Iran: The Looming Catastrophe

(Ulf Nilson, Expressen) When will the explosion come?

How large a disaster? Tens of thousands dead? A partially poisoned and radioactive world?

Iran destroyed? Israel destroyed?

The questions above appear daily in the media in the U.S., where I landed a few days ago. In Sweden — peaceful, beautiful Sweden — we do not like to discuss any disasters, but this time, the anxieties are clearly justified.

Basic facts: Iran is led by fanatical Muslim clerics, mainly Ali Khamenei and the fanatical Ahmadinejad. Both belong to Islam’s Shi’a sect that celebrates martyrdom and irreconcilable struggle against the “infidels”, that is, us.

The Shi’ites believe that Israel must be destroyed, therefore, that every Jewish man, woman or child must be killed. Yes, they think so — though it’s hard for a Swede to understand — but they do think so. They seriously want to see a mountain of burning corpses ….

So the risk is that Iran will attack Israel with one or more nuclear warheads, carried by rockets that have been made with the help of China and Russia. An attack on London or Paris is less likely but not impossible. Stockholm will survive by being insignificant.

That Iran is close, very close, to making a nuclear bomb is confirmed by the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, in Vienna. In maybe a year, maybe a little longer …

In short, we have reached a point where every effort must be made to avoid a catastrophe. Fanatics in Iran — I remember those awful days in Tehran when Khomeini came to power! — cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons. That the Israelis agree is obvious. When a killer has a knife to your throat, it is natural to try to remove it.

So far, the Israelis, discreetly supported by the U.S., have accepted with the threat. But the Jews, whom Adolf Hitler (and later, Nasser, Saddam Hussein, and others) wanted to annihilate from the Earth’s surface, cannot help but be worried, maybe even anxious. Israel, with 22,070 sq. km., is much smaller than Småland (30,000), but has about 7.4 million people — it is a tightly-packed country, surrounded by enemies, and probably more vulnerable than any other people on earth. Can such a country quietly wait for the implacable enemies who are targeting them with nuclear weapons?

The answer is no.

An Israeli leaders who does not — by all means, let me stress by all means — try to prevent Holocaust #2 would betray his people. He would also, I personally think, betray civilization. The perception is undoubtedly controversial. To kill thousands of innocents — more or less inevitable if Israel strikes — is an abomination.

On the other hand: Negotiations have so far not brought the parties to an inch closer together.

What if Iran allows Hezbollah and Hamas to have a couple of nukes, relatively easy to smuggle into Tel Aviv? A simultaneous attack on two oil countries would quickly cripple — and perhaps silence — the Western world. What happens then?

All sensible people, like I myself, hope that the problem may be solved through negotiations. But is it at all possible in the reality that is the Middle East today?

Translated from Swedish Expressen

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