Decided by Checkmate


Israel, Ma’ariv

By Israel Ziv


In the middle of the election year in the United States, there exists a concern of how such an operation would be perceived among the American public; nevertheless, there are two possibilities that would still give legitimacy to such a course of action.


Translated by Viktoria Lymar


Edited by Steven Stenzler



6 February 2012



The chess game being played for six years between Iran and the West is approaching its final stages, and only one side is going to win in it. The sanctions are now too little, too late…



The American-European motion of imposing the sanctions is of the greatest significance; however it is not within its power to bring about the definitive endgame entailing an Iranian abandonment of its nuclear program. Since the coup d'état, the regime of ayatollahs set before itself an ultimate and sanctified purpose of exporting the Islamist revolution to Islamic countries worldwide.


These efforts have run aground, and the only success it could attribute to itself is the establishment of Hezbollah in Lebanon and taking custody of fundamentalist organizations in the various countries, fed ideologically and economically by the nurturing and guiding hand in Tehran. That losing feeling, and the understanding that at its present strength, Iran won’t be able to realize its religious and ideological objectives, have led it to a conclusion that membership in the nuclear club will be the card providing for the implementation of Khamenei’s revolution. Therefore, it’s been acting with determination to acquire it.

Today, after more than six years of consistently performing maneuvers, and with the completion of the program close at hand, it’s very hard or even impossible to presume that Tehran would give up on its supreme ambition, not even at the cost of economic choking. The Iranians have a maximum of two moves left till the checkmate.

The Pressure Is Unable to Influence the Iranian Treasury


Should we look at the dynamics of running the campaign against the West, we’ll see that the repeating pattern in the Iranian strategy of delay goes as follows: the West threatens; the regime seemingly accedes; announces its willingness to get back to the talks; invites delegations of IAEA inspectors; those arrive, tour the irrelevant facilities and publish a report, and until the West draws conclusions anew from this futile measure – between six to eight months are gone. This is how the Iranians gained almost six years.


Hypothetically, had heavy sanctions been introduced on Iran during the passing period of time since 2006– which would have desiccated the government’s treasury, upset its lifestyle and got the masses on the streets – surely, the regime would find it very difficult to withstand such duress over time. 

However, when, according to all the estimates, there’s a little more than a year until the accomplishment of the nuclear program, and the effect of the current sanctions is going to take time to penetrate the daily lives (certainly when the markets of the East keep on consuming the Iranian oil and pumping money into Iran’s treasury), this kind of pressure is crucially incapable of  both affecting the governmental funds and driving the crowds to the street.

Without Military Action the Iranian Regime Cannot Be Prevented from Achieving Its Goal


The West, as well as the Americans, knows that the Iranian nuke is likely to constitute a fatal blow to what’s left of their influence. It’s clear also for them that the sanctions are too little and too late, and without an accompanying military operation, the Iranian regime can’t be held back from fulfilling its goal.


In the middle of the election year in the United States, there exists a concern of how such an operation would be perceived among the American public; nevertheless, there are two possibilities that would still give legitimacy to such a course of action. The one is an Iranian shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz, and the other one is an Israeli military offensive.

The second probability serves Washington better for three reasons: it’ll present the Americans as the only ones able to stop the Israelis, who have lost restraint; in the case of the Israeli strike, the Americans will have to get involved, and thus won’t appear as aggressors and will also win the Jewish vote; nuclearization [of Iran]  will be prevented, the American interference will be viewed as restraining, and this way, the continued erosion of their status in the region will be slowed down.

Israel Might Find Itself Barging in First


On the one hand, Israel can’t afford to live under the threat of a nuclear Iran. On the other hand, in this reality, it is required to act very moderately.


In a situation reminiscent of Barak and Arafat’s mutual pushing of each other at Camp David – who would proceed through the door first – Israel may find itself pushed first and transitioning against its will from the state of “hold me!” to the state of no return in spearheading the decisive onslaught.


Since unlike the Americans, we are to bear the full consequences of such a step; it’s preferable to manage the moves of the upcoming time span more like a chess game, and less like a boxing match. 


Original Hebrew article: