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Libya & Iran... Join The Dots

Will International Community Also Issue Ultimatum To Iran Whose Nuclear Weapons Program Poses Far Greater Poses A Far Greater Than Gadaffi's Libya?

Current Air Offensive Against Gadaffi's Forces May End In Standoff Between Libyan Regime & Rebels

Nuclear Specter In Japan Stresses Urgency Of Preventing Iran, A Similar Deranged Regime Like Libya, From Acquiring Nuclear Weapons

Muamar Gaddafi

 The international media are now focused on two flash points on the globe - the tsunami and cataclysmic nuclear threat in Japan and the West's air strikes in Libya against the forces of Muamar Gadaffi. Analyst David Essing looks at some of the lessons to be learned from these developments that should be applied to Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

 In the shifting landscape of the Middle East, some of its political contours are taking shape. The West, primarily at the urging of French President Nicola Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, persuaded U.S. President Barack Obama, to lead a morally justified military operation to halt Col. Gadaffi's terrorizing of his own people. So far, the West's declared goal as expressed in resolution Security Council Resolution #1973 that refers to possible 'crimes against humanity', is to halt the onslaught of Gadaffi forces against the newly emerged opposition. If regime change is not the objective, and the West's air strikes have driven back Gadaffi's forces from Benghazi, a standoff is likely between Gadaffi in Tripoli and his opponents in Benghazi. Iraq's Saddam Hussein proved that it takes a major ground operation to topple an entrenched Arab despot. Due to the tribal composition of Libya, Gadaffi still enjoys strong support, most importantly from the Libyan army, unlike the ousted dictators of Tunisia and Egypt.

Husni Mubarak

Several lessons should be learned from this history in the making. First, every Arab state is different when it comes to the question of popular revolts leading to democracy sweeping the Middle East.Egypt is a case in point - despite the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, the Egyptian generals are still calling the shots and it remains an open question whether they will relinquish governmental control overnight to be replaced by who knows what? Moreover, will the Egyptian military be ready to give up their vast economic interests? But even with the best intentions for implementing the transition to democracy, is it reasonable to expect the 'Yes we can!' approach will now sweep out the old dictatorial regimes and usher in an era of instant democracy? (Among the twenty-two members of the Arab League there is not even one democratic state - Lebanon had a power sharing arrangement but even that has gone down the drain now that Hezbollah, Iran's proxy, is now more powerful than the Lebanese Army.

Lesson #2: What would be the situation today if Gadaffi had his finger on the nuclear button? Obviously, there would be no Western military intervention in Libya. On the contrary, Gadaffi would not only be ranting about the West 's crusade against Libya, and his defense of Islam against the new 'Hitlerism', but he would also be dictating his terms to the rest of the world. And a short distance across the Mediterranean, Western Europe would be staring a nuclear specter in the face. So what has happened? After U.S. President Ronald Reagan actually bombed Libya and after being caught red handed in the Lockerbie massacre and the development of WMD weapons, Gadaffi realized he had better mend his ways or face the consequences. Despite his dictator's calling card, he was welcomed into the international community. Realpolitik, more often than not, trumps democratic ideals. (Even in Egypt, the Obama administration was quick to realize that a critical mass of the people were determined to topple Mubarak and the Egyptian Army would not execute a bloodbath to preserve his regime.)

Now substitute Achmadenijad's Iran for Gadaffi's Libya. Actually, Gadaffi is much less of an ideological or religious fanatic than Achmadenijad and the Ayatollah's who preach to their followers that their Shitte Messiah is about to come and Iran will first overthrow existing Arab regimes, dominate the Middle East and its oil reserves and then win an apocalyptic war with Christianity to eventually rule the universe. Meanwhile, Tehran has targeted Israel for destruction and the Sunni Arab regimes for overthrow. Compared to Iran's grand designs, Gadaffi is a pushover- he is not a fanatic Muslim nor does he have plans for establishing a cosmic empire. In fact, Gadaffi proved to be a rational decision maker when he decided to give up his nuclear program in the face of international isolation and military threat. This is simply not the case for Iran. Tehran seems to revel in leading the international community by the nose in continually stonewalling on its nuclear weapons program in the face of mounting evidence. The Iranians have been thumbing their nose at the diplomatic campaign to block Iran from acquiring the bomb. Surely the move from warnings to action should now be applied to the far greater danger posed by a nuclear armed Iran.

David Essing

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