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  • Roland Paris

The Cockeyed Case for Preemptive War on Iran

I was invited to talk about fragile states at the annual meeting of the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa on Thursday. As it turned out, however, I spent most of my time speaking about Iran. I couldn’t help myself. I arrived at the conference an hour before my panel was to begin and settled into a chair with a cup of coffee to watch the proceedings. The speaker before my session was Uzi Arad, who served as National Security Advisor to the Israeli prime minister from 2009 to 2011. I found myself losing interest in my coffee and leaning further forward in my chair. Slowly and meticulously, Dr. Arad was building what amounted to a case for preemptive war on Iran. (It was a fascinating speech, well worth watching in full. The video is here, courtesy of CPAC.) Well, what could I do? I’ve been concerned about the march towards war with Iran, and have expressed these concerns previously. For better or worse, I set aside my prepared remarks about state fragility in the Middle East and North Africa, and devoted my opening comments to the issues Dr. Arad had raised. The full video of the panel is available from CPAC. The session touched on many other issues, including the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, challenges of responding to fragile states, and democratic prospects of the Arab Awakening, with thoughtful comments from the other two panelists, Reuel Marc Gerecht (Foundation for Defense of Democracies) and Ann Fitz-Gerald (Cranfield University).

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