Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who worries more?

The Guardian is terribly worried that the IAF attack on Syria was a rehearsal for one on Iran. It reports claims that the target was North Korean nuclear material on its way to Iran, and comments

Underlying all the accusations was a suggestion that recalled the bogus intelligence claims that led to the war against Iraq: that the three countries might be collaborating to supply an unconventional weapon to Hizbollah.

Note that, without knowing what the target was or anything concrete about the raid, The Guardian is already sure that any such intelligence will be "bogus".

Tigerhawk has a more nuanced interpretation that actually accounts for what little we know has happened and also for what has not.

[The raid's] purpose was to interdict and communicate. Military action is its own idiom, especially when accompanied by leaks from the unleaky and silence from the places that usually erupt in indignation and rage.

Yes, Israel has demonstrated that it can penetrate Syrian, and therefore Iranian, air defenses. If the mullahs were confused on that point, perhaps because the military in any authoritarian system is prone to optimism, they are no longer. That is a handy bit of information for the mullahs to have. Let's hope they put it to good use.

Second, the Turks have sent a message. How is it that a Kuwaiti paper reported the involvement of the Turks? That news was not broken by an investigative journalist, it was leaked. Turkey, or at least its virulently anti-Islamist military, wanted Syria and Iran to know that it will not stand by passively while they assemble arsenals of the world's most dangerous weapons.

Finally -- and this is the really loud message -- the Arab world, taken as a whole, has responded with... silence. No other Arab government complained about the raid, forcing Syria to take its protest to the United Nations alone. No mobs poured into the famous "Arab street," no flags were burned, no cars torched, and no "rage boys" screamed into television cameras. The message to Syria and Iran could not have been more clear: The Arabs are far more worried about Iran and its satellites than they are about Israel.
[His emphasis]

It is this last point that I think is the most interesting. The Guardian doesn't feel threatened by Iran; this may have to do with geography or with political inclination. Whatever. The rest of the Middle East, however much they might dislike the Americans and the Israelis, know who and what is really the impending menace.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

No comments: