The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Saudis Sing It Too: Bomb Bomb Iran

Over at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg says that the “most consequential news from the Middle East today” is Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s promise to keep oil prices under $100 a barrel. Why does this matter? Argues Goldberg:

Because it clears the way for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. I’m not suggesting coordination between Israel and Saudi Arabia on this, any more than I would ever suggest that Superpacs coordinate with presidential campaign staffs. I’m merely noting that one factor that inhibits Israel from striking at Iran is fear that an attack will cause Iran to retaliate against Persian Gulf shipping (among other things), which would cause oil prices to skyrocket, which would, of course, generate a fair amount of anger directed against Israel.

The “blame Israel first” crowd continues to interpret the Iran-US crisis as an example of a sinister Israel lobby pushing the US into a war to serve the ambitions of the Jewish state. Not only does this analysis miss the vital US interests at stake in the region and the threat Iran poses to a balance of power the United States needs, it misses the reality that for several years now some of the strongest, most consistent pressures on Washington to act against Iran have come from the Arab world.

The Arab Lobby’s strong pressure for war against Iran is a major factor in French, British and even German hawkishness as well in this crisis.

But the blame Israel firsters don’t care; if we have a war with Iran they will know who to blame.

Published on February 7, 2012 1:17 pm
  • Roy

    Professor Mead, couldn’t you draw an analogy with historical examples of regional powers who sought to dominate their neighbors, only to be hemmed in by an alliance of countries with a shared interest in keeping them contained? Is Iran different in this respect, and does adding nuclear weapons change the calculus? Is it impossible to deter a country once it has nuclear weapons? North Korea and Pakistan certainly make trouble, but is there a limit to their provocations?

  • bill phelps

    Apparently, the question of “When” has been answered – sometime this Spring. The question of “How” remains. Israel has a coastal navy. The Israeli Air Force’s combat aircraft do not have the range to reach Iran without air refueling, a capability they to not have. An air strke will not suffice but an air campaign of several weeks may. Ground combat in Iran is out of the question due to Iran’s mountain terrain. How?

  • Thurman Poat

    Two questions if you don’t mind:

    1) Who is the Arab Lobby?

    In recent times we have heard more and more about this group, yet they don’t have the same structure and exposure as other foreign interests on the Hill (or elsewhere for that matter). I mean, what is their policy?

    Also,

    2) Is Goldberg being coy when he says “…any more than I would ever suggest that Superpacs coordinate with presidential campaign staffs.”

  • anne

    The USA didn’t have any of these problems before “Israel”.

  • http://www.poisonyourmind.com reflectionephemeral

    Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be a Bad Thing.

    Israel attacking Iran to prevent it from getting a nuclear weapon (for 3-10 years) would be a Bad Thing, perhaps even worse.

    No conspiracy theories necessary.

  • Gary L

    The Bomb Bomb Iran meme originated, AFAIK, with The Capitol Steps, a bi-partisan satirical entourage that has enlightened Washington area attitudes since the early 80s. When we lived in the metro DC area back in the late 80-mid 90s, the missus and I would attend their Georgetown concerts several times a year. We visited DC last summer and enjoyed seeing them in their new venue at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.

    Their burlesque is based on the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann”.

  • Kris

    anne@4: “The USA didn’t have any of these problems before ‘Israel’.”

    Quite right, “Anne”! Nor did the “USA” have an “AIDS” “epidemic”, “suffer” from massive “illegal immigration”, face a “crisis” of the “blue social model”, or “lose” “Michael Jackson”.

    Darn them Jews “Zionists” and their so-called “state”!

  • Toni

    anne,

    The USA didn’t have any of these problems before massive quantities of Saudi, Iranian and Iraqi oil were developed in the 1930s, or before mass production of automobiles created worldwide demand for cheap gasoline, often made from Mideastern oil.

    Now that much of the world runs on oil from the Persian Gulf, it’s lucky that a super-competent military exists not far from Iranian theocrats’ nuclear ambitions. I refer to the Israeli military, of course. None other in the region has the capability.

    And so the Israelis will likely do the world’s dirty work and disable, if not destroy, Iran’s nuclear facilities — no matter how many anti-Semites around the world mutter darkly and falsely about them.

  • Peeves

    Sunni and Shia have shared sectarian violence throughout their history,

    The Arab spring is of heir own making, not of Israels or the Wests.

    Of course the common theme is blame Jews, but
    Arabs are more concerned with sectarian power struggles and Turkey and Persia, both want to be the puppet masters…again.

  • Iddo

    In reply to Roy@1′s proposed “analogy with historical examples of regional powers who sought to dominate their neighbors”, such as “North Korea and Pakistan”, that seem to be “hemmed in by an alliance of countries with a shared interest in keeping them contained”, one should add:

    “…and all that after both countries mentioned above, with their theocratic Islamist leaderships both dedicated to actively bringing about the return of the 12′th imam, are well known to have both also been making repeated daily threats to annihilate the “Jews” (cf. Holy Quran for proper definition) at the first possible opportunity once they achieve this capability…. And see, so far nothing happened!!! Surely, we can thus all live safely with a nuclear Iran too!”

    So why are all those sinister-Zionist-lobbying-Jews suddenly making such a big fuss about it, crying wolf and instigating an unnecessary war at the risk of getting Israel hit by all those 200,000 Hezbollah missiles? Don’t they trust the sincerity of the EU-UN-Obama-Putin-China “alliance” in being able to “hem in” a future nuclear Iran? Even after the spectacular effectiveness of said alliance on current Syria, for example?

    Hmm… Let’s see, these Jews must be conspiring to take someone else’s money here… of course! As usual… Well, at least now we can finally understand what’s behind [reflections on motives of another commenter deleted --ed] thinking.

  • SC Mike

    Back at the seminary in the mid 1960s we sang “Bar, bar, bar, bar barberi” in Latin class as a reaction to reading Julius Caesar, and something told me that the “Bomb, Bomb Iran” song was an oldie, so I decided to look it up.

    Sure enough, via Wikipedia I found a recent article about Vince Vance who wrote and performed the song circa 1980 with his band the Valiants as a Jacksonian reaction to the Iran Hostage Crisis that led in part to Jimmy Carter’s defeat at the hands of Ronaldus Maximus in the 1980 election.

    Vince is apparently still giving concerts and has a page on something called “MySpace,” whatever that is.

  • Ricardo

    Anne is particularly disingenuous. Never heard of the Barbary Pirates??