The nuclear standoff in the Middle East

The dialogue between the west and Israel continues on methods of containing Iranian Nuclear ambitions. President Barack Obama has appealed once again to Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to allow sanctions imposed on Iran to some time to work on curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Israel is at present the only openly nuclear armed country in the middle east, Iran also has nuclear technology which it says it is using for peaceful purposes such as generating electricity.  There is much speculation about Iran’s ambitions towards nuclear armament in the west with Iran adamant that its nuclear program is peaceful and Israel and a few other countries suspicious that that is not the whole truth.

Thought there is no concrete evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons, it has been enriching uranium, and in November 2011 weapons inspectors from the United Nations indicated that they felt that Iran was on its way to getting nuclear weapons and the International Atomic Energy Agency released some evidence that it feels makes a strong case that Iran is developing a nuclear device. This resulted in the imposition of sanctions against Iran to try to stop a military angle to their nuclear program.

Israel feels that their very existence would be threatened by Iran (that has called for the complete destruction of the Jewish state) once it has nuclear weapons capabilities and would like to move against Iran’s nuclear program preemptively. They believe that once Iran’s nuclear facilities go underground they would not have the capacity to destroy them and thus cannot afford to wait for that eventuality, and would thus like to keep the military offensive option on the table. They would like assurance from the United States and the rest of the United Nations that if they were to wait and allow time for a peaceful resolution, they would be protected in the event that these methods fail and Iran goes ahead with its nuclear weapons program.

President Obama on the other hand cannot afford another ill thought out war in the Middle East. The US economy and its people are just getting over a hasty war in Iraq that was fought without due process and resulted in the loss of thousands of US lives, massive financial impact and some loss of face the world over. The U.S. under President Obama will not go that route again, and will try all peaceful avenues of containment before they flex their military muscle once again in the Middle East.

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