A pre-election strike on Iran?

Why a purportedly ‘limited’ attack by the U.S. is likely — and worrying
Is Iran being set up for a ‘limited scale conflict’ just before the U.S. presidential election? This is a suspicion that might be far from the minds of North and West European leaders, hailing from countries that, since World War II, have been sceptical of war, especially in their own neighbourhoods. But Iran is not really in their neighbourhood. Will countries like Germany, France or Brexiting-U.K. have the conviction or coherence to stand up for Iran, which has been pushed into a corner by the one-sided withdrawal of Donald Trump’s U.S. from the international nuclear deal brokered under former U.S. President Barack Obama? It remains one of the great ironies of politics today that Mr. Trump is such good friends with North Korea, which seems to have no intention of abandoning its nuclear weapons, and so belligerent towards Iran, which did sign an international nuclear deal!
Liberal Europe might have trouble imagining the effect of a ‘limited scale conflict’ on a national electorate just before elections, but surely we Indians have larger imaginations? I am not saying that Mr. Trump and his publicity troops are planning a ‘hot’, instead of the currently ‘cold’, conflict with Iran. What I am saying is that there are very good ‘factors’ which may lead to it.
A different matter
The likelihood of a staged conflict just before the U.S. presidential election getting out of hand ought to worry India. A conflict between the U.S. and Iran would not be like a conflict between India and Pakistan, which are neighbours. They can inflict some damage on each other. And the only likelihood — victory by India, which is the greater military power — would leave matters unresolved for the victor: India will not only have to control much of hostile captured territory but still be exposed to ‘Islamist’ attacks from other Muslim countries, because even beyond Pakistan there lie other Muslim nations and regions. Incidentally, these other neighbours do not desire major trouble between India and Pakistan; they
prefer the current status quo. There will also be no ‘global’ or ‘liberal’ cheerleading for either India or Pakistan in the case of a conflict.
But a purportedly ‘limited’ attack by the U.S. on Iran is a different matter: the U.S. would remain largely unaffected, because it is too far away and far too strong. Iran has neighbours — not just Saudi Arabia and Israel — who would love to see it bombed a few decades back into the past. And there will even be a degree of ‘global’ and ‘liberal’ cheerleading for a presumed ‘return to democracy’ in Iran. The prospects, to say the least, are worrying.
Tabish Khair is an Indian novelist and academic who works in Denmark

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/a-pre-election-strike-on-iran/article28337538.ece

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