+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Tehran assassination: Marching obediently to war with Iran

The whole world knows the Mossad was likely behind the latest killing of an Iranian atomic scientist; the Iranians are swearing revenge, and nobody in Israel sounds bothered.

Vibrant democracy, huh? Not one peep has been heard from any Israeli journalist or politician or public figure of any kind against this latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, which everyone on earth understands was probably carried out by the Mossad. (The only other possible suspect, the U.S., denounced the killing as “provocative and dangerous.” On the previous day, Israeli military chief Benny Gantz told the Knesset that 2012 would see more of these “events that happen unnaturally” on the Iranian front.)

Wednesday’s assassination in Tehran of  Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, was at least the fifth lethal attack on Iranian nuclear scientists and installations in the last seven months. Even the Americans are now saying that we’re playing with fire, while the Iranians, who usually pretend these things are accidents to avoid being shamed at home into retaliating, are calling out Israel and hollering for revenge. Yet in this country, everybody who has anything to say publicly about this latest killing and the ones that preceded it are all applauding.

Roni Daniel, the gung-ho military affairs “reporter” for Channel 2, said these attacks “are delaying the Iranian nuclear program, but they’re not stopping it,” putting on his best ominous expression to convey that the only thing that will stop the Iranians is a good war. Ronen Bergman, the more subtle but still plenty hawkish intellgence reporter for Yedioth Ahronoth, enthused that after watching their colleagues getting picked off one after another, “Not a few scientists on the Iranian nuclear project have asked to return to academe.” Alex Fishman, Yedioth’s military commentator, blew off the Obama administration’s objections as “hypocrisy, crocodile tears, empty words.” Even in Haaretz, the one comment on the assassination was positive, coming from intelligence pundit Amir Oren: “The cyclists carrying the explosives really were messengers… they were sending a message to the authorities in Iran.”

This wall-to-wall support for the use of force is nothing new around here, unfortunately. Everybody in Israel knew we were going to raid the Mavi Marmara, and I don’t remember anybody objecting except Haaretz’s Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, the only prominent journalists who dissent anymore when it’s time to lock and load. The same unanimity was behind Operation Cast Lead, and very nearly the same behind the Second Lebanon War.

Now it’s happening again. Assuming it is responsible, the Netanyahu government either believes it can blow up Iranian nuclear scientists every month or so with impunity because the Iranians are afraid to hit back, or it’s deliberately trying to provoke an Iranian retaliation to give it a pretext for war.

Either way, the government appears to be acting with insane recklessness that could set off a cataclysm with Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, maybe Egypt and who knows who else. And this whole country, all 7.8 million citizens of this vibrant democracy, are sitting back and watching it happen.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. aristeides

      I wouldn’t be too sure elements in the US government didn’t give a quiet OK to this operation. Thanks to AIPAC’s congress, it’s now almost impossible for the US to legally negotiate with Iran, forcing us inexorably down the road to confrontation.

      If, as some have supposed, the assassination was committed by MEK terrorist agents, this suggests US involvement, as MEK is a covertly US-backed group.

      Laura Rozen quoted a WINEP neocon as admitting to the strategy:

      “”I think it’s heading towards confrontation,” Clawson said. “The whole point from the beginning is if we put pressure on the regime, the Iranians will crack at some point.”

      So far, at least, there’s little sign the strategy is yielding the desired result. The Iranians to date have responded to the prospect of the tightened financial sanctions on the country’s oil sector with an announcement of the launching of operations at the fortified, underground Fordo nuclear enrichment facility–together with sporadic threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. “The Iranians are screaming and yelling and upset and threatening,” Clawson said.

      So why isn’t that a sign that the U.S. strategy is failing?

      “It’s a lot better to have a fight” that Iran provokes, Clawson replied, before adding: “Better to enter World War II after Pearl Harbor, and World War I after the sinking of the Lusitania.”

      So the strategy isn’t failing, it’s succeeding in forcing Iran to act in a way they can consider a casus belli, provoking war. If Netanyahu gets hit by a bus while crossing the street, it will be blamed on Iran and used as an excuse to start the bombing.

