Cole: Ten ways an Israeli strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
An Israeli F-15 fighter jet takes off during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots in the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva on June 30, 2011.
February 6th, 2012
11:47 AM ET

Cole: Ten ways an Israeli strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel

Editor's Note: Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.  The following is reprinted from his blog Informed Comment. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Juan Cole.

By Juan ColeInformed Comment

What's the worst case scenario of an Israeli air strike on Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities? Below is what I came up with. I think each of these scenarios is plausible in its own right, and that all could well ensue.

1. Iran is now threatening to strike at any third country in the region that aided Israel in an airstrike on Iran. The aftermath is therefore likely to be further conflict in the region.

2. Oil prices will spike. I imagine you could easily see $150 a barrel or maybe even more. This development could throw the U.S. and Europe back into deep recession.

3. Hezbollah would likely launch rockets, causing at least severe inconvenience to some 1/4 of the Israeli public, which might well have to move house again, and possibly much worse if Hizbullah is able, as they claim, to target toxic gas storage in Haifa or even the reactor at Dimona with modified Chinese silkworms.

It is not clear that the Israeli public would appreciate all that trouble; they didn’t, in former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s case (his 2006 Lebanon war was extremely unpopular and his party is no longer in power). A Hezbollah official said on Sunday that Hezbollah would be willing to go to war with Israel if Syria were attacked, so it seems likely the same thing would hold true with regard to Iran.

4. Israel would destroy Lebanon infrastructure in revenge for Hezbollah rocket attacks.

5. The Syria uprising would be over with. It would be impossible for the Syrian National Council to continue to oppose the government and risk being tagged as genuinely Israeli agents. The Baath would be consolidated in Syria.

6. An Iran-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut axis would be strengthened, allowing for resupply of Hezbollah capabilities. Beirut would be pushed into arms of the new axis. Gulf oil states and Iraq and Iran would quickly rebuild Lebanon.

7. Iraq would be radicalized. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq would have to support Hezbollah and Lebanon or risk losing face inside al-Da’wa and losing backing in parliament of Sadr, al-Hakim and other Shiite religious forces. Al-Maliki has already given, as a reason for supporting al-Assad, the danger that Israel will take advantage of turmoil in the Fertile Crescent. Iraq would likely use its oil wealth to help rebuild Lebanon and al-Maliki’s Islamic Mission Party (al-Da’wa al-Islamiya), which helped create Hezbollah, would strengthen relations with it. You could see cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army supply men and arms to Hizbullah in Lebanon, as well.

8. The European left and liberals would be horrified and unlike in the past could well take action. Remember that the scenario is that Israel, having gone rogue and poisoned Isfahan and maybe other populations with toxic chemicals and radioactivity, went on to destroy Lebanon’s airport, harbor, electricity plants, oil refineries, roads, bridges, etc.

Ireland, Norway, and possibly some other European governments, plus large numbers of European civil society organizations and unions might well slap economic boycotts and sanctions on Israel (50% of Israel’s trade is with Europe).

Significant negative measures by the European Union are not impossible, including in area of scientific and technological exchange. In my view, the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in Europe would become a wave and once that happens, it could have a long term impact on the Israeli economy.

9. The region’s diplomatic dynamics could be changed. The possibility exists of a rupture between Israel and Turkey. It is also possible that Egypt will terminate the Camp David peace accords. The Egyptian military won’t care about the strike on Iran, but the Egyptian public would be horrified by that and by the likely third Lebanon war. The Muslim Brotherhood, now dominant in the Egyptian parliament, would have to react strongly or risk losing credibility in the eyes of the Egyptian public.

10. Over succeeding years, significant Israeli out-migration could occur by Israelis with sufficient education and training to find jobs elsewhere, who became convinced that the Middle East will just never settle down and be a pleasant environment for them.

This development would strengthen the internal position of the Palestinian-Israelis and possibly of the Haredim (who are probably more committed to staying and toughing it out), and weaken the Ashkenazi secular elite. Ironically, Barak has admitted that some of the impetus for preventing a nuclear Iran is to forestall this out-migration scenario, but he doesn’t seem to realize that a strike on Iran could actually have a similar demographic outcome if the region doesn’t take it lying down.

