Obama and Persian Dilemma

Brian R Gibson | The Majalla | 13 november2012

The question of an attack on Iran has become the subject of intense debate over the past few months. What is puzzling about this debate is that it has not centered on Iran’s nuclear program or whether Iranians seek to obtain a nuclear bomb, but rather on whether Israel or the US (or both) will attack Iran to prevent this.

The re-election of Barack Obama to a second term is important, yet the situation vis-à-vis Iran and Israel has not changed significantly. Iran still faces harsh sanctions and its economy is on the brink of collapse; nevertheless, its nuclear program continues to advance unchecked and the regime does not show signs of weakening its grip on power.

Likewise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces elections in January 2013, but is likely to win a resounding victory; Iranians will also go to the polls in 2013 to elect a new president and Majlis (parliament).

The outcome of these elections will neither change the overall threat Iran’s nuclear program poses to Israel nor the military threat Israel poses to Iran.

Caught between the risk of an Israeli attack on Iran or an Iranian attack against Israel is the United States, desperately trying to avoid the outbreak of an Iranian–Israeli war, the consequences of which are unpredictable.

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