Comments on New York Times' "Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age"
Daniel M Pourkesali
Editor at New York Times,
writer of the following article makes several presumptions which have been
promoted by the Israeli government and its hard-line supporters both in the UN
and the Bush administration.
Terror and the Second Nuclear Age
Noah Feldman, New York Times, October 29 2006
For nearly 50 years, worries
about a nuclear Middle
East centered on Israel. Arab leaders
resented the fact that Israel
was the only atomic power in the region, a resentment heightened by
America’s tacit approval of the
situation. But they were also pretty certain that Israel (which
has never explicitly acknowledged having nuclear weapons) would not drop the
bomb except as a very last resort.
that Iran's nuclear energy
program is merely a cover for perfecting their nuclear weapon production
capability and the anti-Israel statements of the Iranian president is proof that
they're intent on destroying Israel.
Israel may possess several hundred
nuclear warheads, but since they have not used them offensively against their
neighbors then they can be trusted with such weapons.
finally, even if Iran does
not use its future atomic bombs against Israel, the sheer possession of such weapons by a
Shiite non-Arab state will usher a new arms race among the Arab states in the
region as they fear Iran might use those nukes against
of the above assumptions by the author who is a Law Professor at New York University are problematic and would not
hold up in a court of law where a guilty verdict can not be paseed on
mere future intents. Thus, absent any corroborating hard evidence provided by
the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the charge that
Iran's nuclear energy program is
being used as cover for weapons program would be immediately
for the logic used in the second supposition, we must conclude that a country's
offensive use of nukes should disqualify it from ever being allowed to possess
such weapons. That will immediately disqualify the United States as
the only country meeting that criterion and one that is actively and openly
seeking to develop a new generation of mini-nukes in clear violation of the
Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
more plausible explanation for Israel's restraint is that the
benefits of deterrence factor outweigh the catastrophic backlash of actual use
of such weapons. A much
better indicator of future hostile intentions is a country's past behavior. Iran has not attacked any of its
neighbors in the last 250 years, and does not occupy any other country's
territory. On the other hand, several of the regional states including
Pakistan, India, and Israel already
possess nuclear weapons and none have signed the NPT. In the case of the
latter, Israel has attacked all of its neighbors including Lebanon, Iraq,
Syria, Egypt and Jordan and continues to occupy parts of Lebanon, Syria, East
Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip today.
last assumption that Iran's hypothetical possession of such weapons in the
future will trigger a new arms race in the region is also flawed because Iran is
not seen as a threat and has maintained peaceful relations with all its
neighbors for over 2 centuries except for a short period between 1980-1988 when
it was attacked and invaded by Saddam Hussein forces in a bid to take advantage
of the post revolution disarray and obtain control of the oil rich southwestern
part of that country. Again
if past behavior is a good indicator of future actions, Iran's restraint
to respond in kind to Saddam use of chemical weapons on innocent Iranian
civilians during that bloody and costly war should be self evident.
Iran continues to meet its
obligations under the NPT, the hard-liners in the Bush administration aided by
their media propagandists like Mr. Feldman are working hard to manufacture a
phony crisis and scare the unsuspecting public in preparation for another
pre-emptive strike against a sovereign nation's nuclear industry which is fully
monitored by the IAEA.
Daniel M Pourkesali
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