Monday, 5 March 2007

Strike on Iran would only help its nuclear program...

An attack on Iran — see here for background — would prove only counter-intuitive, says yet another scholarly report (PDF).


The prospect of a nuclear Iran causes acute concern not only in the United States and Israel, but also in Europe, the Middle East and most of the rest of the world. Recent indications from the USA point towards possible military strikes against Iranian nuclear and military targets. The aim of such strikes would be to put back by many years any ambitions elements in the Iranian regime may have for nuclear weapons.
far from stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, military attacks would probably accelerate Iran's nuclear programme.

The reasons for this counter-intuitive outcome are that:

* Limited intelligence about Iran's nuclear programme means that many hundreds of strikes would still not destroy all nuclear related facilities and materials.
* Iran could then move from a gradual and relatively open nuclear programme, to a clandestine crash nuclear weapons programme using secret facilities, salvaged materials, and possibly procuring supplies from the black market, outside of Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty controls.
* Under crash nuclear weapons programme conditions, Iran could build a nuclear weapon within two years if the decision was made. Which is less time than the evidence suggests Iran could manage with the current programme.

In the long-term, the report concludes, Iran cannot be deterred from attaining a nuclear weapons capability by bombing its facilities.

The same kind of idea can be tied to many counterterrorism efforts (see 'fire paradox'), especially those in the US's "war on terror", that only get a population more angry and garners the terrorists more support. In fact, terrorist operations can have the same effect. The Germans' terrorizing of Britain during World War II only increased the Brits fervor to defeat the Nazis; the 9/11 terror attacks got America riled up too, albeit in a fashion that has led to irrational political decisions.

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