Today we have all kinds of worries and fears when it comes to stability. Terrorists are the new bad guys on the block. Who could have ever imagined that a group of well trained, highly gifted and educated people would ever fly airplanes full of innocent people into buildings filled with equally innocent hard working people of all nationalities because their supposed god said it was the righteous thing to do?
Who but the most perverted of mind could have ever envisioned a time when young grade school and high school aged children would willingly strap pounds of C4 to their bodies, climb aboard a bus or walk into a mall or restaurant and blow themselves up along with countless others who were doing nothing more than going to work, school, enjoying a night out with friends, family or a first date?
Sadly, these are the times we find ourselves living in today. For those of us who were raised in the 1950’s our biggest fear was the Soviet Union dropping the big one on us. By the time we entered high school in the early 1960’s we all knew the fear but were now aware that those living in Russia were just as fearful and after the Cuban Missile Crisis was successfully concluded and the world brought back from the brink of destruction, we all pretty much knew that the likelihood of a nuclear conflagration between the two superpowers of the Cold War was not going to happen as we once thought in our 1950’s innocence. Somehow, we just knew that the real culprits of any future conflict that would engulf the entire planet into near annihilation wouldn’t be as obvious as superpowers going at it toe to toe. The scenario for the third and final war will be something a bit more improbable.
That improbable scenario is unfolding now faster and more probable than any would have ever thought possible and it all centers on one of the smallest pieces of real estate on our big planet, a little but vastly important State known as Israel.
As a Jew living in America the country of Israel has always been very important to me. It is the home of my ancestors and the future hope of all Jews across the globe. Those of us living outside the Land remember her at the conclusion of every Passover Seder by exclaiming - “Next year in Jerusalem.” Politically, Israel has been a sort of centerpiece of world affairs since it came back into existence on May 1948 after its 2000 year exile, but today it holds center stage like no other country before it. Why? Because Israel now finds itself fully hedged-in on all sides by its proclaimed enemies, and like its only western ally, the United States, it too has nuclear capability. The Muslim Brotherhood, profound haters of all Jews and the State of Israel, is to the South and West in Egypt. A quickly dissolving democratic-monarchy Jordan to the East, along with a very weak fledgling democracy in Iraq. Two big enemies to the North are found in Lebanon, the literal home of the Iran supported terrorist group Hezbollah, the completely unstable Syria which will in all likelihood become the next Muslim Brotherhood stronghold and to the East the Persian Muslim-controlled country of Iran which will have a nuclear capable arsenal by the end of 2013. Iran is Israel’s strongest threat because of its ravenous desire for a nuclear bomb and its well publicized proclamation that once obtained they will not hesitate to use such a weapon on their eternal enemy Israel. Last, but far from least is the threat of another terror group called Hamas now made legitimate by the election process in the make-believe Palestinian state. Hamas surrounds Israel to its West and East in the Gaza Strip and The West Bank. Israel is smaller than the State of Delaware and is only eleven miles across at its thinnest border lines.
Further to the South and East are other Muslim countries with a pronounced and unbalanced hatred for Israel with Saudi Arabia being the biggest threat of all because of their vast oil and financial reserves and they have proven in the past that they are not afraid to use that influence it has over its energy consuming financial allies in the West, those being The United States and The European Union. Anyone living through the long gas lines and false shortages from OPEC in the mid 1970’s can attest to that.
So, the big question is why should anyone care what happens to Israel? On the surface they don’t appear to have much to offer the world in the way of vast energy reserves of oil or natural gas. In fact, from a purely strategic assessment, on the surface it would appear that Israel has little to offer the modern world, and especially the Western world, to warrant such attention and care over its future or lack thereof. So why all the fuss?
Israel is a major player in the world when it comes to goods and services, high technology in computer chip manufacturing, medical intervention and it’s gardens and farms feed nearly all of Europe with fresh fruit and vegetables every day. The EU would find itself in more than just the financial bind it presently is experiencing if the food supply from Israel was suddenly cut off due to a war. Cut off Europe’s main supplier of fresh foodstuffs and the financial riots will seem like a weekend fun-fest.
The importance of Israel to the United States and the rest of the free world cannot be overstated. First, Israel is America’s only real true democratically governed ally in the region. It is the only State that can be counted on to open its gates and arms to the U.S. with just one call from the American President to the Israeli Prime Minister. Where Turkey, Egypt and Jordan have proven so many times in the past to be fair-weather friends of America, Israel has proven itself to be a staunch real friend and supporter time and time again. As a fellow successful democratic State Israel, even with all the turmoil in the region, because of its strength and friendship with the United States actually acts as a stabilizing force in the Middle East. That is one reason why the Arab States that surround Israel would like to see it fall by the way, it would completely diminish nearly all influence the United States has in the region leaving the way open for stronger countries like Iran to exert its power and Muslim rule over the area thinking that with the help of their allies to the North - Russia and China - the Ayatollah’s could bring about Mohammed's great dream of a powerful Muslim-Sharia World Order.
On August 16, 2012 Matan Vilnai, Israel’s home defense minister, stated that there will likely be a war between Iran and Israel in the very foreseeable future and such a conflict would likely last for up to 30 days and see Israel losing about 500 of its citizenry. “The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on a number of fronts,” Vilnai told the Maariv newspaper in Jerusalem.
The mere fact that those in power are even considering the assessment of length of days and number of casualties is frightening enough, but more scary is the unacknowledged fact that knowing how things tend to escalate so quickly in that region of the world over the slightest misunderstanding, to think that an actual armed conflict between Iran and Israel would last only 30 days leaving 500 dead in Israel and who knows how many in Iran would just end there is ridiculous at best and naive at its worse.
If Iran forces Israel’s hand making the Israelis attack first, Iran will likely retaliate with equal force and with the support of its two main allies Russia and China. Because of treaty obligations and self interest it will be necessary for the United States to offer whatever military support that Israel requires to defend itself. Or, if Iran should be stupid enough to attack first then both Israel and the United States would be obliged to return fire. If, God forbid, Iran should acquire its long sought after missile with a nuclear warhead....well, you can see where all this leads.
All sane people hate the idea of another conflict in the Middle East, but all calculating people also realize it is a very likely prognostication. With the drums of war sounding ever louder and repetitious in the region with Iran flexing its muscle thumbing its nose at the United Nations and the Western powers, Russia and China behind the scene goading Iran on and Israel crunching the numbers at what such a war would cost in people and resources, the outlook for peace isn’t a good one. And, to foolishly think this would be a limited engagement between just these two parties is the height of ignorance.
Shaalu Shalom Yerushalayim - Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem