Israel, Iran, and oil prices

When the Israelis say “never again” they really mean it

Iran is working hard to get nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for delivery. It’s not at all clear that the right-wing fundamentalist theocrats running the country find the prospect of their own destruction too high a price to pay if they get to kill all the Jews. Moreover, if they come to think their own fall from power is inevitable, would they go quietly, or would they order a genocidal strike on Israel? So seeing this, it’s not impossible that Israel will finally launch a military strike against Iran before they get the bomb. But skepticism is in order about claims of anyone’s specific military plans to stop Iran.

All that said, and with the grains of salt handy, John Robb makes a case that Israel could strike Iran’s oil production facilities. The idea is that Israel could successfully halt oil production/delivery, with a massive strike by drones. I love drones almost as much as President Obama, but I think the Israelis have conventional options. But however they did it, this would be a big enough catastrophe for Iran (so the theory goes) to bring down the Ayatollahs. The next government, it is hoped, would be less irrational.

Nobody really wants any of this to happen (unless maybe a demented Ayatollah hoping for the End Times). Iran currently produces a lot of oil for China and India, and indirectly it all goes into the world oil market. A sudden loss of production would likely cause a global depression. Israel has a survivable nuclear arsenal. So does India, Pakistan to some extent, China, Russia, and who knows who else. Things could go out of control in fantastically bad ways. So the world is motivated to prevent it happening (goes the theory), by stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program some way or other, so Israel won’t stop it in a worse way.

Israel certainly does not want to do this, but I think they will if it’s their next-to-last option. Because everyone knows their last option, and that prospect seems not to be deterring Iran.

UPDATE 6 March 2012: Hamas rules out military support for Iran in any war with Israel.

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6 thoughts on “Israel, Iran, and oil prices

  1. The post seems to be bit biased as even if Israel uses any step towards halting or disrupting oil industry in Iran it will be retaliated fiercely by thousands of Shahab Missiles (remember Scud Missiles…few years back) and then Israel will have no other option left than to use its nuclear arsenal which have the severe prospects of fuelling World War 3 because Iran is a strategic ally of both Russia and China.

      • Israel have to deter because it is relatively very small country in size relative to Iran or any of its ally like China or Russia, so few nukes will wipe out the map of Israel from the Globe and Israel will have no other option to look for NATO help which will be reluctant to engage in direct war with SCO-CSTO.

        • Then no matter the risks involved, to survive Israel must do whatever it takes to stop Iran from getting the bomb.

          Israel’s nuclear capability can survive a first strike. Russia and China are rational actors not motivated by millenarian fantasy. Iran would be foolish to think anyone will nuke Israel on their behalf.

    • Me too. There are ways it could end short of that – The Mullah’s regime might fall; the Iranians might over-reach; Syria might collapse with unknown consequences. I don’t think President Obama will do anything militarily, but the domestic situation here in the US will inevitably be a factor. But the one thing Iran’s determination to get the bomb makes more likely is some kind of big explosion in Iran.

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