Given Obama’s plans to withdraw American troops, a move that is being welcomed by Iraq, Israel knows that it will need to move quickly to ensure that America can readily come to its defense. Once the American troops and equipment have largely departed Iraq, Israel will become vulnerable. With American troops in Iraq, Iran will have a viable and reachable target in theory, thus protecting Israel from imminent destruction. Hence, Israel will, without a doubt, drop bombs on Iran before that happens regardless of America’s verbal commitment to back them up. They will, if necessary, rely on history. Hence, it is not a question of if Israel invades Iran, it is only a question of when.
When Israel attacks Iran, all hell will begin to break loose in the region. Would-be terrorists will have numerous ideological reasons to target Israel and its primary supporter, America. Given Israel’s vindictive nature, and propensity to inflict the most damage possible, it will likely bomb Iran’s oil fields. Whether or not that happens, there is little doubt that Iran’s oil exports would suffer for a period of time.
Both China and India are highly reliant on Iranian oil and gas. Prior to the economic downturn, Iran was exporting over 350,000 barrels a day to China. If the oil flow is disrupted, it will over time, impact China’s already struggling economy. This could negatively impact China’s continued investments in America, which is highly reliant on that money.
It is a foregone conclusion if Iran decides to respond to an attack by Israel that the United States will get involved. This too could place China in an untenable position with Iran given their close ties. China recently signed a $1.7 billion contract with Iran to assist in developing its oil fields, much to the chagrin of the United States. China, by its nature, would do everything possible to avoid being in the middle between American and Iran, but it would be impacted none the less.
America cannot afford a war in Iran. China cannot afford to cut off its funding to America. However, if push came to shove, China would abandon America in favor of its own people. The impact on America would be significant, and potentially devastating.
Iran is not an isolated country, despite all efforts by America to isolate it. It has oil and gas contracts with China, Japan, India and Pakistan. It also has a contract to develop off-shore oil fields with Venezuela. Russia also has close ties with Iran as well as Venezuela. Other than Japan, none of these countries have what could be described as a “smooth relationship” with the United States.
Many scenarios can be extrapolated. Short of Iran just licking its wounds, which isn’t likely, each scenario can play out into one disaster or another. The financial ramifications during a global recession would probably be the worst, but those could lead to uprisings and more terrorist activities.
A Partial Solution
It is extremely doubtful that Israel would think of the ramifications of its actions. It places itself first in everything that it does, without any regard for the impact their actions have on any one else. Given fragile world economies today, the impact of anything that it does will be felt around the world.
Israel cannot be relied on to act responsibly. If any country has any chance of bringing about responsible actions by Israel it is the United States, but it will not be easy.
Israel needs to take the first steps to bringing about peace in the region. It needs to open the borders to the Gaza Strip and allow humanitarian aid through unobstructed. It also needs to retreat to the pre-1967 boarders without exception. At the same time, it needs to open up its nuclear program to inspections by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and give a full and complete disclosure.
Doing those things will be the first step towards opening up dialogue with others in the region. Peace in that region cannot be achieved if one country is holding all the “cards” and demanding that other countries have no or inferior cards.
There is little doubt that Israel will resist all of these suggestions or requirements and not acquiesce to anything. This is problematic for not only the United States but also the rest of the world. The fact of the matter is that Israel wants peace only on its terms, and to the detriment of those it is warring with.
Until Israel is contained within its borders, it will continue to pose a threat to not only the region, but the world. So far, the rhetoric from the Obama administration has been that it will continue to cater to the whims of Israel. Peace will never be obtained in that manner. Israel will thus be subjected to continued threats of annihilation, which will only serve to further exacerbate an already volatile situation.