Unilateral Israeli action, without provocation from Iran, could unleash a diplomatic, economic and military backlash such as the Jewish state had never witnessed since 1948, Sharon argued. After meeting with President Bush at his Texas ranch last April, Sharon made a strategic decision – against the advice of his own generals and intelligence staff – to place his bets on U.S.-backed nuclear negotiations with Iran led by the European Union.
Almost no one really believed those negotiations would succeed. The Europeans expressed mounting exasperation as Tehran broke its promises repeatedly, closing nuclear sites to inspectors and resuming banned nuclear processing.
Faced with the impatience of his own military, Sharon’s reasoning was simple. Every other option was worse.
On Dec. 5, Israel’s military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, told foreign journalists in Tel Aviv that he believed diplomacy had reached a dead end.
“The fact that the Iranians are successful time after time in getting away from international pressure ... encourages them to continue their nuclear project,” Gen. Halutz said. “I believe that the political means that are used by the Europeans and the U.S. to convince the Iranians to stop the project will not succeed.”
When asked by one reporter how far Israel was ready to go to stop Iran’s nuclear projects, Halutz quipped, “2000 kilometers.” That’s the equivalent of 1,250 miles, the distance by air between Israel and Iran’s main nuclear and missile sites.
One doesn’t need secret intelligence information or an inside source in Tehran to decrypt the intentions of Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guards commanders who surround him. Over the past three months he has gone out of his way to tell the world, in one forum after another, that his regime intends to “wipe Israel from the map” and “destroy America.”
The consequences of doing nothing are far more unthinkable than any prophylactic action could be. The State Department calling Ahmadinejad "hateful" for expressing joy at Sharon's imminent death is simply not going to result in any change in behavior--by either Ahmadinejad or the Mullahs. Words simply do not mean anything to them, which is why they say anything and do whatever they want in defiance of the international community.
Not that the international community has been very tough on them. The lessons of WWII appeasement appear not to have been well-learned, and once again the world is in the process of kissing up to a monster.
With Sharon out of the current picture, the Iranians must be chortling with glee and hoping that their way is clear to proceed--without even having to worry about Israel's response. Look for a lot of new posturing and an escalation of their psychopathic behavior .
I think they are mistaken about Israel's will to deal with the issue now that diplomacy has reached a dead end -- even if the international community is not so willing.
I am hoping they are also woefully misunderestimating the U.S.