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America must not support Israel's possible war with Iran

(photo/israelmilitary.net)

The Middle East has always been plagued by chaos, war and strife. Whether it’s Crusades or Gulf Wars, conflict is commonplace. Now, however, Israel seeks to start a new war against Iran. Iran, with its nuclear weapons program by the day, is viewed by Israel as a threat to its existence.

To address this threat, Israel seeks to launch airstrikes on Iran as early as this spring. The Obama Administration, while discouraging this course of action, has promised to aid Israel in their war. However, the view that we must be at Israel’s side no matter what is wrong. While war might come eventually with Iran, all other peaceful options must first be exhausted. If Israel starts a war prematurely, America will be justified in denying aid.

It should not be denied that Iran is a threat. Any nation developing nuclear weapons should not be treated lightly. However, there are peaceful alternatives.

Just this year, The U.S. passed tougher sanctions on Iran. The sanctions strike the heart of Iran, their central bank. The sanctions freeze all Iranian assets in the U.S., including oil exports. While it remains to be seen if the sanctions will be effective, war should be put on hold until the effectiveness of the sanctions are known.

Israel, though, wants to skip any attempt at peace and go to war. While some might cheer for Israel’s hardline attitude towards Iran, it’s a horrible idea.

One of the problems with war in Iran is that it will unify the nation. Currently, Iran is divided. The divisions created in the 2009 elections have not yet healed. Many Iranians resent President Ahmadinejad and his economic policies. If there is enough economic strife, an armed revolution may occur, like in Egypt, Syria and Libya. While this is unlikely, it is still a possibility. At the very least, a divided Iran is a weak Iran.

If Israel were to start a war, though, Iran would unify. Ahmadinejad may be crazy, but the people of Iran would unify behind him out of a sense of nationalism. Any hope of cooler heads prevailing would disappear, and Iran would be radicalized, more so than it is now.

Even worse, though, are the regional implications. Iran is allied with Pakistan, which of late has grown very anti-American. If Israel strikes first on Iran, Pakistan would view it as an act of aggression and declare war against Israel and the U.S. This would be catastrophic for the war in Afghanistan. U.S. troops are supplied via routes from Pakistan, and a war with Pakistan would cut off their supplies.

Possibly greater a threat than this is if Afghanistan declared war on the U.S. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, said in October of 2011 that "if there is war between Pakistan and America, we will stand by Pakistan." A war with Pakistan and Afghanistan would undo all progress made in fighting terrorism and be ruinous for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The ironic part about Pakistan aiding Iran in war, though, is that they have nuclear weapons. If the situation requires it, Pakistan may even give nuclear arms to Iran in an all-out war against the U.S. and Israel. By starting a war with Iran, we may only ensure the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. From there, who knows how far this war would escalate.

While any sane person would want to avoid this scenario at all costs, there are some who might begrudgingly support war with Iran because they support Israel. With 63 percent of Americans in support of Israel according to a Gallup poll in February, 2011, Israel is viewed as American as apple pie. This idea is so entrenched that accusing someone as anti-Israeli is equivalent to calling someone unpatriotic. However, to embrace Israel more than common sense is unpatriotic.

As Americans, we owe allegiance to America first and foremost. While we have allies, we shouldn’t foolishly follow them into oblivion. If we are truly friends with Israel, then we should not support their foolish warmongering and force them to face reality. By supporting their bad habit of aggression, we do a disservice to Israel and ourselves.

War may come to Iran, but America should not hasten this outcome by supporting Israel’s plans to provoke a war as early as this spring. There are still other peaceful attempts that must be exhausted first. If America promises to support Israel no matter what and allows war to start, then any attempt at peace will be lost. Further, Iran will be unified behind a madman and a region wide conflict will break out, causing untold suffering. America may be friends with Israel, but good friends stop their friends from acting on impulsive bad ideas.

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