It seems obvious to me that if all these developments actually occurred,they would be much worse for Israel than if Iran actually did start a weapons program and Iran and Israel replicated on a regional scale the Mutually Assured Destruction of the U.S.-Soviet standoff of an earlier era.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Juan Cole.

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Topics: Iran • Israel • Military

soundoff (458 Responses)
  1. IRQI SHIIE3A, IRAN AND HIZBOALLAH SENDING MONEY AND WEAPONS TO SYRIA GOVERNEMTN

    IRQI SHIIE3A, IRAN AND HIZBOALLAH SENDING MONEY AND WEAPONS TO SYRIA GOVERNEMTN

    TO GET RED OF SYRIAN REGIEME WE MUST START ATTACKING RUSSIA NOW BEFORE THEY ASK RUSSIA TO HELP THEM , WHEN WE CUT OF IRAN MONEY SUPPLIES WE WILL GET RED OF BASHAR, THEN WE MUST GET RED OF NORI AL MALEKI IN IRAQ AS HE IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN EVIL IRAN AND THE THUGS IN SYRIA GOVERNEMTN , IRAQI SHII3A ARE HELPING AL ASAD WITH MONEY ,OIL AND WEAPONS , AND SENDING MILITIS KILLERS...USA START ATTACKING IRAN NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.THERE ARE SO MANHY WAYS WE CAN DO

    February 9, 2012 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • ProudAmerican

      America is sending our taxes to Israeli terrorists. What is your point?

      February 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  2. AngryJew

    Israel’s Peace Camp: Hopeless Nazis
    http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/israels-peace-camp-hopeless-nazis/

    February 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • SkepticsRUS

      Is this Dr. Finkelstein credible? I have heard of him before. Is he the one who debunked the book "From Time Immemorial"?

      February 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
      • AgnosticsAnonymous

        Yes, he is. In America many of the important people in the writing business gave that book two thumbs up. It was Dr. Finkelstein who researched the book's references and found out that it was a pile of nauseating fiction. In it, supposedly, Palestine was barren before the European Jews arrived. There were other such lies but we now know, thanks to Dr. Finkelstein, that the book was a work of fiction at best.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  3. mSvidoba tkvenda

    So sad that none of you really believe in God .Otherwise you would have already acted or did not say anything at all.

    February 10, 2012 at 4:42 am | Reply
    • AgnosticsAnonymous

      I saw your "god" last time I got drunk. He told me that he had given me all of Nevada because I am one of the "chosen" people.

      February 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
      • JewsForJesus

        What was the God's name?

        February 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  4. IRAN=SYRIA=HIZBOALLAH=IRAQI SHIIA=EVIL=TERRORISTS

    ALLAH, YAHOWA, YA HAY PLUS 99 NAME OF GOD........ALLAH HATRE SHIIA AND HATE IRAN . ALLAH KNOW IRAN AND SHIIA ARE EVIL THUGS.
    THE TIME IS NEAR FOR THE END OF EVIL IRAN EMPIRE

    February 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
    • JewsForJesus

      What about the end of evil Apartheid Israel?

      February 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  5. IRANIANS ARE EVIL

    FK ALI FK HUSAIN FK ALJA3FARI FK KHOMINI FK AL SESTANI FK IRAN AND SHIIA OF IRAQ FK U ALL TERRORISTS MUSLIMS GET OUT FROM USA SHIIA THUGS

    February 11, 2012 at 1:17 am | Reply
    • IranianAmerican

      POTTY MOUTH.

      February 11, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • The truth..

      Hehehehe.. I know it's hard for you, because Iran is fking you up, And you know what? you just can't do anything about it. lol that's why you're swearing. Hehehehe .. It's okay keep on barking as much as you like, but deep down, you know that Iranians and all the shiias are winning and fking you in the assssss .. And that's a fact! They are the true heroes, made out of brave men, they stand against injustice... But obviously, you are being brainwashed by the Jewish media.. One day, you'll open you eyes, and you will know that Iran is a friend...

