Iran Versus Everyone
The Islamic Republic's belligerence threatens more than Israel.
FEBRUARY 17, 2012
Sophisticated commentary about the Islamic Republic of Iran can be a thing to behold: Whenever the mullahs resort openly to terrorism, it's taken by some in the West as a good sign that they're finally serious about negotiations.
So it has been this week, as Iranian agents sought to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand. The attempt in Tbilisi was foiled without injury, but the bombing in New Delhi critically injured the wife of one Israeli official and hurt three others. In Bangkok, four Thais were injured when a cache of explosives detonated in an Iranian safe house.
Tehran officially denies involvement. But three Iranian nationals are now under arrest in Thailand, another is on the lam, and a fourth is being extradited to Thailand from Malaysia. If these are the marks of a country that is "ready to talk"—as former Obama Administration diplomat Dennis Ross argued in a New York Times op-ed this week—we'd be interested to know what Iranian actions would qualify as evidence of belligerence. An attempt to bomb Washington, D.C.? Oh, wait: They tried that, too.
The larger story is that Iran is coming close to openly making war on the country it wants to wipe off the map. That's an escalation from the more veiled (and often more deadly) warfare the Islamic Republic has waged against Israeli and Jewish targets for decades. It's also an indication that the mullahs, far from seeking to de-escalate tensions with the West, are scrapping for a fight. They might get one.
It is in nobody's interest, least of all America's, to see a regional war erupt in the Middle East. It is even less in America's interests to back our allies in Jerusalem into a corner where they feel they have no choice other than to fight, as they did in 1967. An Iran that seeks to murder diplomats across the globe is a threat to global security. The U.S. has an even larger interest than Israel in stopping it.