      Reply to Comment
    2. “Right now it is considered important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capabilities but it is only a marginal and side issue. The major issue is that because the US, France, Russia, Britain, China, Israel, India and Pakistan openly or discreetly possess and produce “legitimate” nuclear weapons, the international community, including the UN and International Atomic Energy Agency, have lost any moral basis for demanding that any state, including Iran, refrain from developing its own nuclear arsenal, not to say to give legitimacy for its invasion, even is regime constitute a on long run a danger against the humanity. NPT is passé and useless.
      Before threatening Iran, what humanity desperately needs is a process of denuclearization of all countries without exception. Then we will have the moral basis to demand the denuclearization of Iran.”
      Baruch Kimmerling

      Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      I’m not entirely prepared to give the Mossad all the credit. There’s just as likely a chance that the CIA, MI6 or DGSE carried out the assassination (even though the method is eerily similar to how mob hits are carried out in this country).
      Remember, this is an election year and as Jon Stewart quipped on the Daily Show on Wednesday, “Iran don’t f**k with America during an election year! Are you crazy? Obama could be forced to attack you just to stop the Republicans from calling him a wimp!”

      Reply to Comment
    4. John Yorke

      This latest assassination can do nothing except inflame a situation already burning out of control and rising in intensity. With Israel being widely regarded as the most likely culprit and some suspicion falling on the US as well, tension in the region has been ratcheted up almost to breaking point, one more notch added to the stresses and strains of a potential meltdown in the making.

      So where is the control? Does it still exist? Has it vanished from the scene and been replaced by the over-hyped myth of sanctions and lots of sabre-rattling from each contender?

      With Iran as an aspiring nuclear power, Israel an existing one with the US as its somewhat reluctant shield and the EU doing its usual headless chicken act, all the players here look to be skating on very thin ice. Not exactly the best place to be when a blazing inferno threatens to engulf the surrounding area.

      There is now a pressing need to establish a much cooler climate, to calm matters down. Way, way down. But how?
      Unfortunately, now is not the best of times to be calling in the fire department. The US has just entered full election mode, Israeli administrations always seem to be in that condition and Iranian authorities, after their ’09 fiasco, must be fearful for their own prospects in ’13. With such a state of uncertainty in the air, it’s hard to fathom how the present state of affairs can expect resolution from any quarter.

      Maybe a good, general hosing down with some very, very cold water from a permanently open tap would ease the temperature somewhat; possibly enough to quench the flames entirely, leaving only a few burning embers to remind us all of how very precarious everyone’s position had suddenly become.


      Reply to Comment
    5. liz grant

      The above is so true but it will be so much bigger,most of us are praying soom of us are just waiting.i just pray to see it,

      Reply to Comment
    6. After reading this article I finally saw the light. Israel must stop the covert war against Iran’s nuclear weapons. What’s the big deal? So they’ll have the bomb and one day they’ll blow us our of existence. So what?
      No, we have to change our policy. We have to ask the Iranians, very politely, to stop building their nuclear weapons. We have to beg them to stop threatening Israel with destruction. I am sure that after reading the above article they’ll become good, peaceful people,the ayatollahs will become pro-democracy and pro-Zionist, and will disband their nuclear installations. Why didn’t I think about this before?

      Reply to Comment
    7. iaia

      up to now the US are the only country that used the nuclear weapon against civilians. You can be sure that Iran would never bomb a place that hosts some of the most important Islamic sites. Moreover, as Kimmerlins (and Luitsz) said, “Before threatening Iran, what humanity desperately needs is a process of denuclearization of all countries without exception. Then we will have the moral basis to demand the denuclearization of Iran.”

      Reply to Comment
    8. aristeides

      The drive to war against Iran isn’t about Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. This is just a smokescreen, as “weapons of mass destruction” served as a smokescreen for the US invasion of Iraq. It’s all about refusing to accept a powerful, independent, oil-rich state in the Mideast.

      Iran is perfectly reasonable to want a nuclear deterrent. In fact, with a belligerent nuclear neighbor like Israel constantly threatening it, Iran deserves a nuclear deterrent. Such a deterrent is considered a “threat” by Israel because it means it could not attack Iran with impunity. Which would mean in effect that Israel would not attack Iran.

