Iran and Israel to Look Back and Ahead on Feb. 10

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 27, 2009 | Go to article overview

Iran and Israel to Look Back and Ahead on Feb. 10


Byline: Meir Javedanfar, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Many saw the recent fighting in Gaza as part of a wider struggle between Iran and Israel. A cornerstone of the hostilities between the two sides was the 1979 Iranian revolution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's government completely changed Iran's ruling ideology to one that was hostile to Israel. Since then, relations between the two have deteriorated.

In 2009, Iran and Israel will have something to share - an important date.

Feb. 10 falls on the 22nd day in the month of Bahman in the Persian calendar year of 1387. On that day, Iranians will mark the 30th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran. On the same day, the people of Israel will go to the polls to choose a new government. As both peoples mark the special day in their calendars, relations between their governments and the possible consequences on their lives will be on their minds.

Borrowing a lesson from the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israelis should have reason to think that over the next decade, despite the nuclear threat from Iran, the level of tension between the two countries could actually subside.

One of the main lessons from that conflict was that in the face of overwhelming Arab economic power, derived mainly from oil, Israel's military and diplomatic power had less room to maneuver.

In 1973, the importance of oil worked against Israel. Over the next decade, the importance of oil to the Iranian government could work in Israel's favor. According to the recently released CIA 2025 Global Trends Report, A shift away from an oil-based energy system will be [under way] or complete by 2025.

This means that for the next 16 years, it is likely that the Iranian government is going to see decreasing income from oil, a source which provides 80 percent of its earnings. Meanwhile, there are also other factors that could seriously challenge the financial well-being of the Iranian economy even before 2025.

According to a 2007 study by Roger Stern of Johns Hopkins University, owing to sanctions that prevent investment in its oil sector, Iran is currently seeing a 10 percent fall in production levels per year. This means that the deadline for Iran's oil industry may actually be nearer than the 2025 timeline presented by the CIA study. …

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