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.

Post by:
Topics: Iran • Israel • Military

soundoff (489 Responses)
  1. Ftghalkat

    research paper background online presentation cv writing services

    November 30, 2020 at 9:03 pm |
  2. Kwgdweep

    persuasive essay on why college athletes should be paid i suck at writing essays buy online essay cheap

    December 1, 2020 at 5:58 am |
  3. Fgswhilk

    global warming essay writing college essay help homework help mountains

    December 1, 2020 at 7:05 pm |
  4. JgscEndut

    help with an essay critical thinking high quality article writing service help writing a thesis

    December 2, 2020 at 3:34 am |
  5. Fsfalkat

    writing essays for scholarships mla essay college essay tutoring

    December 2, 2020 at 9:29 am |
  6. Fnrdalkat

    over night viagra usa viagra symbol generac viagra

    December 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm |
  7. Fqbfalkat

    cialis super active vs cialis cialis pay pal cialis professional 20 lowest price

    December 8, 2020 at 3:47 pm |
  8. Dvncwhilk

    cialis online no prescription generic cialis 30 pills 20mg purchase cialis online canadian

    December 8, 2020 at 9:38 pm |
  9. Fbsbalkat

    generic cialis australia cialis not working generic cialis

    December 9, 2020 at 2:06 am |
  10. Fgnswhilk

    cialis forum cialis no prescription arizona generic cialis

    December 11, 2020 at 12:33 pm |
  11. Fgrsalkat

    viagra without prescription australia viagra uk next day buy viagra with paypal

    December 12, 2020 at 3:26 am |
  12. Khedweep

    buy real viagra 365 pills viagra expiration how much does viagra cost with health insurance

    December 12, 2020 at 9:14 pm |
  13. Fsfgalkat

    viagra oline viagra from canida viagra w dapoxetine overnight

    December 13, 2020 at 8:01 am |
  14. Dvnjwhilk

    canadian pharmacies selling viagra to the united states viagra assistance program pfizer viagra accepts visa cards

    December 13, 2020 at 7:25 pm |
  15. JgsvEndut

    brandnameviagra but cheap generic viagra viagra prices

    December 13, 2020 at 8:22 pm |
  16. Fhsnwhilk

    low dose viagra how to get viagra viagra next day delivery usa

    December 16, 2020 at 11:27 am |
  17. 농구 베팅

    Best view i have ever seen !

    January 3, 2021 at 9:18 am |
  18. 예스벳88

    Best view i have ever seen !

    January 4, 2021 at 8:15 pm |
  19. Jtmfalkat

    us online pharmacy online pharmacy professional pharmacy

    January 9, 2021 at 10:07 pm |
  20. Nllpwhilk

    ed treatment pharmacy prices online pharmacy canada

    January 10, 2021 at 6:46 am |
  21. JlloEndut

    best drugstore makeup ed meds online canadian pharmacy viagra

    January 11, 2021 at 5:29 pm |
  22. Lokualkat

    global pharmacy canada online pharmacy viagra canadian pharmacy online

    January 11, 2021 at 9:50 pm |
  23. Fgvdwhilk

    pharmacies best ed medication pharmacies near me

    January 12, 2021 at 7:13 am |
  24. Khthweep

    canadian pharmacy cheapest pharmacy board of pharmacy

    January 13, 2021 at 2:04 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.