      By far the SAFEST option would be to make sure Iran does acquire its nuclear deterrent. This would ensure Iran’s sense of security. By far the worst outcome would be to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity, which would fill it full of insecurity and the desire for revenge. At the least, this would result in terrorist attacks and other covert operations. At the worst, such attacks would be seized on by Israel and/or the US as the excuse they have wanted for an all-out war on Iran, a war that would have the possibility of becoming a nuclear WWIII.

      Reply to Comment
    9. John Yorke

      @ Engelbert L, Iaia and Aristeides,

      If it’s really a question of waiting on some global denuclearisation or an Iran/Israel deterrent parity to arrive, then I fancy, when that time comes, the running total of dead and dying will be of truly epic proportions. And surely it is this factor, first and foremost, that must occupy our minds and so direct our actions and not the risky prospect of an uncertain peace in some far off never-never land.

      That has been the problem from the very beginning.
      Uncertainty. There is too much to be had at the moment and more of it would appear to be on the way, driven not least by this latest incident in Tehran.
      But remove a large enough measure of uncertainty from the future and it can then be faced, even determined with a fair degree of confidence. And we do this how?
      By the crafting of a fundamental break in its continuity, we finally end this vicious cycle once and for all and, with vigilence, may not have to witness its like ever again.

      If we are to save the lives of those destined to be taken from us in the days, weeks and years ahead, our thoughts must fix upon what we can achieve now and not expect a distant tomorrow to provide the answer.
      Therefore, the need is to impart a massive amount of certainty into these proceedings; nothing less than the full imposition of our collective will must drive the matter forward, knowing for certain that, as one door closes forever, another opens and will remain open for as long as we would wish to have it so.


      Reply to Comment
    10. aristeides

      John Yorke: If you want certainty, the most certain act would be for the US to supply Iran with its nuclear weapon and establish its deterrent with certainty.

      Reply to Comment
    11. John Yorke


      I’m OK with that. Not sure how the Americans might view it. Or the Iranians.
      What I’m not OK with is the time it would take for deliveries to arrive: practicaly an eternity if I’m not mistaken.

      That will be much too long for the next unfortunate about to lose his life over this business or the life of that of a loved one. The fundamental point is this: what will it take to saves those lives?

      Reply to Comment
    12. aristeides

      John Yorke – It would take a courageous act by some major nuclear power to declare a pact with Iran that they will retaliate with armed force against any unprovoked attack on it. In other words, to make WWIII the cost of supporting Israeli aggression.

      And hope they don’t take it as a bluff. The option is deficient in certainty.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Richard Witty

      I think the Iranian development of nuclear weapons is a threat, to Israel, to the Gulf States, to all that consume fossil fuels materially in their economies.

      I think that a feared Iranian response of attacks on civilians, either through the agency of Hezbollah, or Iranian weapons directly, or even proxy events in remote locations, would be the end of Iran as a prospective international power, if it does anything to engage the US or NATO (including Turkey as member).

      Closing the Straits of Hormuz for example is a threatened red line, a collective punishment on to the world for what would likely be a limited targeted assault on token targets, as communication, not as war.

      There are just two issues at stake relative to Iran:

      1. Topical – Its persistence in enriching nuclear fuel beyond the 3-5% stage required for fission reactors. China and Russia have agreed to confidently provide 20% enriched uranium for research and medical purposes. If that is confident, then to enrich uranium beyond that point is a deception of their statements that they are only engaged in nuclear fission, and don’t seek either ambiguous/transitional stage to weapons, or obvious transition to weapons.

      The question of whether Israel can live with a nuclear Iran is a different one.

      It is also unlikely that Israel or US, or NATO or anyone would undertake a broad military offensive against Iran.

      The fear is that they will escalate on their own initiative, responding to a precise militarily targeted strike, with a collective punishment “deterrent” strike on civilians in some form.

      The line between whether Iran is deterrable or nutcase theocracy. Noone knows. The experiment has not been conducted.

