ISIS Iran Report

What kind of umbrella?

What kind of umbrella? photo

July 22, 2009

The New York Times is reporting today that Secretary of State Clinton suggested the United States would extend a “defense umbrella” over Persian Gulf states should Iran refuse to halt its nuclear program.  It is not clear whether the Secretary was referring to a nuclear umbrella, which would possibly commit the United States to use nuclear weapons in defense of Gulf states, or to strengthened conventional alliances.  The latter would certainly build upon long-standing defense relationships in the region, though the presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia, for example, is controversial among Saudis who bristle at the presence of non-Muslims stationed in the country that is also guardian of Islam’s holiest sites.  Extending the U.S. nuclear umbrella runs counter to efforts to devalue the utility of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense posture and would almost certainly be a setback for larger disarmament efforts.  It will be interesting to see how Israel views the Secretary’s remarks and whether they will be interpreted as the United States somehow becoming resigned to a nuclear Iran (and by extension increase the possibility of Israeli strikes).  ISIS has consistently opposed the use of military force against Iranian nuclear facilities in Nuclear Iran: Not Inevitable.

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