      December 3, 2013 at 10:18 am | Reply
  6. JewsForJesus

    Jesus is your savior. His teaching say: Do unto other as you would have done onto you. This means that Israel should not implement Apartheid laws that hurt non-Jews. Israel should not steal Palestinian land. Israel should not murder unarmed women and children.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  7. IBLOOD ON THE HANDS OF IRAQI, SYRIAN AND IRAN SHIIIA THUGS

    تجمع اهالي بغداد .. يستنكر مسلسل اغتيال الناس الابرياء التي تقوم به قوات الحكومة العميلة بين الحين والاخرفي معظم مناطق بغداد المحتله .. التي كان لها ولايزال شرف مقاومة الاحتلال الامريكي واعوانه الاذلاء خدم الصهيانية وخدم بلاد فارس ..

    شبكة المنصور
    الجبهة الوطنية والقومية والاسلامية – تجمع اهالي بغداد

    استنكر تجمع اهالي بغداد في لقاء صحفي على لسان متحدثه الرسمي .. الشيخ عبدالكريم الشمري والذي تحدث عن هذه الجريمة البشعة قائلا;

    مرة أخرى تكشف قوات الحكومية العميلة عن وجهها الكالح وعن انحدارها الأخلاقي والإنساني السئ الذي وصلت إليه تلك أجهزة العملية .. التي تجردت وتبرأت بعضُ عناصرها تماما من الانتماء للدين والوطن مؤكدين صدق انتمائهم وولائهم الى قم وطهران ..كونهم بالاساس عناصر من فيلق القدس الايراني واطلاعات ايران الاجراميه التي تغلغلت في اجهزة الجيش والشرطه.. وبقيت هذه العناصر حاميـًا وحارسـًا ومشاركاً لكل جرائم الاحتلال وسوطا يلهب ظهور الغيارى الأحرار في عراق الجهاد ومستهدفة الناس الابرياء وخاصة في مناطق حزام بغداد الجهاد .. مثل مناطق ابي غريب والرضوانية الغربيه و الرضوانية الشرقيه ومنطقة اليوسفية ومنطقة التاجي والطارميه والراشديه ومنطقة المدائن واخيرا ماحدث في منطقة هور رجب ,, و ماسيحدث في المستقبل القريب في مناطق بغداد الاخرى.. التي كان لها ولايزال شرف مقاومة الاحتلال الامريكي واعوانه الاذلاء خدم الصهيانية وخدم بلاد فارس..

    واضاف الشمري قائلا : لاغرابة في ان نرى اونسمع بين الحين والاخر جريمة قتل جماعية تستهدف الناس الابرياء الامنيين في بيوتهم في بغداد أوفي اماكن اخرى من العراق .. فهذا مسلسل مبرمج مدروس بعنايه تقوم به عناصر من فيلق القدس الايراني المسيطره على المفاصل الرئيسية لقوات الحكومة العميله والذي تتحرك بحرية تامه في المناطق التي تشرف عليها تلك القوات العمليه امنيا وبدعم من حكومة الهالكي العميله وعن طريق مايسمى بدائرة مكافحة الارهاب والتي هي اساسا منبع للقتل وللارهاب في هذا البلد الصابر.. وهذا ماحذرت منه الامانه العامة للتجمع في بيانها الرقم 128 بعنوان (بأي ذنبٍ يقتل العراقيين) من ان هناك مسلسل قتل جماعي مستمر في استهداف الناس الابرياء. ولا نظن يوما ان أفراد هذه الأجهزة وتوابعهم من المتورطين في هذه الافعال الاجرامية الدنيئة يتوقفوا عن القيام بها.. بل نحن في الامانة العامه لتجمع اهالي بغداد على يقين تام انهم مستمرون على هدر القيم والحرمات واستباحة دماء بناء شعبنا العراقي الكريم..!!

    واستطرد الشيخ حديثه قائلا : ثبت لنا باليقين التام بان جريمة اغتيال 25 شخصا من بينهم خمسة نساء من اهالي قرية البوصيفي في هور رجب منتصف ليلة الجمعة في الثاني من نيسان الجاري قد نفذتها عناصر حكوميه اقتحمت خمس بيوت بسيارات عسكريه نوع همرونفذت حكم اعدام جماعي باسلحه كاتمه للصوت .. ولااعتقد ان احدا من العقلاء في داخل العراق وخارجه يصدق الادعاءات المفبركه الباطله لحكومة الاحتلال برميها التهم المتكرره عند الانتهاء من كل عمليه اجراميه .. على مايسمونه بالمجاميع الارهابيه ..

