Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If Iran Gets the Bomb

Martin Kramer is a fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, the Washington Institute for Neat East Policy, and a visiting scholar at Harvard University. He is the author of "Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America".

The following article which is based on an interview with Mr. Kramer, gives a deep, detailed analysis of Iran and their influence in the Middle East. The entire article is worth reading, as there is a lot of useful and germane information, but here are a few quotes:

If Iran Gets the Bomb

I sought out Martin Kramer in Jerusalem because I knew he would give me an analysis well outside the box on Iranian nuclear weapons. He’s a scholar, not a politician or pundit. And while he certainly has his opinions, he doesn’t conveniently fit into anyone’s ideological category.

I was not disappointed, and I don’t think you will be either. What he has to say is different from anything you’ve read from anyone in the media, including me.

MJT: What do you think Iran would actually do with a nuclear bomb?

Martin Kramer: The Iranians have a structural interest in creating doubt and uncertainty in the Persian Gulf. They have a larger population than any other Gulf state, and they don’t have the share of oil resources that Saudi Arabia has. So their first objective would be to create a climate of uncertainty.

Now, the Persian Gulf has been — since the United States took over from the British — a zone that is essentially under an American security umbrella. It is as crucial to American security as Lake Michigan.

MJT: You’re talking about the Arabs here.

Martin Kramer: Yes, the Arabs. And this creates a dynamic where if Iran also has nuclear weapons they will increasingly hedge. Things they allow Americans now — such as basing rights for operations in the Persian Gulf and beyond — will become more and more difficult to negotiate if Iran opposes them. So we would see an erosion of the American position in the Persian Gulf.

I think Iran is a lot less interested in justice for the Palestinians than in establishing their command over the gulf they call Persian.

A nuclear Iran would create strategic calculations for Jerusalem that weren’t there before. There were always other strategic calculations for Jerusalem, but this would create a powerful new one. What would the Israelis and Palestinians discuss at the table once that became a factor?

Linkage is a big issue, but there’s a debate over which way linkage runs. Some say a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would make it much easier for the United States to deal with Iran. But I think the absence of a solution to the Iranian nuclear dilemma places a high premium on Israel holding if not the totality of the occupied territories, at least a sizable bit of real estate around Jerusalem as a strategic reserve.

I say this as someone who has always believed there would be some way to compromise over Jerusalem, but when I see the prospect of a nuclear Iran on the horizon threatening Israel, I say to myself that I want as many of Israel’s strategic, demographic, industrial, and technological assets in and around the city as possible.

There are many different questions and answers in this article and they are all interesting. This article also underscores just how volatile the region is, and how deep and complex the political maneuverings are at all times. Its not surprising that it will take someone like the antichrist to finally confirm a covenant in the region - even though it will end up being just a temporary fix.

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