Does Iran Want Israel to Attack?
by RYAN MAURO
November 9, 2011
An aerial view of a suspected uranium enrichment complex near Qom, Iran.
Speculation that Israel is about to attack Iran is reaching a fever pitch. Israeli President Peres warns that the time when Iran’s nuclear sites must be attacked is coming “closer,” and there are reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu is making the case for an attack to his cabinet. One question must be raised: Is it possible that the Iranian regime actually wants Israel to bomb its nuclear sites?
Iran’s game plan has been to take advantage of the loopholes in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The agreement allows Iran to work on most of what is necessary to build a nuclear weapon. Iran already has enough enriched uranium for four bombs and at least triple the number of facilities than what is necessary for a basic nuclear program. This will allow Iran to rapidly produce a nuclear arsenal once the veil is lifted.
Under Article 10 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a signatory can legally announce its withdrawal from the treaty so it can build nuclear weapons for reasons of national security. All the signatory must do is provide 90 days notice and justify its decision. If Israel strikes the nuclear facilities, Iran can leave the treaty and blame Israel for forcing it to do so. This would also give countries like Russia and China a rationale for not punishing Iran after it goes nuclear. It is quite possible that Iran will offer to abandon its bid for nuclear weapons if Israel disarms its own arsenal in order to portray itself as the victim of Israeli aggression.
Iran has always planned to find an excuse to build nuclear weapons once it is ready. As far back as 1992, a top science advisor to the Iranian President said Iran needs what is “required to manufacture nuclear weapons, just in case we need them.” In September 2009, a reporter asked Ahmadinejad if he ruled out building nukes in the future. He responded, “We don’t need nuclear weapons. Without such weapons we are able to defend ourselves.” The reporter gave him an opportunity to clarify, pointing out that he hadn’t ruled out making nukes in the future. His answer was, “You can take from this whatever you want.” In 2010, a top advisor to the Iranian Defense Minister wrote that Iran must prepare to “respond with a nuclear strategy” if the U.S. or Israel launches an “unconventional attack” on Iran.
Iran may also look at an Israeli attack as an opportunity. By all accounts, an Israeli attack would be limited. It won’t be a massive, lengthy campaign to dislodge the regime or destroy all of its retaliatory capacities, which would necessitate war in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. The regime would remain in power and its nuclear program would be delayed, not ended. And Iran will have a reason to retaliate with full force and the radical Islamic world will rally behind it in the ensuing conflict.
It is important to understand the mindset of the Iranian regime, which is committed to the destruction of Israel. Ahmadinejad believes we are living in the End Times and that during the last, great war between Islam and the religion’s enemies, a messianic figure will appear called the “Hidden Imam” or the “Mahdi” and bring about victory and ever-lasting peace.
Earlier this year, Ahmadinejad’s office produced a documentary titled, "The Coming is Upon Us." It made the case that Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, are the incarnations of figures talked about in Islamic prophecy. Their duty in prophecy is to bring about the Mahdi and the film says this is “very close” to happening. It mentions current events such as the war in Iraq, the Arab Spring, the liberal trends among the Iranian youth and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood as the fulfillment of these prophecies.
According to the film, two more things need to happen: The Muslim Brotherhood must create a common front with Iran in the Arab world and Saudi King Abdullah must pass away. These are two events that will likely be fulfilled in the near-term. The Brotherhood is coming to the forefront, thanks to the Arab Spring, and King Abdullah is up to 88 years old.
But, there probably has to be a trigger. Something has to happen that ignites that final war between Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood on one side and the pro-American Arab states, Israel and the U.S. on the other. An Israeli strike will definitely be seen by the Iranian regime as playing into this End Times scenario and may be interpreted as that trigger event.
There are other benefits of an Israeli attack for the Iranian regime. Oil prices will skyrocket. The severely fractured regime could unite. The regime may believe that Iranian and Syrian opposition will disappear. Hamas’ declining popularity in Gaza may reverse, and Turkey could be forced back into Iran’s bloc. The Muslim Brotherhood, which says Iran is “entitled to have a nuclear bomb,” may stop trying to undermine Assad if he comes under Israeli attack and order its legions to support Iran. And finally, the environment of war will benefit the Islamists in the Arab Spring who are competing with the non-Islamists over the future of the region.
If Israel determines that Iran is on the edge of developing nuclear weapons, then it faces its toughest decision since the Six-Day War. Striking Iran may ultimately be the least bad choice, but Israel and its allies must be aware of what may follow and must ask themselves if they are playing into Iran’s hands.