Friday, September 21, 2007

The Middle East's Gathering Storm

"Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it." But those who study history are also condemned to repeat it apparently. Despite the clear warning signals, it is not likely that effective action will be taken to stop Iran. This is because, as in the case of Hitler,  the risks and the cost will appear to be too great until it is far too late. In retrospect of course, what should have been done may be perfectly clear. Insurance is always too expensive until after the accident happens. Storm windows are always too much of a chore to install until after the storm comes.
Ami Isseroff

The Middle East's Gathering Storm


Posted 9/20/2007

War On Terror: Iran, on the path toward nuclear weapons, says it's drawn up plans to bomb Israel. Syria, meanwhile, is working with Iran to arm missiles with chemical warheads. Will the world heed these danger signs?

In "The Gathering Storm," his history of World War II, Winston Churchill recalls how President Roosevelt once asked for suggestions about what the war should be called. "The Unnecessary War," Britain's wartime prime minister replied. "There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle."

The world today is seeing the gathering of forces that, if allowed to coalesce, could unnecessarily and avoidably leave multitudes dead.

In Iran, for instance:

• Deputy air force commander, Gen. Mohammad Alavi, announced that "we have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers" in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran, such as an attempt to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

• Having announced that it has reached the key threshold of 3,000 centrifuges, Iran may now be able to make enough nuclear material in a year to construct an atomic bomb.

• Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran's Islamofascist regime and a holocaust denier who says he wants Israel wiped off the map, apparently will not be allowed by New York City to visit the Ground Zero area during his trip to the United Nations next week.

Like his other acts and statements, Ahmadinejad's request seems designed to provoke outrage from Americans. Is his apocalyptic Shiite belief in the coming of a 12th imam to fight a war against the antichrist behind his repeated "asking for it" from the West?

• Iran will fire 600 Shihab-3 missiles at targets throughout Israel in the event of an attack on either Iran or Syria, according to the Jerusalem Post.

• Former President Jimmy Carter says we shouldn't take the Iran threats seriously. "I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel," he said.

Many of Churchill's critics said the same about Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But apocalyptic fanatics have been known to be suicidal, and Carter, of course, has been wrong about Iran before.

As for Syria:

• The recent raid in northeastern Syria by Israeli F-15s may have been directed against a factory where North Korean nuclear material was stored (see editorial below).

• The State Department official in charge of nuclear nonproliferation policy last week publicly confirmed the presence of North Koreans in Syria and said he "wouldn't exclude" a possible connection to disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan's supply network.

• The Israeli raid came three days after a ship with North Korean cargo docked in Syria. Israel thinks it carried nuclear materials.

• Jane's Defence Weekly reports that among the dozens apparently killed in the blast two months ago at a secret Syrian military installation were Iranian engineers who were helping the Syrians develop chemical weapons.

The publication quoted Syrian defense sources who said the explosion happened during tests to equip a Scud C missile with mustard gas, a violation of international law.

Too often, the relative peace and prosperity that the civilized world enjoys encourages complacency. The real ways for free countries to prevent a large-scale war are: 1) Be prepared to fight a war by building and maintaining adequate defenses, and 2) Recognize and eliminate obvious threats before war becomes inevitable.

Iran, Syria and North Korea are almost certainly working together on weapons of mass destruction. These terrorist states will either use them themselves or give them to Hamas, Hezbollah or even al-Qaida to use.

Churchill also expressed the "earnest hope that pondering upon the past may give guidance in days to come." History is guiding us to act against the gathering storm in the Mideast — before it's too late.


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