      2. The long-term issue is Iran’s continued strategizing for the gradual hastened dissolution of Israel, “wiping it from the map” (in the expedited “sands of time”).

      Iran has and does threaten to directly aggress on Israel. Today, Hezbollah announced that it will not reduce its arsenal, that it will continue its “resistance” efforts. Resistance against what currently?

      BOTH themes should be revised by Iran. Its true that in any “this” instance, Israel should not stimulate the cycle of escalation of war. AND, so long as Iran does not fundamentally change its policy regarding its goal of hastening the dissolution of Israel in “the sands of time”, it will remain an active enemy, and some instance of war will occur.

      My sense is that Iran does listen to western dissent. So long as western dissent focuses its rage on Israel alone, and not also seeking to communicate to Iran that we don’t approve of escalation to war, that it will perceive that as a blessing.

      I know its a danger, that who will perceive what as a blessing for war.

      If criticism is only directed at Israel, that will be picking a side, a blessing of Iranian permission to war, which is a blessing for the escalation to war.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Aristeides,

      When nuclear weapons can be linked in with almost every flare-up and cause of contention around the world, it’s like taking a sledgehammer to crack open a walnut. It may very well work, of course, but it can hardly be described as the most sophisticated or desirable method in existence. Indeed, the nuclear umbrella settles nothing of note; it merely provides for a stay of execution in the hope that the situation will improve over time. Which it can sometimes do but usually far too slowly to be ever considered good practise.

      One would expect that other options might be called upon before deciding on such drastic action.
      But what might such an option be?
      Why not summon up the most powerful weapon of them all; the human mind, the human capacity to figure the best way out of even the very worst situation?

      Given the length of time that matters in the Middle East have gone from bad to very bad and then some, it reflects not at all well on humanity that there is still no fixed direction towards a solution, no consistency of purpose or light at the end of what appears to be a very long tunnel.

      Surely, between all of us, we must be able to handle things a lot better than we have so far. Otherwise, these conflicts will just go on and on, with very little to show for all the misery, death and treasure demanded by their continued presence.

      So, let’s do away with them and consign their terrible burden to the dusty pages of history.
      I can think of no better place for them.
      Can you?

      Reply to Comment
    15. Tzila

      We should all in the world but specially in the Middle Orient, go out to the streets and demand a general denuclearization ,
      and to Israel specifically , to respect the rules that other nuclear countries “do ” .

      Reply to Comment
    16. Tzila,

      I agree with your strategy but tactics count for more in such an ambitious enterprise.

      I think it’s high time we all decided to make some new rules, better and stronger than the ones we have now. The old rules tend to be broken very easily in this part of the world, especially when there’s no one around to enforce them.

      Ultimately, the great danger now is for all this to degenerate into an old-fashioned, knock-down, drag-out fight to the death and Devil take the hindmost.

      Some things change in human beings; some things remain much as they have always done.

      We’ve split the atom, walked on the Moon, explored the Universe, girdled the Earth in nanoseconds. We have conquered in all areas except one. Ourselves.

      And, for such small, weak creatures as we are, I find that fact more than a little difficult to grasp.

      Reply to Comment
    17. aristeides

      John Yorke – elimination of all nuclear weapons would be the ideal solution, but that djinni isn’t going back in its bottle. Plato addressed the problem you outline – akrasia: the human mind knows what is right but lacks the will to do it.

      So the challenge is how to exist and survive in a nuclear world.

      As I’ve already said, the question of Iranian nukes isn’t the real issue, it’s just an excuse. If Iran weren’t pursuing nukes (or couldn’t be accused of it), its enemies would find some other excuse to attack, just as they did in Iraq. I’ll point out that, while the US nukes killed at least 200,000 in Japan, conventional weapons like guns and bombs and flamethrowers accounted for ten times that number of Japanese deaths. The species is quite capable of mayhem and atrocity without the help of nukes.

      Reply to Comment
    18. zayzafouna

      I hope all of us support a nuclear armed Iran. A nuclear armed Iran would deter the US from subsequent middle east misadventures such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Secondly, they would force “israel” to obey the UN resolutions that are designed to whittle it down to size, and that Obama would love to enforce, but cannot

      Reply to Comment
    19. John Yorke “The old rules tend to be broken very easily in this part of the world, especially when there’s no one around to enforce them.”
      That’s the whole idea behind colonialism isn’t it? Either civilize or exterminate the brutes.

