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November 9, 2012
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Guest Column: The presidential foreign affairs debate on Iran

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - During the presidential debate on foreign affairs on Monday, Oct. 22, both candidates left the option of attacking Iran's nuclear sites on the table. In view of the possible grave consequences of such an attack it would be enlightening to consider the reasons for it and to make sure all alternatives have been explored.

In a September 16 interview on "60 Minutes" with Meir Dagan, the recently retired chief of Mossad, the super intelligence and spy agency of Israel, said that attacking Iran now is the most stupid thing he ever heard. He also said that 1) Iran has many more nuclear sites than is reported by the media and that it would be very difficult, if not impossible to eliminate all of them, 2) Should Israel attack Iran, Hezbollah to the south and Iran to the north would rain 50,000 missiles on Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel, causing destruction that would take a long time to repair, and 3) The prime minister of Iran, Ahmadinejad is very rational; the Imam and the sectarian leaders of Iran are very rational and they have considered carefully the consequences of a nuclear strike on Israel.

In spite of all of this, Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, wants our country to set red lines, issue ultimatums and carry out preemptive strikes on Iran's nuclear sites. It is a given that attacking Iran's nuclear sites is a temporary measure and that it would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. So the question "then why attack?" begs for an answer; particularly since Dagan and other Israeli security experts are convinced that Iran is at least three years away from acquiring nuclear capability.

In his Cairo address Obama offered an antithesis to the use of force. He captivated the peoples of that region by expressing a sense of justice and respect of their history, religion and sovereignty. And it is the absence of such American justice and respect that is behind Iran's belligerence. For Iran has been the victim of an intrusive Anglo-American foreign policy during the past several decades. A policy predicated on preserving the oil concession and preventing the Soviet Union, during the Cold War, from encroaching on the oil fields of the Middle East.

To this end: the U.S. and the U.K. supported the unpopular Shah, engineered CIA plots that ousted the duly elected Prime Minister Mosaddeq, intervened to appoint a general as prime minister who is to the liking of the Shah, maneuvered against the emerging sectarian regime under the popular cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, supported Iraq in its eight year war with Iran and later conducted covert operations to topple the sectarian regime during Jimmy Carter's presidency, which led to occupying the U.S. embassy in Tehran and taking all it's staff hostage, until they were released at the beginning of President Reagan's administration.

So instead of bombing Iran, let us mend fences with it. And let us not listen to the warmongers who would embroil our country into yet another futile Middle East war. A grave and expensive war of unforeseen consequences. And let us give diplomacy, fair play and common sense a chance; for we may find out that peace with Iran can be achieved without firing a single shot.

Nevertheless, Iran will continue with its efforts to develop nuclear weapons; neither to annihilate Israel, nor to terrorize America, but to establish its hegemony in the Middle East and to help assert the Shiites claim of being the progenitors of the true Khalifs to Prophet Mohammad, accordingly the leaders of all Muslims.. A claim whose genesis is in their belief that their first Imam, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, was the rightful Khalif (successor) and that all their subsequent Imams, including the current Imam are the true successors of the prophet. Hence Iran's threats to attack Israel, its alliance with Syria, its support of Hezbollah and its intrusive tactics in several other countries in the Middle East. Here again, bombing Iran is not the answer. Instead, America needs to establish alliances of its own in the Middle East to thwart Iran's ambitions.

- Sid Bekowich is an Incline Village resident.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 9, 2012 06:21PM Published Nov 9, 2012 06:20PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.