Monday, November 11, 2013
Consider the following speculative idea: Iran and Saudia Arabia are central to the Muslim World, and Muslim messianic faith tells of the coming of the "Mahdi", who will unite Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, establishing a united Islam dominant in the world.
We hear talk of a common front by Israel and Saudia Arabia against what may be imminent Iranian nuclear power; and we hear that Pakistan may be readying to ship nuclear bombs to Saudia Arabia, ostensibly to defend against Iran.
Yet do we not also hear of the imminent completion of an oil pipeline connecting Iran to Pakistan?
Pakistan lies adjacent to Iran, sharing a common border with Iran; and, the significant beachfront geographies of Pakistan, Iran, and Saudia Arabia make for easy mercantile intercourse between them.
Though Pakistan is Sunni -- as is Saudia Arabia from whence Islam first emerged -- what is there to prevent Pakistan from using the oil pipeline into Iran as a conduit for nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons?
Even as the West supports wars that pit Sunni against Shia, do we not also see growing Islamic unity against the West?
While our eyes are on the centrifuge capabilities and the hard water facilities of Iran -- truly these are real threats in and of themselves -- just next door to Iran lies Pakistan, nuclear capable and possibly just the completion of an oil deal away from sharing that nuclear capability with Iran. Time Iran may seek to "purchase" from the West via negotiation, allowing nuclear inspections in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions, may also buy time for oil pipeline completion of the into Pakistan. We risk complacency with respect to the visible Iranian threat, apparently blind to a plausible unknown-unknown nuclear threat in the form of Iran-Pakistan.
The bloody Syrian situation (and the simultaneous Iraqi situation) lies to the west of Iran; the bloody Pakistani and Afghani situations lie to the east of Iran. Iran itself is relatively quiet, though we may delude ourselves into believing that the Iran of the Mullahs is on the brink of profound civil unrest. Meanwhile, the clock ticks down on American and Allied presence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. (It is worth noting that both Pakistan and Afghanistan share borders with Chinese occupied Tibet to the northeast and with Iran to their west). So, the way to pressure the Iranian Mullah hegemony may first require that both Syria/Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan be squared away; and, the way to pressure Pakistan and Afghanistan may require continued sanctions against Iran and interruption of the Iran-Pakistan oil pipeline.
Continuous and extended Western involvement and re-involvement (such as in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan) may be the hard but necessary road to successful containment of Islamic nuclear power. Neither can we ignore Turkey and Egypt at this time. But, the question raised herein goes to whether or not there is a subterranean alliance between Iran and Pakistan that may have nuclear consequences.