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Iran: Automatic Escalation To World War III?

By John Scales Avery

24 September, 2012

A few days ago Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh , who is in charge of the Revolutionary Guards missile systems told Iran's Arabic-language television network that should Israel and Iran engage militarily, “nothing is predictable... and it will turn into World War III”.

He added that Iran would deem any Israeli strike to be conducted with US authorisation, so “whether the Zionist regime attacks with or without US knowledge, then we will definitely attack US bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan.”

The first point to notice is that an attack by Israel on Iran would be both criminal and insane, criminal because it would be a violation of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles, and insane because it would initiate a conflict that might escalate in an unpredictable way. Such a conflict might easily be the start of a Third World War.

But what General Hajizadeh proposes in his statement is perhaps even more criminal and even more insane.

Let us suppose that Netanyahu's and his government carry through their totally irresponsible plan of attacking Iran. If Iran then responds by attacking US bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan, then the escalation of the conflict would be absolutely automatic. US leaders would then have no choice. They would be forced to respond by attacking Iran, despite the danger that Russia, China and Pakistan would be drawn into the conflict on the side of Iran.

One is reminded of the start of World War I, when a small conflict aimed at punishing the Serbian Panslavic Movement escalated into a global disaster which still casts a shadow over the world almost a century later. The difference is that today we possess all-destroying thermonuclear weapons, and a new world war could lead to the destruction of human civilization and much of the biosphere.

Netanyahu is unquestionably a madman. Must we allow the actions of one insane person to start a conflict that could lead to the deaths of ourselves and our children?

John Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D. there in 1965. He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen. Fellowships, memberships in societies: Since 1990 he has been the Contact Person in Denmark for Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. He was the Member of the Danish Peace Commission of 1998. Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988- 1997). Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, April 2004. http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/ordbog/aord/a220.htm



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