Saddam, Iran, and the Stability-Instability Paradox: Can Israel's "Samson Option" Hold?

Following a post from a few months back, I was pointed in the direction of an intriguing study by Duke University’s Hal Brands and David Palkki of the National Defense University that is germane to the current debates over a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program and its implications for Israeli security (h/t Zach Novetsky).  “Saddam, Israel, and the Bomb: Nuclear Alarmism Justified?”, published last summer in International Security, is the result of countless hours pouring over documents captured after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  The implications of Brands and Palkki’s findings for Israeli security are alarming but . . .
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War Games: What are They Good For?

A little over two weeks ago, a report in the New York Times by Thom Shanker and Mark Mazzetti described a recent war game run by CENTCOM that envisioned the aftermath of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program.  The result:  Regional war with hundreds of American service members dead.  News of the classified simulation, which was leaked to the Times by an unnamed official, had the Twitterverse abuzz, and the subject was quickly hyped on the Left by ThinkProgress, the blog of the liberal Center for American Progress, and denounced on the Right by Bret Stephens, writing in . . .
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Prospects for Accidental Nuclear War in the Middle East

Many are obviously alarmed over the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.  Some of these fears are cartoonish and should be ignored, but there are others that should be given due consideration.  One example of the latter is the question of whether or not an Iranian nuclear weapon would raise the likelihood of an accidental nuclear war between the Islamic Republic and Israel.  Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg outlined a potential scenario last month in one of his regular columns for Bloomberg View.  But the type of “warp speed escalation” to nuclear war that Goldberg invokes is not nearly . . .
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Iranian Threat: Mortal or Deterrable?

Numerous essays have been written in recent months taking up positions on whether or not the United States should use military force against Iran in an attempt to forestall its nuclear program.  Foreign Affairs offers an excellent debate on the subject that iss highlighted by contending essays from Matthew Kroenig and Colin Kahl, taking the pro- and anti-bombing positions, respectively.  Perhaps the silliest offering in this ongoing discussion though was an op-ed in last Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal by Mark Helprin that is filled with contradictions and paints an exceedingly cartoonish picture of Iran.

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Mr. Helprin, a . . .
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Preventive Strikes Against Nuclear Programs: Successful Strategy or Delaying the Inevitable?

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan recently commented on what he considers the “foolish” notion that a preventive military strike should be made on Iran’s nuclear program before it could produce weapons-grade uranium.  Jeffrey Goldberg quotes one Israeli official who says, “’Dagan thinks [Israeli Defense Minister Ehud] Barak is crazy enough to strike Iran.”  Goldberg, who notes that any decision to strike Iran would ultimately rest with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, interpreted Dagan’s statement to mean that an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities may be imminent.  That may or not be the case, but the question really is whether . . .
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The neocons and Israel

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic notes something interesting today regarding the neoconservatives and Israel – at least right-wing Israeli politicians and pundits. There appears to be a very real split between the two on what is happening in Egypt.

The New York Times reported a few days ago that Israeli was concerned about developments in Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak has been one of the few allies in the region, and the fear is that any regime change would threaten the peace agreement between the two countries and change the balance of power in the region.

Israeli pundits have also . . .
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What Then?

Not surprisingly, former ambassador to the United Nations—and potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate—John Bolton believes that the current unrest in Egypt means it’s just the right time for…wait for it…an Israeli attack on Iran (h/t Joshua Keating).  While he might be the most frequent, Bolton is far from the only person who has made calls for attacking Iran and its nuclear facilities by either Israel or the United States in recent years.  Concerns for Israeli security are understandable considering the geographic proximity of the two nations and the abhorrent rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but these calls rarely, if ever, attempt to explain what would come after a preemptive or preventive attack.

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