Doomsday scenarios

At a meeting in Istanbul the Iranian regime has once again not responded favorably to the pleadings of the international community, represented by the so-called “five plus one” powers (US, China, Russia, UK, France and Germany), to stop its development of nuclear weapons, committed as it is to Israel’s destruction. That leaves only a military solution, and although many experts suggest that Israel should not “go it alone,” nevertheless there seems little or no appetite in the US or elsewhere for any other power to take military action against Iran, even though Pres. Obama still says all options are on the proverbial table.

Given that scenario, one must face a little-discussed problem. If Israel, or indeed any other power or consortium, decide to actually attack and destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities, then there could in principle be the release of a radioactive cloud that could act as a “dirty bomb”, in other words could release large quantities of nuclear materials into the atmosphere as a result of a conventional weapons’ attack. This should be taken into account by the Iranian regime as well as the Iranian people, that the continuing drive of the Shia-controlled Iranian regime to act out what they consider to be God’s will, may in fact boomerang on them. It might lead to the loss of life not only of leaders of the regime, including those in Iranian radar and command and control facilites and airfields, but also many Iranian civilians. Israel or any other attacker could take precautions by estimating the direction and strength of the prevalent winds at the time of the attack, but given the spread of radioactivity throughout eastern Europe by the Chernobyl accident and by the Fukushima damage in Japan, mass civilian casualties may be unavoidable.

Of course, time is of the essence, Israel, and many other countries, including the Sunni heartland, cannot live with an Iran that has nuclear capability. So the time to act may be fast approaching. But, it is very unlikely that anyone would act before the next President is elected in November and is installed in January, 2013. If Obama is re-elected President then it is unlikely that the US would act, and this might be a signal for Israel to go ahead. If Republican candidate Mitt Romney is elected, then there might be a delay while his policy towards Iran is decided, but a long delay cannot be expected. Nevertheless, a lot depends on what the US leadership thinks it knows about what Iran is doing and planning. Although the US intelligence community made a major blunder in 2003 when they predicted that Iran had stopped their nucelar program, they now have sophisticated listening posts in Afghanistan and Iraq,. on both borders of Iran, as well as in other places, and so they may be able to make a better informed decision.

The election of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi as President of Egypt represents another potential doomsday scenario for Israel. There is little doubt that whatever his conciliatory statements, he will have to adhere to MB doctrine that calls for full Sharia Law in Egypt and the eventual abrogation of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. A senior MB cleric was quoted as saying that under Mursi, Egypt’s capital will no longer be Cairo, but the new capital will be Jerusalem! The race to conquer Jerusalem between the extremist forces of Shia and Sunni Islam, to form their new world Caliphate, will leave little Israel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Each challenge will have to be faced in its time. Let’s hope the new US President sees these challenges for what they are, serious threats to America’s dominant role in the world.

About the Author
Jack Cohen was born in London and has a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University. He moved to the US and worked at the National Cancer Inst. and then Georgetown Medical School. In 1996, he Moved to Israel and became Chief Scientist of the Sheba Medical Center. He retired in 2001 and worked as a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University Medical School for 5 years.