Monday, June 29, 2009

Iran, "the magic key" and the Samson Option

Now that the Iranian demonstrators are almost ground under the heel of the Revolutionary Guard, we, simple spectators in the West can take stock of the situation and reflect on where the Middle East is headed now. While the protests for electoral integrity are heartening to most democrats, the flame that sprung to life seems now spent. Though the catalyst of this expression was state sponsored event, unlike Tianemmen Square, the end result seems much the same. While there was much hue and cry via new media, on the dominant state media the song of hate remains the same. Strangely, for one, this whole episode might seem a welcome respite.

If you're President Obama, you have to be happy. The electoral protest has bought Obama needed time to try to browbeat Israel some more or to offer more sweet words to Iran in hopes of a some face saving "peace in our time" agreement. Some have felt that the reticent and self-critical reaction offered by Obama initially was a ploy. By hanging back rhetorically, Obama gave the odious Iranian regime p.r. breathing space to crush the protesters. This theory continues that Obama wanted to create a p.r. debt so that the Mullahs essentially owe him one. Having given them something the President now has a chit in the Iranian favor bank.

I don't quite buy this notion. I don't doubt for a moment that Obama would leave the brave protesters in the lurch. After all, this was a man who denied the Iraqi surge after it succeeded. If he would play politics when the lives of American soldiers are at risk, why wouldn't he cynically use foreign protesters?

The real stumbling block in this theory is that it assumes Obama is naive enough to believe he could extract some sort of viable deal from Iran. Woodrow Wilson was duped into believing the he could get the concessions he wanted in the Versailles Peace Treaty, but that was by his allies not his enemies. To believe Obama would strike a deal with the America-hating nuclear jihadists seems a stretch since any deal would be violated instantly. The fallout from such a deal gone sour could cost Obama his second term. That is his one overriding priority. This doesn't mean the Arabs won't try to sell the snake oil of a phony deal anyway.

Many deals seem to be floating around the Middle East these days. Saudi Arabia was recently trying to push a deal when Obama was in the Kingdom recently. (for the second time in less than six months) According to Saudi media, King Abdullah ordered Obama "to solve the Palestinian issue and impose a solution if necessary." You can bet Obama promptly bowed and scurried from the room. Still, he'll have a tough time finding the so called "magic key." This "key" is what some Arabs believe will solve all the problems of the Middle East. It encompasses the favorable settlement of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

What is favorable to most Arab governments just happens to be not so favorable to Israel. Some Arabs favor the instant destruction of Israel (Iran, Syria, Yemen) or the slow dismemberment of the Jewish state through repatriation. (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt) Unfortunately, Benjamin Netanyahu has no interest in any deal that allows the Arabs to ship any number of Palestinians real or ersatz into Israel. Unlike the United States, Israel built a wall. That solved the people problem, but not the rocket barrages. However, the small conventional rockets are nothing compared, the nuclear jobs Iran has in mind, but here too Netanyahu has a defense of sorts. It's called the Samson Option.

You see, though the U.S. press (perhaps still obsessed with all things Obama) never mentions it Israel is a nuclear nation. How many bombs and what kind are obviously a closely guarded secret. We do know however that they work. In the 1980s, Israel tested a nuclear device off South Africa, courtesy of the then racist Apartheid government.

The most important aspect of the Samson Option is the saying "never again" Having suffered mass slaughter at the hands of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 40s, the resolution that the nation of Israel was founded on is explicit. Any threat of a new Holocaust would be stopped with all due swiftness and certainty by whatever means possible. The Jews, themselves, would die as a race fighting rather than be killed via the manner of the Nazis. Samson was killed when he tore the building down, but all his enemies were destroyed as well. In nuclear terms, this means Israel would obliterate all countries that pose a threat if Israel were attacked with nuclear weapons. Paralleling the biblical story, though she would perish, Israel would destroy the entire Middle East if attacked.

I guess Iraq and Afghanistan might get a pass due to U.S. forces present, but all other countries would get flattened. Harsh? Absolutely, but this is part of what has allowed Israel to survive all these years, not "tough negotiation." Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD has kept the peace, until the rise of a fanatical Iran. Now, today, we have in Iran, people desperately trying to change course. If they succeed, the Middle East may take a path away from nuclear holocaust. If not, then there is only one deal left. It is the Samson Option.

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