Somehow, I missed this post Sunday at Information Dissemination. The Israelis, not particularly mollified by US efforts to impose sanctions on Iran to curb their nuclear program, have put some cards on the table with China, in an effort to get real sanctions in place.
Israel does NOT want to attack Iran. But they are quickly coming to the conclusion that they will soon have no other choice. Unless real pressure is put upon Iran to cease and desist, they will have a nuclear weapon quite shortly, perhaps even this year. Right now, the Chinese are in a position to prevent any meaningful sanctions from being implemented.
The Israelis have, in effect, told the Chinese that they can anger the Iranians now, with minimal consequences, or, if Israel is forced to attack, suffer worse consequences down the road.
We talked about ambiguity in our last post. Here’s another example of strategic ambiguity. If China allows real sanctions to be imposed on Iran, the Iranian range of response, and that of other nations, is fairly predictable.
But if Israel attacks Iran, the potential responses are far less known. Will Iran shut down the Straits of Hormuz, cutting the flow of oil to China, Europe and much of the rest of the world? Will Iran undertake other military operations, such as renewing a war with Iraq? Or will they strike at other Gulf nations, such as Saudi Arabia, or the UAE? Will they attempt to attack Israel in turn? Who knows? And that uncertainty is not good. Especially in a region that already suffers from great military and cultural instability.