Iran Military Options Open

(ABC-Australia) Interview with Martin Indyk by Tony Jones - Martin Indyk served as assistant secretary of state and was Bill Clinton's Middle East advisor at the National Security Council. He is currently director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Q: The U.S. frequently says that Iran will not be allowed to build nuclear weapons. Do you honestly believe that there is a military option on the table along with all the other options? Indyk: "Of course there is. It's not a good option, it's not a simple option to take out perhaps 37 Iranian hardened facilities that are located in built-up areas. Civilian populations would be affected by that, but I think more important than all of that is the kinds of things that Iran can do in retaliation that could severely complicate America's other positions in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq." "The Iranians have been for many years now building up cards that they can play in confrontation with what they refer to as 'the great Satan, the United States.' They have seen the United States as a threat to their ambitions in the region and that is why they have, first of all, built a position of influence in Lebanon through Hizballah, which, by the way, also has an international infrastructure of terrorism that's sitting on the shelf and can be mobilized." "They have gone to great pains to take control of a Palestinian card through direct control of Palestine Islamic Jihad - the terrorist organization that's been responsible for all the terrorist acts in the last year or so - and also through their relationship with Hamas, which is now going to take over the government in Palestinian areas." "They also have a card now that they have built after we toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, particularly in southern Iraq, where they have control over the Moqtada Sadr militia....The Iranians have built up this sphere of influence in Iraq which they can use, by the way, with Hizballah people from Lebanon to cause, I think, considerable damage to American forces there if they so choose." "The Israelis see this as an existential threat. They have been preparing for the possibility that Iran will have nuclear weapons for the last 20 years, so to say that they don't have a military option is, I think, an illusion. They have, I think, already built a military option." Q: You mean the technical military ability to destroy bunkered facilities? Indyk: "To attempt to destroy bunkered facilities. But, will they succeed? Will they get them all? Do they know where all of them are? These are very big question marks and, of course, they would much prefer that the United States do it because the United States has a much greater capability than Israel has. But to imagine that the Jewish state, whose leaders have sworn that the Jewish Commonwealth will never be destroyed again, will sit back and hope that somebody else will take care of an existential threat is simply not facing the reality of their situation."

2006-03-10 00:00:00

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