September 13th, 2009
I recently had a daytime nightmare. A horrific vision of what could happen if events proceeded along a not-unlikely course. But there are no nuclear explosions in my nightmare. It doesn’t end with a bang…
It’s August 2011. Iran, having stockpiled enough highly enriched uranium for several bombs, begins to actually construct one. Israel, its red line crossed, starts the countdown to execute the long-planned operation which is expected to set the Iranian project back 10 years, when it receives an ultimatum from the US:
The operation must not be carried out. If you go ahead, we will prevent it by any means necessary, including engaging and even shooting down Israeli planes.
Since 2008, the US has had an x-band radar installation in the Negev which can detect ‘even a bird’ taking off. The facility is operated and guarded by US personnel; it is off limits to Israelis. It was installed in order to provide early warning of Iranian missiles, but there is no way that Israel can launch a major (or minor) air operation without the US knowing.
Israel, not prepared to fight the US Navy and Air Force, backs down. The US gives assurances that it will not permit Iran to attack Israel. Iran proceeds to install its new Russian air defense system.
Meanwhile, the US finishes up its withdrawal from Iraq. Syria, in return for the Golan Heights, which it received in January as part of the comprehensive Mideast Peace settlement imposed by the Obama Administration and the Quartet, has stopped allowing Sunni insurgents and supplies to transit the border, and the majority Shiite government has managed to suppress the remaining Sunni insurgency. Obama’s foreign policy appears to be a major success, having brought peace to Iraq, ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, and creating the long-sought after state of Palestine.
Peace in our time has been achieved, says Obama, although he knows enough not to use exactly those words.
What could more natural than for the two mightiest Shiite powers to make an alliance, says the Iraqi Prime Minister, as he announces a five-year economic and military cooperation pact with Iran? And while there is some trepidation that efforts of the new Hezbollah government in Lebanon to disarm Christian militias could lead to strife in that country, most Western diplomats think that the idea of a multi-ethnic state was never really practical.
In Israel, life goes on. Especially in Tel Aviv, you can barely tell the difference between pre-peace days and now. One problem that everyone notices is that air fares are much higher, what with oil at $120/bbl. and rising, and especially since that USAIR Airbus was hit by an antiaircraft missile fired from the West Bank just as it lifted off from Ben Gurion Airport, killing 247 passengers and crew. President Barghouti of Palestine expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, but indicated that his police have insufficient resources, not enough helicopters, night-vision gear and communications equipment to effectively carry out their mission of fighting terrorism. As a result, the only carrier flying to and from Israel is El Al, whose planes are equipped with special devices to divert the type of missile known to be in the possession of terrorists.
The EL Al aircraft are heavily loaded on trips to America and Europe as those Israelis who can afford it take long vacations outside of the country ‘for the duration’.
The Israeli government has begun a project to reinforce buildings and build protective walls around towns in the area of the Syrian border. Although the peace treaty calls for an end of conflict between Israel and Syria, guerrillas thought to be associated with Hezbollah have been operating in the area, and Syrian troops are not motivated to stop them. Meanwhile, Golan Druze who are considered pro-Israel were evacuated ahead of the Syrians and are now living in temporary camps in the Negev along with several hundred thousand settlers who were removed from the West Bank.
The evacuation of West Bank settlers was carried out with only a few hundred casualties on the part of the settlers, most of whom left their homes without armed resistance. There were a few isolated settlements where armed Jewish militants resisted evacuation, and special units of the new Volunteer Army, made up of known reliable personnel, were sent in to neutralize them. There are still some holdouts, and Israel has received sharply-worded protests from the government of Palestine in regard to them.
Right now the biggest construction project in Israel is the Palestine Contiguity Highway, to connect the Nahal Oz crossing with Hebron and thence north along the route of the existing Rt. 60 to the capital of Palestine, al-Quds. It’s to be a 150-meter wide corridor with electronic fences on either side, a highway in the middle, and service facilities along the way. Palestinian military vehicles can be seen on service roads, protecting the autos and trucks on the highway from Jewish guerrillas who lately have been harassing them, shooting and then quickly escaping. In some places, the fence is being replaced by a concrete wall to prevent this. Indeed some sections of the dismantled security barrier have been pressed into service.
This project, as well as the yet-to-be started housing for relocated settlers and Golan Druze, has been slowed by the worldwide economic depression caused by the high oil price. When asked about the possibility of increasing production, new OPEC Secretary-General Gholamhossein Nozari of Iran indicated that prices had reached a ‘natural level’ and indeed were at last compensating Middle Eastern and South American nations for years of Western exploitation.
The IDF has recently reduced standards yet again, as the difficulty of recruitment increases. Many secular youth are going abroad when they reach army age, and national-religious types – especially from the relocation centers in the Negev – are as likely to join an underground group like Tzvat Hashem as the IDF. The US-funded and trained (by General Keith Dayton) Volunteer Army has top-notch equipment, but lacks motivation. It also spends a great deal of time chasing Tzvat Hashem fighters, who make commando raids into Palestinian territory, provoking retaliatory Katyusha missile fire from the Palestinian National Army. The Israeli population shifts away from border areas which become more and more insecure.
In the North, Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 short-range rockets targeted at Israel. Iran, which already dictates policy to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, supports the Ikhwan in Egypt, despite ideological differences, because it prefers Islamic to Western-oriented rule. The weak government of Gamal Mubarak is overthrown, Egypt announces its abrogation of the peace treaty with Israel, and sends the Israeli ambassador home. The US cuts off aid, but Iran and Russia step into the vacuum. Iranian satellite Iraq begins to apply pressure to Jordan to also end its cooperation with Israel.
One of the great accomplishments of the peace treaty was the agreement that, while their inalienable right of return was acknowledged, Arab refugees would defer the exercise of this right to an unspecified time when the government of Israel should agree. US Secretary of State Malley even remarked “who said Arabs don’t know compromise?”
But now the Palestinian citizens of Israel (formerly called ‘Israeli Arabs’) demand an equal right of representation with the Jewish population, as well as a new flag and national anthem, etc. And the UN security council, on a motion introduced by the Iranian representative decides that if the rogue state of Israel does not grant these oppressed Arabs their ‘civil rights’, punishing economic sanctions will be applied to the already weakened Israel.
The Iranian ambassador to the US explains just what could happen to the price of oil, the US abstains, and the resolution passes. Israel, already reeling economically and socially, has no choice but to agree. More Israeli Jews begin to think that their future lies elsewhere.
Now at every opportunity, Arab Members of the Knesset introduce bills calling for the return of their refugee brothers. How can they be prevented from exercising a right that has been recognized in international treaty? How can they be allowed to continue their miserable existence (Palestine has only allowed a few to integrate, preferring to keep the great masses in camps)?
It becomes an international cause célèbre.
What can we learn from this nightmare?
- Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear, no matter what.
- The Golan must not be transferred to Syria, no matter what.
- An imposed ‘peace’ settlement with the Palestinians must be resisted, no matter what.
-- Vic Rosenthal