      When Iran was ruled by a brute dictator, not surprisingly backed by Israel and the US, Israel actually helped them build nuclear facilities. Until the people’s revolution.
      If you trust Israeli crackpots with nukes and deny them to Iran, you must have a peculiar agenda.
      And as Aristeides said, we don’t need them. After Hiroshima, the US has continued slaughtering millions of people, either directy or by proxy. So far it’s their greed that’s responsible for most of the mess in this region, not Iran.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Ken

      The U.S. has denied involvement in the scientist’s murder but you are incorrect about the context for the “provocative and dangerous” comment you quote. The phrase (which is actually “dangerous and provocative”) was used by Secretary Clinton to characterize Iran’s threats to close the Straights of Hormuz. The quote appears in stories in which the Secretary is talking about both the murder and the Iranian threat, hence, perhaps, your confusion.

      Reply to Comment
    21. John Yorke

      Aristeides, Engelbert L,

      Those figures for non-nuclear deaths in Japan are sometimes a point overlooked by many of us in this post nuclear age. It might have been a very different story had both sides possessed the ‘bomb’ at that time. But, with a savage conflict having been fought across most of the Pacific for four long years, negotiations to end the matter more conventionally never really stood a chance.

      Scale that time up by a factor of 16 and we then have the present Israeli/Palestinian stand-off; no end in sight and the few negotiations that do take place never going anywhere. Even the deployment of actual atomic weapons, should that occasion ever arise, might only furnish a marginal slow-down in hostilities; the bluff, which is all that the threat of a nuclear exchange amounts to these days, could be called with relative impunity and the battles would still continue; only the risks for all of us would be that much higher.

      It follows that the solution here must be to employ an ‘equivalent’ form of nuclear warfare where there is never any need to bluff. The whole thing is made completely autonomous; hardly any human agency involved. This would have all the combatants and troublemakers rigid with fear while still leaving the rest of us without a care in the world. If certain people then step too far out of line, a massive (virtual) retaliatory strike can come their way and this, you can be sure, they will do anything to avoid; they might even get around to throwing away every offensive weapon they possess, the nuclear ones as well.

      With such an overall reduction in tension, the groundwork for a permanent settlement of so many issues can then be laid and, before you know it, there is peace throughout world.


      All so very easy when you know how.

      Reply to Comment
    22. John Yorke

      Engelbert L,

      What if the whole world decided to bring some new rules into existence and was then prepared to enforce them over even the most strenuous of Israeli, Palestinian and Iranian objections?

      Could that still be classified as colonialism?

      Reply to Comment
    23. aristeides

      John Yorke – I prefer a more realistic assessment of the situation. We have a sole exceptionalist superpower with active plans for world hegemony, a superpower with not only a the 2nd-largest supply of nuclear weapons but a specific military doctrine of maintaining sufficient military force to defeat all the military force of the rest of the world, if allied against it. This same superpower also possesses sufficient economic power to pressure most other nations into acceeding to its demands.

      We have this nuclear superpower with a longtime hostility to the state of Iran and with its policy largely controlled by a paranoid state to which it has committed unstinting support.

      These are not nations of good will. They have almost all the cards. What realistic plan can you propose to convince the superpower to abandon its policies of committment to Israel and hostility to Iran?

      Reply to Comment
    24. zayzafouna

      What realistic plan can you propose to convince the superpower to abandon its policies of committment to Israel and hostility to Iran?…work for a second term Obama. That is our best hope

      Reply to Comment
    25. Well, Aristeides, you might recall that, these days, the Superpower is not quite as super as it once was. What with Iraq and Afghanistan still on its hands, it has been feeling the pinch pretty badly these past few years.

      The Americans have also been caught up in the economic downturn that has gripped most of the developed world. Smaller fish also. France and Austria have just had their credit rating reduced and, as for Greece, the situation there can hardly be described as business as usual.

