By Vladimir Saghin
The Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper predicts that the US and Israel will most likely attack Iran before the end of 2012.
The newspaper made this conclusion after taking an interview from a high-ranking Russian diplomat who asked not to reveal his name.
The diplomat said that when the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in New York on Monday, Ms. Clinton asked Mr. Lavrov to warn Iran that the talks between Iran and the six of mediators, which are scheduled for April, are Iran’s last chance to escape a war.
“In fact, Israel is blackmailing Barack Obama,” the Russian diplomat said in his interview to The Kommersant. “Now, if Mr. Obama doesn’t support Israel’s idea to start a war against Iran, he will become very unpopular not only in Israel, but with many Jews all over the world. In fact, at present, most diplomats, including Russian ones, have no doubts any more that a war with Israel and the US, on the one side, and Iran, on the other, is inevitable. The question is only when it will start.”
The pessimistic forecasts of this anonymous diplomat seem to be shared by several Russian experts. The Director of the Center of Public and Political Research Vladimir Evseev says:
“The West is still giving Iran some time before the end of the year – but, most likely, only as an attempt to make Iran accept some compromises conserning its nuclear program. But why the term is set before the end of this year? Well, in November, presidential elections will be held in the US, and Barack Obama hopes to be reelected. It is not in his interests to start a new war in the Middle East before he is reelected – this would lower his rating. That is why he still hopes to persuade Iran to accept some compromise.”
So, the US is giving Iran a chance for a compromise – but will Iran use this chance? There are few grounds to suppose so if we remember that the West has been negotiating with Iran for about 10 years already, but Iran still hasn’t done anything to make its nuclear program more transparent for the West.
The chances that Iran will take some steps in this direction now are even smaller because Iran will have its own presidential elections next year. If any candidate for Iranian presidency makes even a small compromise towards the West, he will surely immediately loose people’s support.
Mr. Obama seems to realize very well that in such a situation, Iran would hardly accept any compromises – but he is still pressuring on Iran. Why? The answer is again “because of the coming elections” – not the elections in Iran, but the ones in the US. Mr. Obama wants to have an image of a strong-willed politician, and he wants to either make Iran accept a compromise by any means or, at least, to look to be persistent in his pressure on Iran.
So, if neither side wants to make any compromises, a war, unfortunately, is very possible.
And, most likely, this would be a longer and a harder war than, say, the US military operations in Iraq or in Libya. Iran has a stronger army and more advanced weapons than the majority of other Moslem countries. Moreover, unlike many other Moslem countries, Iran is not gripped by any internal conflict. If the war does start, Iran would probably fight against the enemy not only on its own territory. From the military point of view, Iran is strong enough to deliver powerful strikes not only on Israel, but on the US’s and its allies’ military bases in the Middle Eastern region as well. And this may make this war result in something much more terrible than just a regional conflict.