Friday, January 06, 2006

The Iranian Problem

It's not making much news in America it seems, but Iran's coming acquisition of nuclear weapons is prompting some gloomy predictions of what comes next.

Part of the "no news" has been a recent trip by high level American administration officials to Turkey, widely assumed to be securing permissions for flyovers and staging if action in Iran becomes necessary. Until Sharon's stroke, it was assumed that Israel would be taking action against Iran as they did in the 80's against Iraq, with US blessing.

The article and discussion linked seem to think the appropriate model is Europe in 1918, but I think it's more like Germany in the mid-30's. Iran's leader is open, defiant and unapologetic in his desire to see Israel erased from the world and the Jews exterminated. The American media may demurely look away, hoping he's not really serious, but the evidence is that he is. We can nervously pretend he's not a wolf, but given a chance he, like Hitler, will go for our jugulars.

We in the West tend to forget that Iran is the modern day successor state to the ancient Persian civilisation, which has controlled most of the Middle East throughout history. I don't think Iran has territorial ambitions, but I do believe they have economic ones.

Read the discussion. It tends to the spectacular and apocalyptic, but there's a lot of meat to chew on. This year looks to be The Year of Tenterhooks.

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