in the eighties. And what happened? In 2011, the Al-Qaeda led hordes swarmed upon that country, conducting carnage and mass murder, aided by a relentless aerial bombardment of Libya by the US, the UK, France and 40 of the wealthiest nations on the planet.
In his naive belief that the prevailing global powers could be trusted, Gaddafi had voluntarily allowed Libya to be militarily weakened; his reward was to be destroyed. The sad truth is that had Libya continued with its WMD programme, it is highly questionable as to whether what happened in 2011 would’ve happened: because Libya would’ve had a deterrent against that.
If Iraq had developed its WMDs, it too would’ve had a deterrent against the illegal 2003 invasion. The supreme irony, of course, is that Saddam *didn’t* have WMDs, but the US government simply said he did and invaded anyway.
But both Libya and Iraq perfectly demonstrate why those kinds of deterrents are needed, particularly for countries that are in palpable danger of being attacked or invaded; such as Iraq and Libya demonstrably were, and such as Iran is now.
I said this to someone recently, and he responded with “Are you an idiot; do you seriously want Iran to have nuclear weapons?” The answer to that is no, of course I wouldn’t *want* it. And in an ideal world, we wouldn’t even have to have that conversation. But this is far from an ideal world or an even playing field. Rather, it’s a world where nations are launching wars upon other nations, unleashing proxy terrorists against societies or even outright invading.
In *this* world as it currently stands, Iran needs a deterrant. If the international community wants a better, safer world, then it should turn to discussing how to stop the wars in the region and how to curtail the bloody schemes of rampant Geo-political conspirators – America, Israel, the Saudis, Qatar, Britain and France *and Iran* all included – and not simply singling out the Iranians and trying to impose conditions on them that aren’t being imposed on anyone else. And I say that as both a pacifist in general and as somone, as I said earlier, wholly against nuclear weapons in general.
As I’ve said before, unless and until we shift our current paradigm to reflect reality and not the false picture of the mainstream narrative, we are simply going to remain in a vicious cycle without end.
Meanwhile Iran has demanded Israel dismantle its own nuclear weapons before expecting the Iranians to discontinue their own uranium-enrichment programme. That seems like a fair enough proposition. But Israel would first have to admit it *has* nuclear weapons. Which, we can assume, it has no intention of doing.
The Israeli nuclear weapons programme was driven primarily by former Prime Ministers David Ben Gurion and Shimon Peres, said to have been heavily aided (in secret) by the US, France and Aparteid South Africa. The 1967 Six-Day War and the general threat posed by neighbouring Arab states may have been a deciding factor in Israel’s perceived right to weapons of mass destruction. The scale of the Khazar/Zionist state’s mass-destructive capability is unknown due to the absolute secrecy that has been maintained for decades.
In the eighties, the Dimona nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu famously revealed dozens of top secret photos and documents on Israel’s nuclear weapons program. This act of exposure cost him 18 years in prison (and in solitary confinement) after Mossad conducted one of its classic ‘Honey Trap’ manuevers and apprehended him. In the same decade, Libyan airplanes were shot down by Israel for allegedly straying close to an Israeli nuclear site; whether the planes were on a deliberate spying mission or whether they accidentally strayed was never clear, but Gaddafi was predictably outraged.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon released a previously secret report from 1987 by the Institute for Defense Analysis (read the PDF here). It was in essence the first official admission by the US that Israel has a nuclear weapons programme. It is an admission that would have surprised absolutely no one, as the Israeli programme has essentially been regarded as an unspoken fact for decades.
Discussion of Israel’s nuclear programme is whitewashed entirely from mainstream media in the US and Europe, while Washington’s aiding and abetting of the Israeli nuclear programme (going back, according to some sources, to the 1950s) is in fact a violation of both US and international law.
It is worth noting of course that Iran’s programme is claimed to a peaceful one, devoid of a military component; whether this is true or not (and I acknowledge it might not be), the Iranians have at least been open for a long time about having a nuclear programme, unlike Israel which has gone to extreme lengths to protect its secrets. Israel is also one of only a few nations refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It is impossible to know just how big Israel’s nuclear arsenal is; but given that it is already armed to the back teeth in terms of just its conventional warfare capabilities (a military arsenal hugely disproportionate to the country’s size), one has to imagine its nuclear capabilities are substantial. Some analysts suggest Israel already has the mass-destructive capability to eradicate the entire Middle East; and this is a nation, let’s remind ourselves, that is currently being investigated in the ICC for War Crimes in Gaza and a state that, among other things, has launched several unprovoked and undeclared attacks on the besieged Syrian government in the last three years.
For all this, however, a war with Iran – probably over its nuclear programme – seems to be a pre-planned part of the agenda for the next US government in 2016. Hilary Clinton has already openly stated she is willing to go to war with Iran; but it doesn’t matter if she wins the presidency or not, the agenda will still be in play, because it *has* been in play since the Bush-led Neo-Con coup was in office and declaring Iran, inexplicably, as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ – one of the dumbest, most incoherent and brazenly aggressive speeches in the history of US Presidents.
Remember the treasonous letter the Republicans wrote to the Iranians, telling them that Obama’s peace initiative would simply be vetoed by the next American government once his term was up? They were essentially telling Iran that the war is coming, regardless of what Obama does. But Obama’s Iran initiative, entirely at odds with the Neo-Con agenda and Right-Wing American interests, is clearly an attempt by the Obama camp to prevent another war, even if it means falling out with Israel and the Saudis and even if means outraging a huge portion of the American political machine.
Unlike the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq, however, in the case of Iran it may be that the US can avoid looking like the ‘unjust aggressor’ by simply waiting for Israel and the Saudis to initiate the aggression and then coming in on the side of its regional allies. And this would be despite the fact that Iran has been cooperating with Western officials in regard to the nuclear talks and has been on the ground fighting against ISIS/ISIL in Iraq.
The stakes, however, would be dramatically raised by the Saudis acquiring a nuclear weapon. If they do, then both of Iran’s biggest enemies in the region will be a nuclear threat and Iran will have absolutely *no choice* but to pursue a weapons programme even if it means breaking agreements; and the very real potential will exist of the Middle East conflict going nuclear. And for that matter, if Iran does break agreements, the US/Neo-Con establishment will then have the grounds it needs for moving in militarily. It looks like a perfect trap.