- - Thursday, February 20, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The pictures of an Iranian fleet approaching the U.S. shores sadly serve as a reminder of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis with old Cold War concepts of balance of power, psychological warfare and testing of U.S. administration combativeness.

Although the 2014 Iran-U.S. configuration is different from the 1962 USSR-U.S. war theater, the idea of firepower threatening North America’s coasts is deeply troubling.

The aggressiveness of Iran reached a new high, leading to one single conclusion: The Islamist regime of Tehran must be repelled.

Thirty-five years ago, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini lectured the world about his theocratic ideology, and then quickly withdrew to moderate democratic statements.

In this manner, he was able to get support from home and abroad while opposing the Shah’s regime. Eventually, the Islamic revolution won and installed a theocratic and international jihadist regime in Tehran, which is still in power today. Since then, it has been martyring its own citizens and poisoning global security.

The same “hit-and-run” strategy using confusing language and deceptive maneuvers is used by the current Iranian diplomacy in its nuclear talks with the West.

In 2013, when the Iranian presidency changed its look and replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Hassan Rouhani, the fundamentals of the Iranian state remained unchanged. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini and its bullying regime just switched one mask for another.

Recently, the West, trapped in an unprecedented economic crisis, chose to open the doors to economic and financial transactions with Iran and opted for greed and immorality, abandoning its mechanism of economic sanctions against the anti-democratic and threatening Iranian regime.

EU foreign-affairs chief Catherine Ashton became a hero for leading a process of appeasement with the Persian “hit-and-run” specialists, and President Obama was feted as a champion for reinforcing his “whirlfall” U.S. foreign-policy process.

Following the “run” comes the “hit.” A few weeks after smiling to the democracies’ representatives they abhor so much, the Iranians returned to bullying: Virulent diatribes against the United States, its allies in the Persian Gulf and Israel, followed by the latest breaking news about the Islamic republic’s armada sailing toward the U.S. shores.

Although this Iranian flotilla may be small when compared with the U.S. Navy, a few well-placed rockets, torpedoes and mines could prove enough to result in some heavy damage to a powerful fleet.

With little chance of winning with conventional forces, the Iranian naval forces would need to rely on an asymmetric strategy of surprise moves, “hit-and-run” kamikaze operations supported by martyrdom ideology. The aim would be to physically and psychologically destabilize the enemy fleet.

It is the timing of this foray that is most worrisome. Sending its fleet toward the United States could serve as a tool of deterrence to discourage any country evaluating a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It could serve as a strong signal that the regime is extremely close to producing an atomic bomb and fears an imminent pre-emptive action from the United States or its allies.

We could expect additional actions against Israel, implemented by proxies such as Hamas, Hezballah, Islamic Jihad or the Taliban. Here, too, the goal won’t be so much in itself to destroy the Jewish state with missiles, bombs or kidnapping, but rather to shake Israel psychologically during the probable Israeli Defense Force reprisal operations to follow.

Almost certainly, as it occurred in the past, the IDF will be trapped on a battlefield mined with innocent civilians used as human shields, surrounded by TV crews, leading to global mass media and diplomatic condemnations of Israel. The Iranians will have reached their goal: a rift among their enemies and additional pressures on Israel not to attack Iran.

The days are dwindling before Iran gets the bomb. Israel, the first target on its list, has been warning its friends for years.

If a unified West does not act now, jihadi war against the Jewish state will be immediately followed by extreme violence against other Western assets. Only a unified and firm frontal approach of a courageous West can prevent this from happening.

It is not only the Iranian nuclear program that must be aborted, but the philosophy of destruction which is behind it. The ayatollah’s regime, its deceptive tactics and its “hit-and-run” strategy, must be halted.

Naive Western leaders have been behaving like a professor trying out new educational methodologies on a bully. All they get in return is more threats. Western leadership can still resist and avoid capitulating to this evil regime.

It is time for our leadership to protect our citizens’ unalienable rights for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It is time to give priority to the survival of liberal democracy.

Jerome Vitenberg is an international political analyst, who has taught political science for the London School of Economics via the University of London’s International Programs at DEI College, Greece.

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