Thursday, November 22, 2012

Preparing Ground for Iran Attack?

While the Egyptian President bask in a well deserved praise and American Media gushes about Obama-Morsi workmanship, one remembers how another USA educated head of state in a Muslim country turned out to be a headache eventually - Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. Bush-Karzai and then Obama-Karzai relationship started well, but in the end did not work much. One hopes that does not happen to Obama-Morsi relationship as there is for too much at stake.

Apart from start of a durable relationship between two newly elected important leaders (and very soon likely joined by Netanyahu after reelection); ground is also getting cleared for Iran action in early part of the next year. I am with this Atlantic article which argues that latest Israeli action on Gaza has may objectives squarely focused on preparing the ground for a possible on attack on Iranian nuke sites:
- first, to shake up and prepare Israeli Military and Public for a possible confrontation with Iran,
- to neutralize Hamas ability to shower Israel by missiles in retaliation of an attack on Iranian nukes,
- removal of a Hamas leader which could have been a trouble maker in Iran retaliation attack and
- validate Iron Dome setup so as folks all over the world notice it

Hamas landed with much weakened missile attack ability as Israel pounded Gaza over 1500 attacks or so. Hamas also lost many more Palestinian lives without gaining much, though Hamas gives damn to lives of general Gaza public. At the most 'relaxation in border regulations' is what Hamas will get eventually apart from some adulation to their leader and marginalization of Fatah. Going forward, at least for few months Hamas will be all busy in rebuilding from the destruction left behind by last eight days. Having 'mowed the lawn for the current season', new mandate in January and recovering relationship with Obama (now that his funding of Iron Dome is sitting well with Israeli Public and Obama seeing a value in not snubbing Bibi right now); Israel will be in much better shape to focus on Iranian issue in coming days.

This also means those who are anxious for a follow-up action will be disappointed. There will not be much of a progress for a simple reason that Israeli PM can legitimately imagine a world where Hamas backer Iran is dealt with. After decimation of Iranian nuke ability and its humiliation; Israel will negotiate with Hamas from a much stronger position.* In other words, Israel has much less incentive to enter into any longer term peace solution with Hamas right now when it can realistically smell that it could get 'more' after the Israeli election and after whacking Iran. Of course, it is doubtful that both Israel and America have worked out full consequences of any Iranian attack or are ready for consequences the day after attacking Iranian nuke sites. However, all that means no rush to enter into any kind of longer term arrangement with Hamas. Periodic 'lawn mowing' - that will be the operating principle for a while and if that means it puts Egyptian President in more lime light; so much is better.

(*) - Rather than investing in a forceful ouster of another of Iranian Proxy Assad in Syria, USA and Israel might be thinking that ongoing Syrian Civil War is keeping Assad completely tied up and then why over invest? Other issue for White House in helping Syrian rebels is White House will have to midwife what kind of coalition emerges in Syria and then it will be pulled into the vortex of actively managing post-Assad Syrian coalition when need of the hour is to focus on Iran. Without investing anything if another of Iranian ally is fully bogged down, then why bother? that can be the thinking of Obama Administration.

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