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Mordechai Kedar: Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, and the Iranian Octopus

Demonstrators march in support of Bashar al-Assad's regime

Demonstrators march in support of Bashar al-Assad's regime
Photo Credit: Matanya Tausig/Flash90

On the other hand, Israel is not an oil or gas superpower (yet), and therefore getting mixed up with Israel serves no useful purpose for Iran. The damage that Israel might cause to Iran could be fatal, according to the “copy and paste” rumors that claim that Israel has between 200 and 300 nuclear warheads. I don’t know if Israel has even one, but on the Internet there are reports about hundreds. Moreover, Israel has proved in Lebanon (2006) and in Gaza (2008-9) that sometimes it loses its cool and fights back “disproportionately.” The Iranians fear that it may be too dangerous to mix with a state that may have between 200 and 300 nuclear warheads and sometimes loses its cool, and in comparison to the Gulf, nothing good will come of war with her. Therefore, in my opinion, Israel will not appear on Iran’s list of targets, at least not among the primary ones. The states of the Gulf are on this list, though, whether because of the profits that Iran can reap from conquering them, or because of the low price that Iran would pay for conquering. Israel is on the list of secondary targets, together with Turkey, North Africa, and Europe.

Israel understands this consideration and so – in my opinion – there is no immediate reason for, and therefore no chance of, an Israeli military strike. Iran is a far greater problem for the Gulf – and the world at large – than it is for Israel. Israel will not sacrifice itself on the altar of the Ayatollahs in order to rescue the Gulf and the world from the Iranian problem. The Iranians also do not believe that there is a real argument between Dagan, Barak, and Netanyahu about attacking Iran. They are sure that this whole public argument conducted in Israel’s media is intended only to ring the world’s alarm bells and wake the napping Europeans as well as those sleeping in the White House, and that actually, Dagan, Barak, and Netanyahu have divided up the work between them, like “the good cop and the bad cop”. Since when does Israel conduct a public discussion about a military plan?

And speaking of short-term goals, there is another strategic goal that Iran is planning to implement in the near future: Afghanistan, its neighbor to the East. The moment that the foreign forces leave this failing country too, Iran will take control of it using its well-known methods – murder, terror, bribery, and fear – and all the treasures of Afghanistan will fall into the hands of Iran, exactly as it happened in Iraq. This takeover would also be a delicious historical plum for the Iranians, who will have succeeded in conquering a country that the British, Russians, and Americans, each in their own turn and time, failed miserably in attempting to conquer and exploit.

And when Iran obtains nuclear weapons it will succeed in intimidating the world, it will complete its takeover of the Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and will continue its journey westward to Egypt and North Africa, Israel, Turkey, and Europe.

Syria today is the key to the future of Iran: if Asad’s regime survives, Iran will be encouraged and will continue with its global octopus-like plan; and if Asad collapses, Iran’s progress westward will be halted and it may sink into internal dissension over who is to blame for the failure in Syria. These disagreements may split the ruling class and bring it to total collapse. Therefore, for Iran, the war over Syria is critical, with an element of “to be or not to be,” which explains the massive Iranian investment in the shoring up of Asad.

Whoever wants to bring  Iran down must support those rebelling against Asad. Erdogan in Turkey, King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Hamed al-Thani in Qatar, and King Abdullah in Amman have understood the matter and what they are doing for the rebels in Syria may save them and the Gulf from the Iranian octopus. The question is how much time will it take for the sleeping Europeans and the dreamers in the White House to understand the reality of this complicated Middle East, and when will they begin to take action in order to bring Iran down?

Originally published at http://israelagainstterror.blogspot.com/2012/04/mordechai-kedar-syria-iraq-gulf-and.html

About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.


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