      So, if there is any way to significantly reduce the economic drain on US resources, such a course of action would prove very popular, especially so at this time; 2012 is election year in the States.

      If President Obama was able to effect a huge saving in overseas expenditure, I feel sure his countrymen would be suitably grateful come November.
      What better way to effect this than by cutting military and financial support to Israel. The rationale would as follows: there is now a new ball game in town. Admittedly it’s mostly a psychological one but it means that the threat to that country’s existence has been massively downgraded and thus the need for monetary and military back-up is no longer there.

      As far as America is concerned, the slogan ‘It’s the economy, Stupid’ is even more relevant today than it ever was.
      Also Israel would feel more secure and its own costs can be that much less than before. Palestinians and Israelis are then much better placed to work out their differences and all is suddenly right with the world. Even Iran would have to respond in some positive fashion so as not to feel left out.

      One other alternative would be to have the Almighty Himself/Jehovah/Allah come down and sort the whole thing out in person. Of course, that might have some real disadvantages for all of us.:)

      Reply to Comment
    26. John Yorke


      I think I would agree with you there.
      Looking at the Republican candidates currently vying for nomination, I feel Obama must be a shoo -in for the presidency.
      But let’s not forget that a lot of Americans voted in Mr. Bush.
      It can be a funny old world sometimes.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Richard Witty

      Iran is a nation of “goodwill”?

      What are the 40,000 (+/-) rockets directed at Israeli civilians only, in Lebanon?

      Reply to Comment
    28. Richard Witty

      What will change the relationship between Iran and Israel is the important question.


      Any ideas Zayzufana?

      Or, should Israel just disappear?

      Reply to Comment
    29. Richard,

      I would say that, if we all became a little bit smarter and just a fraction cleverer than we are now, many of the problems that beset us would disappear virtually overnight.

      Reply to Comment
    30. John Yorke,
      I don’t think “the whole world” will be able to do anything. What everyone can do though, is to live by the same rules they set for others. And for this education is critical. Fear of the unknown is deeply rooted in our biological heritage.
      So to stop falling into the traps of Breivik’s extended family, we should open up to other cultures instead of becomming Sparta-like islands of fatal power.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Richard Witty

      I’m not sure why anyone expects Israel to act nice so long as a large and powerful and wealthy nation (Iran) actively urges that Israel be removed from the map, and acts to hasten that “natural process”, by funding, arming, training, ordering proxy militias with massive arms aimed only at civilians.

      Why is Iran initiating aggression on Israel, 800 miles away. Israel is no natural threat to Iran. Why does it undertake proxy militias?

      Reply to Comment
    32. Richard Witty

      Why is Iran escalating its arsenal, and why is it developing weapons capable of attacking 1500 miles away?

      Reply to Comment
    33. Richard Witty

      And why has Iran ever been actively associated with terror against Jewish civilians anywhere?

      Its a question.

      The reason that Israel would undertake targeted assassinations against Iranian nuclear military scientists is clear to me, an answer that I am not clear about.

      I don’t understand Iran’s aggression, and I don’t understand why those that seek peace are not demanding that Iran stop nuclear enrichment beyond the 5% necessary for a nuclear power plant, just in the interest of avoiding war?

      Reply to Comment
    34. ‘Fear of the unknown is deeply rooted in our biological heritage.’

      This a truth well in evidence since Man first crawled out of the caves or climbed down from the trees. The only thing that supplants it is a clear and present danger, something that commands our more immediate attention and focus.

      The ‘whole world’ can do a great deal if sufficiently motivated and shown a direction that leads somewhere other than to a dead end.
      We have already had far too many of those.

      What we really need is a system that actually delivers a result, not the same old runaround we’ve grown used to over so many years.

      Reply to Comment
    35. aristeides

      John Yorke and Zayza – I regard your faith in Barack Obama as misplaced optimism. Too many people are clinging to the unfounded and foolish notion that once Obama wins a 2nd term he will morph into the figure he falsely portrayed during the 2008 campaign.

