A predominantly one-topic blog: how is it that the most imminent and lethal implication for humankind - the fact that the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction" will not work with Iran - is not being discussed in our media? Until it is recognized that MAD is dead, the Iranian threat will be treated as a threat only to Israel and not as the global threat which it in fact is.
A blog by Mladen Andrijasevic
Friday, April 14, 2017
Michael Oren: Iran Is a Bigger Threat Than Syria and North Korea Combined
Damascus and Pyongyang violated their agreements. Tehran
can comply and still threaten millions.
The U.S. has signed agreements with three rogue regimes
strictly limiting their unconventional military capacities. Two of those
regimes—Syria and North Korea—brazenly violated the agreements, provoking
game-changing responses from President Trump. But the third agreement—with
Iran—is so inherently flawed that Tehran doesn’t even have to break it.
Honoring it will be enough to endanger millions of lives.
The framework agreements with North Korea and Syria,
concluded respectively in 1994 and 2013, were similar in many ways. Both
recognized that the regimes already possessed weapons of mass destruction or at
least the means to produce them. Both assumed that the regimes would surrender
their arsenals under an international treaty and open their facilities to inspectors.
And both believed that these repressive states, if properly engaged, could be
brought into the community of nations.
All those assumptions were wrong. After withdrawing from
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Pyongyang tested five atomic weapons and
developed intercontinental missiles capable of carrying them. Syrian dictator
Bashar Assad, less than a year after signing the framework, reverted to gassing
his own people. Bolstered by the inaction of the U.S. and backed by other
powers, North Korea and Syria broke their commitments with impunity.
Or so it seemed. By ordering a Tomahawk missile attack on
a Syrian air base, and a U.S. Navy strike force to patrol near North Korea’s
coast, the Trump administration has upheld the frameworks and placed their
violators on notice. This reassertion of power is welcomed by all of America’s
allies, Israel among them. But for us, the most dangerous agreement of all is
the one that may never need military enforcement. For us, the existential
threat looms in a decade, when the agreement with Iran expires.
Like the frameworks with North Korea and Syria, the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action of 2015 assumed that Iran would fulfill its
obligations and open its facilities to inspectors. The JCPOA assumed that Iran
would moderate its behavior and join the international community. Yet unlike
its North Korean and Syrian allies, Iran was the largest state sponsor of
terror and openly vowed to destroy another state—Israel. Unlike them, Iran
systematically lied about its unconventional weapons program for 30 years. And
unlike Damascus and Pyongyang, which are permanently barred from acquiring
weapons of mass destruction, Tehran can look forward to building them swiftly and
legitimately in the late 2020s, once the JCPOA expires.
This, for Israel and our neighboring Sunni states, is the
appalling flaw of the JCPOA. The regime most committed to our destruction has
been granted a free pass to develop military nuclear capabilities. Iran could
follow the Syrian and North Korean examples and cheat. Or, while enjoying
hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, it can adhere to the
agreement and deactivate parts of its nuclear facilities rather than dismantle
them. It can develop new technologies for producing atomic bombs while testing
intercontinental ballistic missiles. It can continue massacring Syrians, Iraqis
and Yemenis, and bankrolling Hamas and Hezbollah. The JCPOA enables Iran to do
all that merely by complying.
A nuclear-armed Iran would be as dangerous as “50 North
Koreas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. in 2013, and
Iran is certainly many times more dangerous than Syria. Yet Iran alone has been
granted immunity for butchering civilians and threatening genocide. Iran alone
has been guaranteed a future nuclear capability. And the Iranian regime—which
brutally crushed a popular uprising in 2009—has amassed a million-man force to
suppress any future opposition. Rather than moderating, the current regime
promises to be more radical yet in another 10 years.
How can the U.S. and its allies pre-empt catastrophe?
Many steps are possible, but they begin with penalizing Iran for the
conventions it already violates, such as U.N. restrictions on missile
development. The remaining American sanctions on Iran must stay staunchly in
place and Congress must pass further punitive legislation. Above all, a strong
link must be established between the JCPOA and Iran’s support for terror, its
pledges to annihilate Israel and overthrow pro-American Arab governments, and
its complicity in massacres. As long as the ayatollahs oppress their own
population and export their tyranny abroad, no restrictions on their nuclear
program can ever be allowed to expire.
In responding forcibly to North Korean and Syrian
outrages, President Trump has made a major step toward restoring America’s
deterrence power. His determination to redress the flaws in the JCPOA and to
stand up to Iran will greatly accelerate that process. The U.S., Israel and the
world will all be safer.
Mr. Oren is Israel’s deputy minister for
diplomacy and a Knesset member for the Kulanu Party.
“Finally, after many months of
attentiveness, I reached my conclusion. In the absence of a high-profile
provocation – an attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier, for example – the United
States would not use force against Iran. Rather, the administration would remain
committed to diplomatically resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, even at the
risk of reaching a deal unacceptable to Israel. And if Israel took matters into
its own hands, the White House would keep its distance and offer to defend
Israel only if it were counter struck by a hundred thousand Hezbollah missiles.”
Let’s hope that President Trump
indeed has the determination to redress the flaws in the JCPOA and to stand up