Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again brought his opinion on the “threat of Iran” to the world stage.
While visiting the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America last week, Netanyahu declared that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to not only Israel’s security, but also the world’s – a claim that bares little supporting evidence yet could lead to another war.
Isreal’s current situation with Iran could mirror the U.S. Gulf War against Iraq, which was linked to Israel’s security, though that was not the sole cause. Fear set in during the 1970s, when Israel claimed Iraq’s nuclear program was a threat to Israel’s existence, claims that were met with global involvement.
After being pressured by Israel and others, the U.S. placed devastating sanctions against the Iraqi population in the ’90s. Child mortality rates spiked as a result of the war and sanctions, according to a study published by Columbia University professor Richard Garfield that estimated the death toll at between 100,000 and 227,000 from 1990 to 1998.
After the U.S. removed Saddam Hussein from power with the help of additional coalition forces in the most recent war, the flawed logic behind the invasion became evident when reports were released that proved that Iraq did not contain weapons of mass destruction.
The U.S. must thoroughly research Israel’s newest claims before allowing history to repeat itself.
There are several steps that Israel could take to create a similar situation for the Iranian people, the first being to identify a threat. Israel has continued to remain vocal about Iran’s nuclear program, with many claiming they are developing nuclear weapons for the annihilation of Israel.
With little to no evidence of this being true, these claims seem eerily similar to those made during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The second stage is for Israel to push for devastating sanctions against Iran.
Political commentator Reza Aslan said to the U.N. that sanctions have already had catastrophic effects on the Iranian public, pushing Iran to the brink of an economic collapse. The merchants in Iran have been deeply affected and the unemployment rate is at double digits, Aslan said. Needless to say, Iran has shown no sign of halting or even suspending its nuclear program.
If these first steps prove to be successful for Israel, they will pave the way for a military strike against Iran.
Netanyahu said to Vice President Joe Biden in New Orleans last week that only a credible military threat can deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Unlike Iraq, a military strike against Iran’s facilities would not be simple because Iran’s military is fairly well-equipped.
Unfortunately, the U.S. has supplied Israel with dozens of jet fighters capable of penetrating into Iran, and perhaps accomplishing the task of eradicating most of their nuclear facilities. Such an attack would create a fireball of chaos in the Middle East, as Iran’s support for militia groups is wide throughout the Middle East.
The potential war in Iran must not be underestimated.
With the recent victory of the Republicans in Congress, the American public needs to become aware of the strategic advantage for Netanyahu to make his claims, and his long history with various neo-conservatives in office.
In opening discourse with Iran, all facts need to be on the table, including information on Iran’s nuclear program, Israel’s nuclear program and Israel’s refusal to sign the nuclear non-proliferation, not just more of the same.
Nader Hasan is a junior majoring in international affairs and religious studies.