      Anyone concerned, as everyone ought to be, about the threat of war with Iran should hope for a complete US economic collapse. There is one and only one factor that will trump AIPAC warmongering in Congress, and that is the fear of a spike in oil prices, of gasoline prices reaching $10/gallon or more. This is one outcome the US taxpayer simply will not stand for. And the weaker the US economy, the more vulnerable it is to such pressure.

      But failing such an outcome as this, the world isn’t going to come to the side of peace, no god is going to descend to impose peace, no sudden spiritual revelation is going to convert the warmongers of the world to peace.

      Reply to Comment
    36. John Yorke

      Always keep in mind, Aristeides, that unless a solution – and I do mean a solution- is found and has a fair chance of providing some containment for problems in the Middle East, more men, women and children are going to die simply because the rest of us cannot focus on one fixed plan of action, no single direction along which to proceed.

      1.Waiting for the economic collapse of the US is too uncertain an option for anyone to contemplate seriously.
      2.Another war in a third/fourth Muslim country is probably one too many for Uncle Sam right now.
      3.Oil prices are very much governed by Saudia Arabia and US interests. Since Iranian oil may be soon subject to an embargo of variable effectiveness , military adventures against Iran might produce some very unfavourable reviews.

      In the end, it is much better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.


      Reply to Comment
    37. aristeides

      Yorke – go ahead. Name your candle. Outline a realistic plan for peace with some chance of immediate success.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Aristeides,

      Let me ask you a question here and you need not answer if it is your wish not to do so.
      Are there any circumstances in which you would kill or deliberately injure another human being?

      There are some that have been generally (but not universally) accepted as reasons for such action.

      I.In self-defence, following an unprovoked attack on yourself or someone equally blameless.
      II.In time of war, as an officially designated combatant fighting the enemy.
      III.In order to end the suffering of someone experiencing the pain of unendurable agony or terminal illness ( Euthanasia).
      IV.The execution of a person lawfully convicted of a crime so serious that the penalty for it must entail the loss of his or her life.

      Are there any other situations where you might find yourself actively involved in the death or injury to someone else?

      There is a reason for asking this question but it can best revealed only if an answer is forthcoming.

      Reply to Comment
    39. aristeides

      Yorke – Yes, I would take a life under several of those circumstances and others. Who do you want me to go kill?

      Reply to Comment
    40. Aristeides,

      I don’t want you to kill anyone.

      What I want to know is how you would feel about killing someone under circumstances such as those outlined or these ‘other’ ones that you mention.

      Would you enjoy the experience? Is it something that you would recommend to friends and family for instance?

      Reply to Comment
    41. aristeides

      Yorke – I don’t think my personal feelings about killing have much connection to the possibility of your proposing a realistic plan for peace with some possibility of success. You’ll have to go fish in some other pond.

      Reply to Comment
    42. John Yorke


      The point I am pursuing here is that you, along with 99.99% of human beings would naturally prefer not to kill or injury anyone, even under conditions where you felt morally and legally obliged to do so.
      In other words, you would find no pleasure in the process and would prefer alternatives that were the equal or better than those demanded by circumstances such as those previously listed.

      So, let’s try again using slightly different scenarios.

      I. You, or someone you love and respect, are being attacked by a person who is quite small in stature. He may have a large stone with him, intent on causing some injury to you or your companion. However, as you’re much bigger and stronger, you know that you can easily overpower and disarm him.
      Do you kill him under these circumstances?

      2. In a battle between two armies, it happens that a single soldier advances towards you. He has no weapon other than a small knife. You, on the other hand, are possessed of a quite a lethal collection of armaments, each one capable of dealing out instant death and destruction over a wide area. This lone soldier does not scare you in the slightest. You can take him out at any time.

      Do you kill him under these circumstances or call upon him to surrender? Or, if that doesn’t work, do you just shoot him in the leg in order to stop him advancing any further?

      3. A person is terminally ill and dying in great pain. You have the option to terminate this life or use a new type of medication that may prolong it for several years and in fairly moderate comfort.

      Do you hasten his or her ending or do you extend that life as much as possible?

      4.You are presented with the choice of executing someone who appears most deserving of this fate but a term of imprisonment for the remainder of his or her life is an equally suitable alternative.

