Outside the Box Method to Stop Iran's Nuclear Drive

The most recent estimates concerning Iran's nuclear program suggest that Iran will have mastered the process of making a bomb within the year and will actually be able to possess such a bomb within three years. The possibility that these estimates are accurate requires of us that we begin to think "outside the box" when looking for solutions to our Iran problem.

Although Iran poses an immense security threat to the United States, the Obama administration -- as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has admitted this last month -- has no viable plan to stop Iran's acquisition of nuclear arms. That being the case, it becomes necessary for Iran's principal victims, the Gulf States and "moderate" Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, to band together with Israel to find a way to prevent Iran from going nuclear. As strange as such a coalition may sound, in Middle East politics it's not such an unthinkable idea. And all options should be on the table.

Before looking at the military option, it is worthwhile to examine some of the economic pressures that can be applied to Iran. Assuming that Israel and the moderate Arabs agree that Iran posses a huge threat to all the members of this coalition, they need to regard their actions as acts of war -- meant to destroy or at least seriously weaken the common enemy: the Iranian regime. The first action, which can be instituted very quickly, is for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states to up oil production, thereby driving the price of oil sharply downward. When the price of oil drops below $55/ barrel, Iran loses money by exporting its oil. The loss of oil revenues would quickly cause Iran to run short of funds for its nuclear and weapons programs, as well as placing additional pressures on an already disgruntled Iranian populous, increasing the chances for a revolution to oust the mullah/Revolutionary Guards regime.

Cutting off trade with Iran, while expensive to the Gulf states, ultimately would prove much cheaper than losing independence or having to field a military capable of preventing Iranian imperial designs. Iran still remains very vulnerable to a gasoline embargo -- it needs to import about 40% of what it consumes despite currently being the world's second largest oil producer. If Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha stop trading with Iran the affects will be felt immediately. Add to that a blockade of Iranian shipping and the situation becomes serious in a flash.

Although these belligerent actions are considered "acts of war," none of them require firing a single bullet. If western nations join a naval blockade of Iran, the pressure on the regime will expand exponentially. Within several months the regime will disintegrate. The temporary inconvenience of doing without Iranian oil will be offset by the relief from Iran's meddling in the affairs of its neighbors and its underwriting of global terrorism, as well as the end of its threats to all in the region.

Iran has been at war with the United States, the West, and through the use of its proxies and allies Hizbollah, Hamas, Jihad Islami, and al-Qaeda, with most of its Sunni Arab neighbors and Israel for over three decades. Despite the differences between the "moderate" Arab regimes, Israel, and the West, it is time to band together to stop the common threat coming from the Islamic Republic of Iran (not the Iranian people) and work together to bring the regime to an end. Biting the bullet now will save a lot of blood and grief later. And who knows? -- maybe working together to solve the common Iran problem might help instill enough camaraderie and trust to help move forward a solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is founder and Chairman of the Board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East. He may be contacted at contact@ADME.ws.