Iran, Israel, Gandalf and the bomb
Sometimes fantasy makes more sense than fiction. When looking at the latest developments in the diplomatic standoff between Iran and several Western nations, the words of Gandalf in that epic Lord of The Rings trailer spring to mind. “The board is set”, murmured the White Wizard. “The pieces are moving”.
Every now and then an article emerges which feels more like a movie teaser, introducing a larger drama that is in already in motion. The piece which has most recently given me this sensation is one by Jason Burke, in the Guardian, titled “Iran was behind bomb plot against Israeli diplomats, investigators find”. The piece soberly discusses the multinational investigation into the bomb plots against Israeli diplomats, including the clearest indications yet that Iran was behind them. The piece also looks ahead to the Moscow talks over Iran’s nuclear programme, scheduled for 18 and 19 June and notes that expectations for these talks are low. It also notes that the cost of the failure of these talks will be high.
How high? Like Gandalf in the Mines of Moria, I hear “drums, drums in the deep”: the drums of war. This is a familiar script. After all, it’s only a few years since the West went to war with a Middle Eastern regime feared for its similarly bellicose intent. If there is going to be consideration of war with Iran, just like there was one with Iraq, it would be ideal if we went about things differently this time.
The last time that there was a war like this, people were very, very angry, not least because they knew that very many people would die, most of them in horrifying fashion, and they didn’t feel that the case had been sufficiently made. So this time it would be great if all the cards were on the table. Here, therefore, follows possibly the most naïve paragraph in the history of foreign relations.
It would be great if we had real disclosure from the two main protagonists. It would be if Iran let us know exactly what it was enriching all that uranium for. It would also be great if Israel let us know once and for all if it does have nuclear weapons, and if so how many. Because if, as a nation, you’re going to launch strikes against another nation to stop them having nukes, it’s only reasonable for everyone to know if you already have nukes of your own in the chamber. Nuclear weapons are terrifying things and they are terrifying whoever has them, whether they are being used or not. So an inventory of some sort would be nice. It would also be great if there were an equally vigorous multinational investigation into whoever was blowing up those Iranian nuclear scientists in 2010. Because they are an important part of this case too.
I suspect that everything in the above paragraph is far too much to ask for. Which means that we will very possibly continue on a similar path, until all of a sudden we are on the doorstep of yet another Middle Eastern slaughterhouse. And there won’t be a thing we can do to stop it. Worryingly, though, I fear that the war movie for Iran may be in the early stages of production, even though the war movie for Iraq is still showing in cinemas.Tagged in: Gandalf, iran, iraq, israel, Lord of the Rings, Moscow, nuclear weapons, uranium
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