TO END IRAN STANDOFF, PLAN FOR WAR
By Dr. Michael Rubin
Think about it. In recent months, as international diplomatic deadlines have come and gone, and the threat of sanctions has remained a possibility, Iran has only been emboldened. At the United Nations last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that "Britain and America won the last world war, but they wouldn't win the next one, Iran would."
If the U.S.A. is serious about stopping Iran's nuclear program in its tracks, it should adopt the Turkish model. For years, Turkish diplomats begged and pleaded for Syria to stop hosting Kurdish terrorists. Despite the promises of Syrian diplomats to engage, nothing happened. Then, in 1998, the Turkish Army staged military exercises along Syria's border. Within weeks, the Syrian regime reversed course.
Iraq is another case in point. Prior to the Iraq war, then-U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice delayed establishing a postwar planning office for fear of undermining UN diplomacy. But then, when diplomacy failed, the U.S. was forced into action with inadequate preparation. The truth is, war preparation is itself a form of diplomacy.
Some U.S. realists say that Libya's 2003 decision to halt its nuclear program demonstrates that talk alone works. But it was not years of negotiations, but, rather, the demonstration of resolve -- the interception of Libya-bound freighters and the invasion of Iraq -- that led Moammar Khadafy to change course.
Indeed, the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East may be underestimation of Western resolve. On August 27, 2006, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said of kidnapping Israeli soldiers that, had his militia known how fierce Israel's retaliation would be, "we would definitely not have done it."
The Iranian leadership's misreading of Washington could prove just as disastrous. With the U.S. Army tied down in Iraq, Iranian officials believe the U.S. military is hamstrung. But the U.S. Navy and Air Force are not hamstrung.
Perhaps it is time to stage war games and exercises in the Persian Gulf and on Iran's borders. The Iranian government should know what it is up against. Only the threat of force, and not the threat of UN finger-wagging, can persuade Tehran to stop spinning its centrifuges.
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
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War & Peace in the Real World
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Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Dr. Michael Rubin, a Ph.D. in History (Yale University) and a specialist in Middle Eastern politics, Islamic culture and Islamist
ideology, is Editor of the Middle East Quarterly and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public
Policy Research. Dr Rubin is author of Into the Shadows: Radical Vigilantes in Khatami's Iran (Washington Institute
for Near East Policy, 2001) and is co-author, with Dr. Patrick Clawson, of Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos (Palgrave
Macmillan, 2005). Dr. Rubin served as political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad (2003-2004); staff
advisor on Iran and Iraq in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense (2002-2004); visiting lecturer in the Departments of
History and International Relations at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2001-2002); visiting lecturer at the Universities of
Sulaymani, Salahuddin, and Duhok in Iraqi Kurdistan (2000-2001); Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy (1999-2000); and visiting lecturer in the Department of History at Yale University (1999-2000). He has been a fellow at
the Council of Foreign Relations, the Leonard Davis Institute at Hebrew University, and the Carnegie Council on Ethics and
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