Tuesday, January 26, 2010
25 January '10
During the Cold War serious protocols were set to protect the Americans and Soviets in case of a first strike and even more vigorous protocols were in place regarding how to respond to it. Unlike conventional weapons, nuclear weapons are countervalue weapons, which do not distinguish between civilian and military targets - they will destroy all.
There has been a great deal of discussion on the prevention and deterrence of a nuclear strike on Israel by Iran. Most assume the missile would originate from Iran. But with US airpower in Iraq and Afghanistan, multitudes of Awacs and electronics in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, and with NATO ships with sophisticated electronics positioned in the Persian Gulf, it is doubtful that missiles could make their way from Iran to Israel. However, missiles could easily be launched from locations much closer to Israel. There is so much instability in the region that it would be easy for a rogue nation to entice one or more proxies to act on its behalf.
While Iranian plans for nuclear self-sufficiency were born in the early 1970s and are the focus of a great deal of national pride, achieving nuclear capability during President Ahmadinejad's tenure is said to be a mandate of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC). With the IRGC's significant influence and control over the Iranian economy, security, public policy and military, the goal will undoubtedly be reached.
We cannot ignore the potential uses for this nuclear capability once it is developed. Perhaps one of the few things that could shift Iranian public opinion regarding weaponization of nuclear power, and cascade the current public opposition to the regime, would be a large-scale accident in one of IRGC's many nuclear facilities. This is a significant risk as the IRGC is rushing to get there and may be cutting corners in the process.
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