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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 

Itchy Trigger Finger

David Bernstein over at Volokh has a post today about future Israel-Iran "relations".
My contribution is that I just returned from Israel, and I found a remarkable consensus in favor of doing whatever is necessary to stop Iran (a consensus no doubt solidified by Iranian threats to annihilate Israel, and recent vicious anti-Semitism emanating from the highest rank of the Iranian government).
Things have been heating up in the Middle East (not that it's ever very lackadaisical there). Iran has missiles capable of hitting Israel. Iran is working feverishly to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has threatened Israel. Iran's president has recently called the Holocaust a lie. Seems a little troubling, doesn't it?

Bernstein believes that Israel will attack Iran. If I was laying down a bet in Las Vegas about this right now, I would agree with him. The Israelis have no problem using force when they believe that they are threatened. They also have no problem being ostracized by the international community. Remember that in 1981, Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear facility in Iraq. At that time, everyone in the world, including the US, condemned the action. A decade later when Operation Desert Storm was underway, I think we were very glad that the Israelis acted when they did. What will the results be? Bernstein mentions Hezbollah (or Hizbullah if you prefer Bernstein's spelling) being used as Iran's arm to strike back. With all of the internal issues in Lebanon in the past year or so, I'm not convinced that they have the will or ability to restrain Hezbollah and prevent attacks on Israel. If Israel then puts various kinds of pressure on Beruit, the Syrians may see that as an opportunity to regain some of the influence they've lost in Lebanon recently. There is also the minor issue of a large chunk of the US military sitting in the middle of this.

I guess my point is that this could get very bad, very fast. I certainly hope that it doesn't. I still feel that if the Israelis feel like a nuclear Iran is a threat to their security, they will act. The fallout (no pun intended) of such an attack is unknown.

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