    وفي ختام حديثه قال الشيخ الشمري : إننا في تجمع أهالي بغداد نستنكر هذا العمل الإجرامي الخسيس وهذه المجزرة البشرية الاجراميه البشعة .. ونطالب جميع أحرارالعالم اينما كانوا وكل الشرفاء الغيارى .. لاسيما الهيئات والمنظمات السياسية والإنسانية وجمعيات حقوق الإنسان ذات العلاقة في المنطقة والعالم بالوقوف الى جانب شعبنا العراقي الكريم باستنكاروادانة هذا العمل الجبان والدنيء ومحاسبة مرتكبيه وإلى تحمل مسؤولياتها الاخلاقيه والقانونية والانسانيه تجاه مايحدث من ظلم عظيم لابناء شعب العراق..! وأن يضعوا حداً لهذا التلاعب بمصير الشعب الآمن وبارواح الابرياء التي تزهق يوميا دون ذنب اومبرر.. كما اننا نحمل قوات الاحتلال الامريكي وحكومته العميلة المسؤولية الكامله على ارتكاب مثل هذه الجرائم البشعه ..!!

    ’’الله اكبر ’’الله اكبر ’’عاشت المقاومة الوطنية العراقية الباسلة ’’ عاش العراق العظيم’’

    رحم الله شهدائنا .. شهداء العراق .. شهداء فلسطين .. شهداء العرب والمسلمين

    الموت والخزي والعارالى المحتلين الغزاة وأعوانهم العملاء الأنجاس’’خدم قم وطهران ..

    February 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • IranianAmerican

      English please.

      February 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  8. BLOOD ON THE HANDS OF IRAQI, SYRIAN AND IRAN SHIIIA THUGS

    IRANIANS WOMEN ARE GOOD FK,, EXCELLENT PUS....IES AND THEY GICE THE BEST DOGY STYLE FK EVER....MOTA STYLE ...I LOVE IRAN WOMEN

    February 12, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • The truth..

      Obviously your mom was a good fk.. Iranian women are not as good as your mom.. Clearly you're being brainwashed by the media.. But it's okay, you love Iranian women, and I love your mom...

      December 3, 2013 at 8:39 am | Reply
  9. nori al maleki of iraq and bashar of syria are evil killers

    ـــــــــــــــــــــــ

    عودة المجرم الارهابي المدعو ( ابو علي البصري ) المستشار الامني لنوري المالكي

    ــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ

    بعد هروبه بطائره خاصه وبدون تاشيره الى خارج العراق بعد افتضاح عملية هروب الارهابيين من تنظيم القاعده المرتبطه باستخبارات الحرس الثوري وعددهم ( 12 ) ارهابي معتقلين في سجون القصور الرئاسيه في البصره حيث اشرف على عملية هروبهم الى ايران باشر المجرم ابو علي البصري في مهامه كمستشار امني لنوري المالكي بعد عودته السريه مع تكليفه بمهام جديده هي الاشراف على الخلايا الخاصه لحزب الدعوه وهي مليشيات مسلحه مقرها الرئيسي في محافظة بابل والجدير بالذكر ان ابو علي البصري تم تعينه مديرا للامن والمعلومات في مكتب المالكي بناءا على توصيه من قاسم سليماني كون المذكور عمل في جهاز السافاك سابقا وعمل فتره طويله في جهاز استخبارات الحرس وبعد تعينه كلف حصرا بالاشراف على عمليات التعذيب للسجناء من اهالي نينوى وديالى وضباط الجيش العراقي السابق والبعثيين المعتقلين في السجون السريه التابعه للمالكي وكان هذا المجرم يمارس التعذيب بحق السجناء حتى الموت وترمى جثثهم خارج حدود مجافظة بغداد .

