Iran War: The Risks And The Consequences
One of the biggest unknowns in global politics at present is the matter of whether the US and/or Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent the country from developing the atomic bomb.
Every now and again, reports crop up in the international media that the US is reinforcing its aircraft carrier presence in the Gulf region or that Israel is conducting military exercises in preparation for a strike on Iran.
Nonetheless, in a special feature article titled Iran War: The Risks And Consequences, published today in Business Monitor Online, my colleagues and I argue that the US and Israel will refrain from an air attack on Iran between now and the end of 2012. While I do indeed believe the risks of a strike are rising, BMI still deems this to be less than 50% over that timeframe. We believe that the US does not have the appetite for military action any time soon, even if President Obama withdraws more troops from Afghanistan and Iraq in 2011. In addition, Washington is well aware that the consequences would be disastrous for the region. That said, we also state in the article that Israel feels much more threatened by the prospect of a nuclear Iran, and may essentially take matters into its own hands, regardless of any US objections.
Beyond 2012, my colleagues and I are reluctant to rule out any US or Israeli action, and we do see the risk probability rising. Much will depend on how close Iran is perceived to be in terms of developing the atomic bomb. Clearly, as Tehran draws closer to weapons capability, there may come a time when the US – whether under Obama or a Republican president – may feel the need to act, regardless of the consequences. This is even truer of Israel.
The feature article we have published also discusses the following topics:
- The reasons why Iran appears to be developing nuclear weapons
- Whether or not Iran is an existential threat to Israel
- The risks of a new nuclear arms race in the Middle East
- The factors affecting the US’ decision-making
- The factors affecting Israel’s decision-making
- Iran’s response to any airstrike
- The consequences of an airstrike on Iran’s domestic political scene
- The international reaction to an airstrike
- Other options besides war and containment
- What Iran might look like after a ‘war’ against it has ended
Overall, this is as comprehensive as its gets.