Israel may not even be involved in the attacks. It suits the Sunnis to have their Zionist boogeyman and it suits Israel to be the boogeyman. The Sunnis get their conspiracy theories about Jewish power and Israel gets the deterrent power of being seen as able to strike anywhere at any time.
For all the noise recently coming out of Tehran it is doubtful that the regime really believes Israel is responsible either. The traditional Iranian response to Israeli domestic activities is to round up and string up members of the local Jewish community. That hasn’t happened yet. For that matter if the regime really believed that gangs of Israeli agents were freely roaming its streets and wiping out key personnel then heads would be rolling within its own security forces on a daily basis. That hasn’t happened either.
Who is actually carrying out the attacks? The list of suspects is endless because the Iranian regime has plenty of domestic opponents and is internally divided against itself. Paranoia is routine in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, some of whose commanders might profit from making the nuclear program more expensive to develop. Between ethnic minorities, political opponents and internal traitors, the list is nearly endless.
If the Gulfies are involved, directly or indirectly, then the explosions serve their purpose. They fear an Iranian nuke as much as Israel does and they also want to avert a direct war. A massive Israeli operation will turn Iran into the victim and fingers will be pointed at Sunni Arab states which will be forced to explain how Israeli jets were able to overfly their territory. An American strike will require them to lend their bases to an assault on a Muslim state, which will lead to even more of a backlash.
With the Arab Spring becoming an Islamic Winter the Gulfies are playing for time. On the one hand they want the United States to hold back any Israeli attacks until they approve, on the other they want to sabotage and undermine Iran long enough for a Sunni Islamist coalition to be strong enough to hold back any Iranian threats. If Iran is to have nukes, the Gulfies want them first and they want them in the hands of people that even Tehran’s Ayatollahs will be afraid of. Not the Israelis, who are fairly liberal, but Wahhabis who view Shiites as infidels and would have no problem pushing the button.
A nuclear stalemate between two fanatical branches of the same religion is bad enough, even if you think that nuclear winter might be a myth. Muslim states often divert themselves from direct armed confrontations by competing for status in wars against fully authentic infidels.
Bin Laden established his bona fides by flying jets into American skyscrapers. Iran does it by bombing Israelis. A nuclear standoff between Sunnis and Shiites would most likely end with nuclear weapons exploding in non-Muslim cities. Potential targets include Tel Aviv, New York and Moscow. Potential attackers would include any of the numerous Sunni and Shiite Muslim terrorist groups being funded by Iran and Saudi Arabia which have developed into worldwide networks.
The first act of mass destruction carried out against Westerners was done by a Sunni terrorist group. The next one might be done by a Shiite group, just as a matter of competitiveness and because the United States is closely aligned with the Saudis and the rest of the Gulfies. While a nuclear standoff might result in a repetition of the Iran-Iraq War, it is more likely to result in another September 11 but on a much more massive scale.
War in the Gulf might still come, but the Gulfies have a history of fighting a different kind of war. That war can be seen in the No Go Zones of European cities, the economic sabotage and terrorism. For the moment they would like to avoid that direct confrontation and they might succeed, but the long term costs of standing by while a Sunni Shiite nuclear arms race takes off may be more than we can even begin to imagine.
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