Originally created 12/16/05

A chilling scenario



If those are sabres rattling in the Mideast, they're nuclear-tipped sabres.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said recently he would consider preemptive strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities; Iranian officials have warned of "heavy consequences" in such an event.

Meanwhile, Iran's march toward nuclear weapons continues, with the International Atomic Energy Agency warning that Iran is only months away from having an atomic bomb.

IAEA chairman Muhammad El-Baradei cautioned against anything other than diplomatic pressure on Iran, saying anything else would "open a Pandora's box."

Yet, El-Baradei for months refused to declare Iran non-compliant with the Non-Proliferation Treaty - and only recently relented, which would allow the U.N. Security Council to impose diplomatic sanctions. Even when that happens, if it does, Russia and China stand ready to block the sanctions.

And consider that the European Union and United Nations have been negotiating with Iran for over a year, and have little to show for it.

Diplomacy, in short, is not working.

You can't blame Israel for being worried - especially considering that Iran is led by a president who has called for wiping Israel off the map.

"I view the development of the Iranian nuclear (program) as a paramount threat and as a real danger to the future of the state of Israel," Netanyahu told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper. "Israel needs to do everything to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear threat against it."

The whole world does.

Yet, even the military option is fraught with uncertainty. How would Iran respond? And could either Israel or the United States even reach Iran's uranium enrichment facilities, which are said to be in deep bomb-proof underground bunkers?

You thought Iraq was a problem. Wait until a jingoistic, racist and religiously hateful regime in Iran has the bomb.