A nuclear Iran would be a clear and present threat to pro-US regimes in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, would lead to a violent, regional and global slippery slope, thus severely undermining the US economy and national security.
A top official from Bahrain told me, at the office of a senior member of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, that “Saudi Arabia and Bahrain expect the US to alter its policy, and resort to steps which are required to remove the Iranian nuclear threat.” A national security advisor to a senior member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee shared with me that “Pro-US Persian Gulf leaders are panicky about the rising Iranian nuclear threat.”
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf regimes – which are considered apostates by Teheran’s Ayatollahs – are aware that, unlike nuclear Pakistan and North Korea, the Ayatollahs of Iran have imperialistic-megalomaniacal aspirations to dominate the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and (at least) the entire Moslem World.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States realize that “effective sanctions” is a contradiction-in-terms, since Russia and China, as well as India and Japan, and probably parts of Europe, do not cooperate with the US. Forty years of diplomacy and sanctions have paved the road to a nuclear North Korea and are paving the road to a nuclear Iran.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States presume that the current multi-lateral policy towards Iran leads to a lethal slippery slope, featuring a belligerent nuclear Iran; a meltdown of pro-US Gulf regimes; a breakdown of the oil supply system; a collapse of global economies; an escalation of nuclear proliferation in the Middle Eat and beyond; a radicalization of Islamic terrorism against traditional Muslim regimes and Western democracies; an eruption of local, regional and possibly global wars; or, a submission by pro-US Gulf regimes and Western democracies to Iranian demands.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are convinced that a unilateral US policy is required to prevent the slippery slope. They vie for a massive military preemption – with no boots on the ground – to devastate Iran’s nuclear, air defense and missiles infrastructures, minimize Iran’s retaliatory capabilities, and preclude the calamitous ripple effects of a nuclear Iran.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are concerned that avoiding military preemption would further erode the US posture of deterrence and military power projection, which constitute the backbone of their national security. It would fuel fanaticism on the Arab Street, and would doom pro-US Saudi and Gulf regimes.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States assume that a decisive military preemption – with no ground troops – is a prerequisite to a regime change, which failed in 2009 due to Western vacillation. One cannot expect the domestic opposition to defy the Ayatollahs, while the US and/or Israel refrain from defiance. In 1978 and 2011, the US deserted the Shah of Iran and President Mubarak, thus facilitating anti-US regime change. In 2012, a military preemption would expose the vulnerability of the Ayatollahs, providing a significant tailwind to a pro-US regime change.
During the 1960s, the US failed in its attempt to appease Nasser and snatch him from the Soviet Bloc. It was the 1967 Six Day War – and not US diplomacy – which devastated Nasser and aborted his efforts to topple the pro-US regimes in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
In 2012, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States expect the US to recoup its posture of deterrence and avoid past critical errors, which have jeopardized their survival and have advanced the nuclearization of North Korean and Iran.
Will the US fulfill such expectations by altering its policy? Or, will the US sustain the failed policy of sanctions and diplomacy, which will force Israel to preempt, in order to avert a clear and present danger to global sanity?
Originally published at http://bit.ly/MI3MpqYoram Ettinger
About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.
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