    الخبر الثاني :

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    المرافق الشخصي لابراهيم اشيقر الباكستاني وحقيبة ( Emergency bag )

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    وردتنا معلومات من مصدر مقرب من مرافق ابراهيم اشيقر الملقب ( الجعفري ) مفادها ما يلي :

    سئل المصدر مرافق " الجعفري" عن سر حمل هذه الحقيبه عند مرافقته للجعفري في كل تنقلاته اجابه بما يلي :

    1- الحقيبه تحتوي على مبلغ قدره ( 200 ) الف دولار .

    2- اقلام ذهب .

    3- ساعات يدويه ثمينه .

    4- مستمسكات شخصيه خاصه بالجعفري ( منها عدة جوازات سفر ) .

    وتبين للمصدر من خلال الاستفسار من مرافق الجعفري ان حمل هذه الحقيبه تحسبا من وقوع امر طارئ وبدورنا نفسر هذا الامر الطاري ( تحسبا للشلعه السريعه )

    هؤلاء هم قادة العراق " الجديد " الحراميه ولا نستغرب ما يفكرون به لانهم اشباه رجال جعل منهم المحتل " رجال" .

    February 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • IranianAmerican

      English.

      February 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  10. Muin

    I read in a article that U.S did a 250 million dollar simulation project to find out that U.S would fail measurably in war with Iran. This kinda makes sense because Iran is nothing like Saddam or Osama. Actuary there is no comparison because those are made in america but America hardly have any solid intelligence on Iran. Even nuke story gets written in million different ways. That at least tell everyone no one have any clue what is going on inside Iran. So I can't really say whether I believe even U.S not Israel that they're ready for confrontation with Iran.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  11. comet

    One issue is war,one is the aftermath. Short term will probably be effective in airstrikes, however not as easy as many believe. Iranian subs will probably attack the carriers US have located in the earea at the same time the first bomb falls on Iranian ground. (yes they have such) are made in russia and are about 12 to 18 years old. In communication war ,each year is important but when it comes to sea battle its not really,these subs are a clear potential threat to the tree carriers US have there at the moment, it worked in WW1 and WW2 so why a 90-s sub would not be able to hit something thats large is beyound me. In terms of losses,a couple of thousend US troops will be in teh tub eventually and this is bad for us all ,as much of the carrier idea isnt so much about fighting as its about "potential danger" and a mean of pressure. Its like bismark, an old design and a very un-potential battleship in terms of what it cost and what it actually performed. If only one sub slips away its a fair chance it can sink one or two of the carriers as we talk full scale war now,and in war you do a duty -they would as any american would,and they dont have medieval weaponry as many believe. Its likely that a third of all aircraft is shot down so much of the "war" has to be done by missiles from far away,and cant be sent via Israel as its frankly too far. A single aeroplane wont ,in combat be able to reach iran and return without air fuelling and you just cant do that with 20 (which would be the minimum) easily.
    This means that an airstrike on Iran,however they might want it, is quite difficult and more of a bark than reality.
    Im saying this as an European, that everyone know no one will "win this" . A regime might fall ,but yet there will be fightings in decades ,and theres a fair chance that Israel will be wiped out along with the US troops as both russia and china has stated they will aid Iran if its attacked by Nato.

    So ,thousends of lives for what? A possible nuclear threat? well hello there im raised in the 70-s ..potential holochaust is implemented in our brains forever.

    Has Iran ever attacked anyone? No.
    Will full scale war be a possibility in the middle east ?: yes
    Will ANYONE in the region care a dime if Iran and Israel wipe eachother ? Sadly no. Iranians are persians,not muslims in that sence you might think,and are not at all friends with the neighbour countries , which Israel definatelly is not either.

    A new korea war is about to rise,and its time to swallow some pride and return to the table.
    Would US ever give up in a threat? ( i assume you say no) Let me then ask you ,no matter wich side you are on..would you believe Iran or Israel to give in ,without some kind of mutual understanding for eachothers cause?

    I do believe its gonna be war,and god help us ,this time it will be costly ,for Europe,for US and for the middle east. For what? a dictator that maybe,is building waeponry? (i bet he do) my point is that iran probably already have nukes ,old soviet ones ..will we know these wont be used?
    1 -and major part of israel is gone (its not so big as people think)..however its against iranian religion to kill .

    And thats where i set my hope,israeli kill a lot,iranians dont,maybe they can -but can has not happened yet..so we need a bit of faith.

    February 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
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