      Do you choose execution or imprisonment?

      One reason why, after 64 years, there is still no settlement of the central issue regarding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict has been the lack of choice presented to those more immediately involved.

      If you are born an Israeli, you inherit a troubled land where too many disputes are still determined by violence and not by justice. So too, if you are born a Palestinian. Any other options you might have are severely limited by the situation in which you find yourself.

      What both sides have always needed is a thoroughly legitimate fall-back position, a raison-d’etre for saying no to those who see everything in terms of a life or death struggle.

      ‘No, I’m not going to harm anyone today. Even though they may deserve that harm and it seems to be the right thing to do, I, nevertheless, will not do it.’
      Why not?
      ‘Because, by harming them, everyone knows that I may be the cause of inflicting far greater punishment on myself and all those around me. The option, therefore, to stop such activities is one I now choose and I choose it for the simple reason that it will be best for me and mine to do so.’


      How do you make a big problem very, very small.

      You do this by placing it within the shadow of an even bigger one.

      Reply to Comment
    43. aristeides

      There is no practical proposal in what you say. There is no plan that will prevent war from breaking out. You’re up in an ivory tower spinning clouds.

      Reply to Comment
    44. John Yorke


      War is not a disease.
      It cannot be transmitted in the way a virus or an epidemic spreads itself.
      It must be sanctioned first by men who see or sense in it a better or a preferable alternative to what peace can achieve.

      Only much later does peace return and this is usually when men have reluctantly abandoned the battlefield to the dead and the dying. Abject defeat and one side’s almost total loss of any offensive or defensive capability is the most common signal for the halting of such terrible waste in human lives.

      Such defeats occur often after much time has passed. In the Middle East, generations have come and gone and still an end to violent struggle there appears no nearer.

      As mentioned previously, Aristeides, Japan during WW2 was only ‘persuaded’ to surrender by the dropping of two atomic bombs and this after years of pitiless struggle. Otherwise, at least one more year was in prospect before the US and her allies could be certain of victory.

      The question that arises then is this.
      Is it ever possible to speed up wars to the extent that their conclusion can be made in the fastest time possible? Speed here might save many lives and much destruction. Normally, this can never be the case since the cessation of war generally demands a victor and a vanquished. And there have been very few societies who would hurry to become the latter.

      But what if that decision was never theirs to make? What if something else could determine the outcome and take precedence over all the martial prowess and military might that usually does the job?


      In place of the more familiar ‘lightening war,’ why not try for a ‘lightening peace’ instead?
      I mean, how hard can it really be? Certainly no harder than waging war itself. In all probability, it might be a damn sight easier and there would be a lot less of a mess to clean up afterwards.

      Reply to Comment
    45. John Yorke

      Sorry, Aristeides, – must be getting tired. For ‘lightening’ please read as ‘lightning.’

      Reply to Comment
    46. Wasis sulaiman

      Where and when Iran make agression to her neighbour ? Is Israel Nuke leggaly ?

      Reply to Comment
    47. John Yorke

      Nuclear legality? Now there’s an aspect that’s rarely, if ever, taken into account.
      Is the possession of nuclear weapons legally justified? Are there any specific laws applicable to their ownership? Do nations need to have a license before being allowed to manufacture them?

      I rather suspect there is no legal framework that caters for such questions.
      Perhaps it would be a very good thing if there were.

      Indeed, it might be very advantageous to humanity if a legal challenge could be issued against all owners of nuclear and non-nuclear weaponry as well. The list, I feel sure, would be a long one.

      It may be a bit late in the day for laws to try tackling these matters, the present nuclear ‘club’ never being ones to openly question their ‘right’ to own and deploy such armament. (The ‘boys with toys’ syndrome somehow comes to mind here).

      But a case could be made and enshrined into international law whereby penalties, for any offensive use of even the most basic instruments of warfare, could be handed down and action taken. A whole catalogue of infringements and similar illegal activities might then be addressed in a more efficient and satisfactory manner than obtains at present.

      And, if there was one law I really would like to see placed on all the statute books throughout the world, this would definitely be it.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Click here to load previous comments