The flare-up between Israel and Iran has progressively gotten worse over the past six months and, with the events that took place at the UN General Assembly, it is clear that an Israeli preemptive strike is becoming more imminent. While addressing the UN, Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, appealed to the General Assembly to stop Iran before their nuclear capabilities are complete. In Israel, many believe that if Iran becomes armed with nuclear weapons, the Iranians will not hesitate to use those weapons against Israel. To Israel’s credit, they may be right. There has been constant vitriolic and dangerous language coming out of Tehran in which leaders have vowed for the destruction of Israel.
If there were ever a time for Israel to launch a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, it would be now. There would be enough support from a few key countries for Israel to successfully carry out an operation in Iran. Saudi Arabia has quietly made it known to Israel that Israeli jets would have full access to Saudi Arabian air space to launch an attack on Iran. And the U.S., which has been reluctant to support an attack on Iran by Israel, would undoubtedly provide support to the Israelis in the form of logistics and equipment.
By taking a look at previous preemptive strikes, Israel has reason to be confident in successful results from an attack on Iran’s nuclear manufacturing sites. In 1981, Israel attacked Iraq’s nuclear facilities after Saddam Hussein had publicly declared that his country was developing a nuclear program. The strike was successful and even though Israel was condemned by the international community at the time, it was later praised by world leaders during the Persian Gulf War. Another example would be in 1967 during the Six-Day War in which Israel launched a preemptive strike to prevent its sovereignty from being violated.
The same goes for the rest of the world. Most democratic countries don’t want to live in a world in which Iran has nuclear capabilities. What Israel does not want is a multi-front war in which it is fighting against Iranian retaliation and attacks from Hezbollah. In 2006, Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets into northern Israel and killed almost 50 people. It is likely that Israel would have to counter these missile strikes by placing forces at the northern Lebanese border and hope to be able to destroy rocket launch sites. The situation can evolve into a multinational conflict that draws in countries from outside the Middle East.
Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel are again being told that a strike on Iran is not appropriate right now. Even as the Iranians continue to threaten the existence of Israel, the world is urging Israel to remain patient and allow time for the sanctions and negotiations to work in Iran. Iran, however, isn’t showing any signs of backing away from their nuclear program, and Israel will not back down either.
Ultimately, the situation comes down to whether Israel believes that they can coexist with a hostile neighbor that has weapons of mass destruction. The answer to this question is an unequivocal and resounding “no”. Israel is tired of a wait-and-see approach and it is much more likely that we are going to see a strike against Iran sooner rather than later.
Kaushik Rao is a sophomore Political Science and Economics double major from Yorba Linda, Calif. He is a staff writer for TheNews-Letter.