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Is a strike on Iran approaching? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Wars begin with words, and all indications today suggest that we have reached an advanced stage of Israeli decision making with regards to launching a military strike on Iran. Tehran itself has even become more expectant of this military strike, intended to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, and therefore today we now hear the beating of the war drums between the Israelis and the Iranians!

It is best for us to believe that we are now approaching the critical moments in terms of Israel’s potential decision to strike Iran, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that Iran had not yet crossed the red line, but was in the “red zone”. Officials in the region also believe that we have reached a critical moment, and there are other important indicators, such as the volume of statements about the situation in Syria but without any tangible action. This suggests that the Israeli decision to direct a military strike against Iran could be what is disabling any action towards Syria, because launching a military strike on Tehran would greatly affect the Syrian issue, especially if al-Assad is thinking about opening a combat front against Israel to ease the pressure on Iran, as we expect.

There are other important indicators that suggest we are approaching critical moments in the decision to launch a military strike against Iran. These are the recent Iranian statements at the military level, and they show that Iran’s generals, not mullahs, have become convinced that the strike is inevitable. Furthermore, their reactions show a sense of confusion more than confidence. Two days ago an Iranian statement said that in the event of Israel attacking Iran, it would mean the end of the Jewish state. Then yesterday there was another statement from the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, saying that if Iran believes that an Israeli strike is imminent, it might launch a preventative attack. The Iranian commander then claimed that such a strike would lead to a third world war, despite Iran saying the day before that a military strike would lead to the end of Israel!

These recent Iranian statements, within the space of one week, show the size of the confusion and concern in Iran, especially the statement that Iran may launch a preventative attack and that all US objectives in the region will be targeted. This statement alone actually serves to support Netanyahu in his political campaign in America, in order to convince President Obama, currently preoccupied with the US presidential election, of the need to take action against Iran now, which is what Obama appears to be rejecting at this moment. Indeed, Iran’s moves and statements could push matters toward another course, and could accelerate the strike which is now closer than ever. The end result would undoubtedly be a storm. Whatever the Iranians say, the strike would be devastating to Iran, and it would mean that for the first time during this era of Iranian tampering in our region, the game will be played on Iranian soil. Certainly this strike, if it happens, will not be easy, but it would change the rules of the game completely in our region. So the question is: Is our region prepared for such a severe storm, with its winds on the verge of blowing in our direction? I hope so, in the sense that our region, and us as its people, are like hostages in a war that we have nothing to do with, rather it is Iran’s war seeking to extend its influence in our region.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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