Prince Bandar bin Sultan was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States for twenty-four years. He knows Washington and the West like no other Muslim in the Middle East. And he knows the Middle East like the back of his hand. Like everyone in the Saudi leadership, he was schooled by the oil markets and their omnipresent relationship to the world’s financial centers. He is a brave man who is not afraid to speak truth to power. Recently he did just that, when he warned all his Washington friends (Republican and Democrat alike) that the Obama nuclear deal will “wreak havoc in the Middle East”.
Of course it will. Because the essential characteristic of a hostile nuclear threshold state (in this case Iran) is either to breakout or use its threshold capability as leverage against states without such threshold capacity. In order to strategically deter such a state, military preparedness must be placed on a hair trigger alert by either an outside power or an alliance of states within a particular region. This is exactly the scenario that will be established once the US Congress fails to override the current nuclear deal. In other words, the military clock will be ticking for a roll-back of Iran’s current hegemonic behavior within the Middle East. But instead of proxies, as is the current situation in the Levant, in order to realistically deter Iran, direct confrontation must be threatened from the Gulf to South Lebanon.
Is Obama willing to commit “boots on the ground” in order to stop a heavier supply of more advanced missiles to Hezbollah by Tehran? Or will he risk direct confrontation with Assad and potential Russian objections and then counteractions in Europe? The US administration claims that the nuclear deal has no alternative other than war. But the opposite is true as well. The Iran nuclear deal will allow the Islamic Republic to utilize untold billions of dollars in the imperial Persian quest to subjugate its Arab neighbors and eventually destroy Israel by forcing it population into a constant state of terrorist panic. This means that soon, very soon, the current war in the Middle East can only expand. Facts are facts, the Arabs and Israelis are simply not going to wait around and allow Iran to become stronger. Either Obama acts or they’ll act.
The headlines this week should have read: “Obama nuclear deal ends Arab-Israeli conflict but sinks Wall St., London, Frankfurt and Shanghai”. Because once the war expands to directly involve Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran; the oil markets will become unhinged and with them the uber-gigantic bubble of global debt will burst. Obama didn’t eliminate the Iranian nuclear program, he merely contained it within a very short timeframe. The unexpected consequences of the president’s shortsightedness becomes the ever-present necessity for vigilance. The strategic deterrence of Iran’s regional asymmetric and conventional warfare designs combined with the short three to five year window on a Russian supply of advanced weaponry (allowed for in the deal), assures a quick Arab-Israeli response. Washington and Wall St. be damned. The fate of the Sunni Arab world and their brother Jews won’t wait for an arrogant American president to figure things out.
Obama hasn’t countered Iranian moves in seven years because of a fear of war and its effect on politics and the global financial markets. Talk about irony — either with this deal or without a this deal, there has to be an expansion of the current war. The president is correct about one thing: A qualitative diplomatic solution is always better than war. Of course, we need a diplomatic solution. But given the nature of the Iranian regime and the current state of warfare within the region already, strategic deterrent containment is hardly a qualitative diplomatic solution. The Iranian nuclear deal is fundamentally flawed not just by the technicalities of its inspection regime, but far more importantly, by its total divorce from the geopolitical realities of the region and the concomitant global bifurcation on the UN Security Council.
So, is war inevitable? As the saying goes: “With G-d all things are possible”. And to prevent a devastating war in the Middle East, that would destroy the global economy and could lead to far-reaching dire consequences between the superpowers (China, Russia and the US) — Israel and the Sunni Arab states must lead the way and offer an alternative to the current political impasse.
Here is a peace plan: 1) A Zone of Peace should be established among the states of the Middle East and Persian Gulf, so that trade and navigation may move uninterrupted; 2) All foreign navies should be banned from the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea; 3) All foreign air forces should be denied the right to bases throughout the Zone of Peace; 4) No state in the Zone of Peace may attack another state; 5) If such an attack occurs, the permanent members of the UN Security Council could automatically come to the aid of the aggrieved state, and points two and three would become temporarily suspended; 6) If such an attack occurs, the states within the Zone of Peace could come to the aid of the aggrieved state; 7) Only sovereign states would be allowed to possess military equipment within the Zone of Peace, and extra-territorial militias would be outlawed; 8) All nuclear enrichment, plutonium production, and the stockpiling of nuclear material would be outlawed, and the strictest possible verification regime would be put in place by the IAEA; 9) All states in the Zone of Peace must recognize and have diplomatic relations with all other states; 10) All states must sign the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), and negotiations for a Middle East Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone must begin no later than 24 months after all states have finalized mutual recognition; 11) All states in the Zone of Peace should pledge their allegiance to a non-hegemonic regional structure, and states within the zone will also pledge not to conspire with other states for the purposes of war; 12) Finally, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be decided through negotiations among the parties themselves, without outside coercion, and genuine compromise and goodwill must become the principles upon which these negotiations rest.
The Middle East is at an historic and critical crossroad. It must decide whether it’s going to be completely nuclear or completely non-nuclear. There is no such thing as a permanent monopoly on nuclear weapons. There is no such thing as a threshold power state without engendering mass proliferation from its neighbors. Henry Kissinger and George P Shultz understand the situation far more clearly than Barack Obama and John Kerry. Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East cannot be stopped without the complete cooperation of the permanent members of the Security Council, the Sunni Arab states, and Israel — all working in tandem. If this were to happen, the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars, Yemen, Gaza and South Lebanon could return to a state of peaceful and neighborly co-existence. If such a thing cannot happen, then I am certain that G-d must severely judge our actions through the negative effect of our own actions. I pray with all my Muslim brothers and sisters, let His Will be our will. For as it has been foretold by the ancient prophets of Israel, that peace shall reign supreme and — “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares”. Wreaking havoc, the Obama nuclear deal and global finance were never mentioned!