Symposium 2011: How do we prevent Iran from infiltrating the new Iraqi government now that U.S. troops have left the country and prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons?

RMC:  Without a continued military presence in Iraq there’s no way to ensure that Iran doesn’t meddle in Iraq’s affairs.  The troop presence in Iraq was a powerful counterbalance to Iran and its desire to dominate the Middle East.  While we effectively trained the Iraqi military and police, we don’t know their ability to fend off Iranian influence.  And honestly, if Iran wanted to march into Iraq and take over, they probably could. 


We’ve argued against sanctions and their effectiveness for years.  The sanctions haven’t done anything to stop Iran from seeking nuclear weapons nor will they prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons capability in the near future.  As the Europeans have found out, diplomacy isn’t going to solve this problem.  The rest of the world needs to make a conscious decision whether we are willing to accept a nuclear armed Iran whose leader has openly stated a desire to wipe another country off the face of the earth.  If we’re willing to let Iran obtain nuclear weapons and to live with potential consequences of that decision, we don’t have to do anything.  However, if we want to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons there are only a few options.  They can continue the sanctions route which will continue to be an abysmal failure.  They can put pressure on Russia and China to help find a solution to the crises.  Ultimately, they only sure way to stop their programme is to attack their nuclear facilities and research laboratories.  That comes with both monetary and political costs, which may be high, but it is the only sure way of stopping their programme.


I suspect that we’re going to have to come to terms with a nuclear armed Iran.  There doesn’t seem to be any proclivity in Washington or amongst policy makers to take action to destroy the nuclear facilities so it’s just a matter of time before we wake up and read the headline that Iran has tested a nuclear weapon.


Michigan:  Let’s go back in history 2,000 years.  Has anything changed?  If it were not for the oil reserves in that part fo the world, would we care?  The U.S. feels we must be the humanitarians of the globe and every country must be a democracy.  We have spent billions of dollars trying to solve the world’s problems and to no good end in most cases.  I don’t’ think any of these countries are going to declare war on us.  Nuclear weapons?  Who really wants to use them?  It’s like handguns in our country—we all feel comfortable having one but we really don’t want to have to use it.


Cartwright:  Now that we’re gone from Iraq there is no way to stop them from infiltrating the Iraqi government.  Before we left we knew that they were trying to exert influence on the new government, so it should come as no surprise when they do infiltrate Iraq.


The only way to stop the nuclear programme is to bomb their facilities.  Either we do or we let Israel do it.  It doesn’t matter who does it as long as it gets done and we stop their nuclear programme.  It’s clear that Iran doesn’t want the programme for peaceful purposes.  Otherwise, they would have accepted the offer a few years back where Russia was going to provide fuel or power or something.  Clearly, they’re looking at this as a way to gain domination over the Middle East.  Only a fool would believe that Iran wouldn’t use their nuclear weapons capabilities to destroy Israel and likely take over some of the neighboring countries.


But sadly the world is evidently content in letting Iran get the bomb.  We’ve wasted years on talking to no avail.  Sanctions have been useless and will continue to be useless.  Force is really the only language these people understand.  The rest of the world is just putting on a dog and pony show that they’re trying to peacefully resolve this issue when they know they can’t and won’t.  Everyone is burying their head in the sand and kicking the can down the road until we wake up one morning and learn that Iran has tested a nuke.  Then, it’s too late, so let’s just get used to the idea of a nuclear active Iran.  It’s going to happen.


I say we just turn Israel loose in the region.  They can clean up pretty quickly on their own.  Most people don’t realize that the only thing holding Israel back is pressure from the United States.  They’d take down Iran in a heartbeat, and they may just do that.  Without U.S. intervention, Israel may just solve the problems in the Middle East for all the world.  You never know, we might even end up buying oil from them.


Sydney:  Iraq is a total basket case at the moment, and probably will continue to be for many years yet. As such, I can’t see how there is much incentive for Iran to try to infiltrate Iraq. The only conceivable reason would be to get their hands on the Iraqi oil, although they don’t need it.  The Iraqi’s are also likely to be very suspicious of any Iranian meddling because of the Iran-Iraq war.


The question is, how do we contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions? I think Israel is far more nervous about this than we are, as shown by the recent assassinations of scientists working in the Iranian nuclear program. Clearly there is no way Israel will allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, even if it means direct military strikes on Iran.

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