Editor's note: Mohammed Ayoob is University Distinguished Professor of International Relations at Michigan State University and adjunct scholar at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The views expressed in this article are his own.
By Mohammed Ayoob – Special to CNN
During the past few weeks the drums of war have been beating loud and clear. Prime Minister Netanyahu, during his meeting with President Obama and his speech to AIPAC, made it very clear that Israel reserves the right to attack Iran if it comes to it - even against the wishes of the United States. Ostensibly the difference between Washington and Tel Aviv seems to be on the issue of timing. This, in turn, is based on divergent interpretations of where the red line should be drawn in terms of Iran’s presumed nuclear capacity. While a highly subjective definition of “nuclear capability” appears to be the red line for Israel, “weaponization” or at least clear evidence of it is Washington’s preferred red line.
This semantic difference hides a fundamental disjuncture between American and Israeli approaches to the subject. Israel defines the red line in terms of its narrow strategic and political interests in the Middle East. Israel believes it is threatened by the perception, leave alone the reality, of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability. America, as a world power, has larger interests at stake both in the region and in terms of its image and credibility globally.
Editor’s Note: Mohammed Ayoob is University Distinguished Professor of International Relations at Michigan State University and Adjunct Scholar at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
By Mohammed Ayoob – Special to CNN
Recent reports coming out of New Delhi indicate that India does not intend to comply with the unilateral economic sanctions imposed upon Iran by the United States and the European Union. In fact, the opposite may be true. India may attempt to take advantage of new opportunities in Iran created by the sanctions imposed on oil sales and financial transactions by Western powers.
The Indian Commerce Secretary announced a few days ago, “We will be mounting a mission to Iran at the end of the month to promote our own exports. A huge delegation will be going.” While acknowledging that India was honoring the four rounds of sanctions imposed upon Iran by the United Nations, the Indian official made clear that India was not willing to go along with the American-European sanctions. He asked rhetorically, “Tell me why I should follow suit? Why shouldn’t I take up that business opportunity?” FULL POST
Editor's note: Mohammed Ayoob is University Distinguished Professor of International Relations at Michigan State University and Adjunct Scholar at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
By Mohammed Ayoob - Special to CNN
Some analysts have attributed the recent downing of a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone in Iran to that nation's increasingly sophisticated capability to launch cyber attacks. Others have dismissed the idea that Iran was capable of bringing down an RQ-170, arguing that Iranian air defenses do not have the capability to track an aircraft with radar-evading technology.
Either way, the incident clearly demonstrates American concerns regarding Iran's nuclear capacity, as the drone was likely sent over Iranian territory to spy on its nuclear program.
I find the argument that Iran is engaged in developing a nuclear weapons program credible. I am also convinced that Iran will not test a device, but rather will acquire the capability to produce a weapon quickly if its strategic environment deteriorates to such an extent that it feels it must.