I recently returned from a congressional delegation visit to Israel. While there we met with the Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Foreign Minister and other government and military leaders. What we
learned is that while we fight the global war on
terror in battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a grave worry that a new front may be opening
up on the western front in the Mideast: Israel.
The threats to Israel are increasing from Hamas, Hezbollah,Islamic Jihad and Iran. Almost a year ago, terrorist groups fired tens of
thousands of rockets into Israel.
The attack ended when Israel
moved into the areas in the Gaza strip and Lebanon.
Since then the terrorist groups
have been aggressively re-arming. Evidence of this comes from seized weapons
caches and intelligence about the smuggling. Recently a ship with the Antigua flag (actually an Iranian ship) was caught
carrying 500 tons of weapons. The weapons were traced to Iran. It
contained two thirds as many rockets as were fired on Israel last
December and January.
Other weapons are smuggled through tunnels out of Egypt. Even
cooperates in stopping some of the smuggling, a lot still gets through.
Iran is also involved with training and supplying terrorist
groups on many other levels. All of this is going on while Iran is
speedily developing nuclear weapons. They have missiles capable of reaching not
only into Israel but far
beyond into areas throughout the Mideast.
If Iran gets nuclear weapons the
entire region is at risk. Israel
is at the biggest risk because of the repeated and direct threats that Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made to destroy Israel. It is believed that Russia, North Korea and China
are supplying assistance for Iran
to develop nuclear weapons and missile systems in Iran.
The US, European Union and
Israel are all pushing for diplomatic efforts to stop the weapons build up in
Iran, as well as Iranís support of weapons build-up in the region (partnered
with Syria). As diplomacy is evidently failing, sanctions then are the next
step. But Russia and China will have
to cooperate in this effort or it will fail. If that fails, Israel will be
faced with a decision to use military force to stop the clear threat.
nuclear facilities, what will happen?
Arabia, Egypt, Jordan
and other countries may applaud behind the scenes, but visibly will condemn the
attack by Israel.
No other country in the region wants Iran to succeed with their nuclear
Likely Hamas, Hezbollah, and
Islamic Jihad will rain their rockets on Israel. Since they have acquired
small rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv, it is expected casualties may be
higher than seen in other Israeli wars. Iran
itself is likely to launch counter-attacks including SCUD missiles and other
weapons onto Israel.
This is clearly a high risk, high stakes situation and
getting more tense with each day. Although things seem calm in Israel now,
with shops and streets crowded with tourists and citizens, there are shadows of
future attacks on the horizon.
What will the United States do? Will we
allow Israel to fly over Iraq to hit
Iranian nuclear weapons facilities? If Iran and other neighboring countries respond
with missiles and aerial attacks will the U.S. come to their aid? Can we get
other nations to cooperate with the sanctions to avoid this?
Will other countries such as the European Union and Saudi Arabia put pressure on the
have the defensive ability to stop the thousands of anticipated rocket attacks
they will likely get whether or not they attack nuclear facilities in Iran?
All of these questions need to
be answered, some wonít be answered until one side or the other makes a move.
Either way, the U.S. should
be concerned about the increasing power of terrorist groups and Iran.
AND SADLY, ALL OF THIS TERRORIST
MONEY AND IRANIAN MONEY COMES FROM OPEC OIL. And as long as the U.S. does not
move towards energy independence, and continues to buy massive amounts of oil form OPEC rather than drill for
our own, we are funding both sides of the war.