The Weapons of Mass Destruction Asymmetry

Why has America’s and Israel’s deterrence against Iran collapsed? There is a fundamental asymmetry between Iran and nearly all other countries with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Iran intends to use weapons of mass destruction while nearly all other countries (with the exception of Syria) abhor using weapons of mass destruction. This is the reason why many governments are rightly concerned that Iran will use chemical weapons in mass terrorist attacks. Iran has already equipped Hezbollah with chemical weapons which Hezbollah plans to use against Israeli cities in the next war after Israel destroys the Iranian nuclear weapons program. There is a very real danger that Iranian intelligence will simultaneously target major American cities with chemical weapons. Yet, if the Iranian nuclear weapons program is not destroyed, the threat will become a hundred times worse.

It is very difficult to deter a regime which a) intends to use weapons of mass destruction to advance its theopolitical goals and which b) does not care too much about the casualties resulting from nuclear retaliation against Iranian cities. How can such a regime be deterred aside from actually using nuclear weapons to establish deterrence? Experience shows that one of the few things that deters the Iranian regime is the prospect of loss of control over Iran itself. This is why the Khomeinist regime froze the Iranian nuclear weapons program after the US liberated Afghanistan and Iraq as the Iranian regime feared that Iran was next in line for US military liberation.

There have been no nuclear wars after Hiroshima and Nagasiki for the simple reason that none of the present nuclear powers are interested in using their nuclear weapons. Iran of course is an entirely different case as the Khomeinist regime openly states that it intends to “annihilate Israel” and no doubt intends to use nuclear weapons against Saudi Arabia as well as to gain control over the Gulf states and their oil resources.

The former Ba’athist Iraq and the present Ba’athist Syria have used chemical weapons against their own civilian citizens. Saddam Hussein committed genocide against Iraqi Kurds, including with chemical weapons, yet the opponents of the US liberation of Iraq have the chutzpah to claim that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein apparently sent his WMD to Syria just as Saddam Hussein sent Iraq’s air force to Iran. The US was certainly justified in liberating Iraq considering the threat of Saddam Hussein using WMD once more. However, the US erred in occupying Iraq for years on.  

Israel plans to liberate Syria and Lebanon in order to eliminate the Hezbollah Jihadist terrorist organization which is spread out throughout these two countries and is fully integrated with their militaries and intelligence agencies. The Ba’athist regime will no doubt in response send missiles with chemical warheads against Israeli cities. Liberating Syria is fully justified as a regime which uses WMD against its own citizens clearly has no legitimacy whatsoever.

The Khomeinist regime in Tehran does not only plan to use chemical weapons against Israel, the regime intends to use nuclear weapons to “annihilate Israel” and gain control over the Middle East specifically and Islamdom generally. Almost the only way to deter such a regime is to threaten it with loss of control over its own country. 

Why is the Iranian regime unconcerned with Israel nuking the Iranian clerical capital of Qom in response to Iranian-directed Hezbollah chemical weapons attacks against Israeli cities? First, Tehran does not think that Israel will use nuclear weapons against Iran. Second, Tehran is not overly concerned as it believes that the Islamic scholars of Qom will all go to heaven as martyrs in the event of Israel nuking Qom.

How can such an adversary be deterred? It is very difficult bordering on the impossible. Israel will never allow the Khomeinist regime to develop the nuclear capability to destroy Israel because Israel is keenly aware that the prospect of so-called MAD (“Mutually Assured Destruction”) would not deter Iran from “annihilating Israel” as in fact much of Iran would survive such a nuclear war. Neither Russia nor China can accept Iran becoming a nuclear power but they confidently with full justification count on Israel to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons program on their behalf.

The asymmetry between the Khomeinist regime and nearly all other governments regarding the willingness to use WMD means that deterring Iran is very difficult indeed. Israel is therefore willing to pay any price to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, including absorbing chemical weapons attacks against Israeli cities.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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