CUMALİ ÖNAL

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CUMALİ ÖNAL
February 12, 2012, Sunday

US, Israel will not attack Iran

The winds of war, which have blown in recent years between Israel and Iran, have reached a new dimension with the tension over the Strait of Hormuz.

While Iran threatens to seal off the strait, Israel’s supporter in the region, the US, asserts it will not allow this to happen and will intervene if necessary. As for Israel, with the support of the press, it is trying to gain the maximum advantage it can from the situation. In the meantime, Western nations are having a hard time holding Israel back from attacking Iran.

For years now, Iran has used some Palestinian groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah against Israel. In response, Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons, threatens Iran, which is also trying to make its own nuclear weapons, with attack.

Without much care for the blood flowing in Palestine, Iran continues to try and radicalize Palestinian groups, alleging that in doing so, it is actually supporting an important cause in the Islamic world. But the very same Iran also simply stands back watching the blood flow in Syria, lending clear and open support to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Iran, which labels Syrian opposition forces tools of foreign powers, stood by the revolutionaries in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt by claiming the people in those countries had “taken their inspiration from the Iranian revolution.” Tehran, which has also never said anything about the Azerbaijani lands under Armenian occupation, has in fact been Armenia’s strongest friend in the region after Russia.

And so, as Israel finds strength from the crises in the region, Iran presents an unparalleled opportunity. Every time Iran proclaims, “We will destroy Israel,” it provides a new source of happiness for Israeli leaders. That’s because what these declarations in fact do is provide new opportunities to construct new settlements or to place the Palestinians under more pressure. In short, both of these nations, Iran and Israel, know how to use each other very well.

Alright -- but could Israel really, with the support of the US, attack Iran, as some argue, or could the US go directly to war with Iran as the result of increasing tension in recent months?

The following is always said in the Middle East: Significant powers always build their policies according to 50 years in the future. In other words, analyzing the events of today based only on the conditions of today is a big mistake.

As the region tries to redesign itself of its own volition, Western powers re-stake their own positions based on these moves, and all sorts of new scenarios are implemented.

In the meantime, all sorts of fronts portrayed for years in the region as threats are, in fact, now coming to power. And while major Western powers said nothing when the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which was overwhelming victorious in democratic elections in 1991, was crushed by a military junta that year, now they say nothing as movements similar to FIS come to power in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.

There can be little doubt that some significant national powers, first and foremost many Western countries, are made very uncomfortable by the spread of parties that tend toward Islam -- a trend that began in Turkey -- throughout the region.

After all, these are the same powers that have controlled much of the region for over 200 years and who, when parties that are both religious and nationalistic are in power, will have a difficult or even impossible time making regional leaderships do their bidding.

And when you add to this the economic and political warmness that will develop in the region between these leaderships, the situation becomes a true nightmare for Western nations and other significant powers.

Alright, so how will these aforementioned powers protect their strength and influence in the region? How will they try and prevent new unions from springing up between regional countries?

The US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, which began in 2001 and in 2003, either intentionally or accidentally served the cause and interests of Iran. The excuse for entering Afghanistan was al-Qaeda, whose very existence, not to mention its leadership cadre, was questionable. At the same time, the reason for invading Iraq was chemical weapons, which turned out not to even exist.

The only real result from the US entry into these countries was the leaving of the countries with enormous problems, the likes of which could never be solved. Though it theoretically entered Afghanistan to fight against terror, what the US will leave behind in that region is two countries that experience terror every day, which leaves countless dead: Afghanistan and Pakistan. And while it officially pulled out of Iraq around this past New Year’s, what we have now is an Iraq literally split into three parts.

These results really only benefit Iran. Prior to the American invasion, Iran was literally squashed between Pakistan-Afghanistan and Iraq. But now, it has become the greatest power in the region. Did the US and other Western nations not know that when the regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq were overthrown, Iran would emerge as the winner?

And so we have today an Iran that acts not only as the final authority on the Persian Gulf but which is also on the verge of becoming a real voice in the goings-on in the eastern Mediterranean. Iran’s name is on tongues everywhere, from Iraq to Lebanon, from Bahrain to Yemen.

Will such an Iran really allow stability to come to the region or let strong ties develop between Sunni nations? The answer is no: Iran, which throughout its long history has gone to war only with other Muslim nations, will do as it has done for centuries now and forge new alliances with Western nations while preventing ties from developing between Sunni ones.

As a result then, neither Israel nor the US will want to see the elimination or even heavy damaging of Iran by staging attacks, as it is a nation for which they will have a need in the future.

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