December 2, 2023

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Israel-Hamas war tipped to spark ‘nuclear showdown’ as Iran on ‘crash course’ to bomb

The Israel-Hamas conflict could spark a “nuclear war” if Iran races to build the bomb, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer has warned.

The terrifying warning comes as Israel prepares to mount a ground invasion of Gaza in response to the Hamas atrocities on October 7 that left at least 1,400 Israelis dead.

Israeli strikes in the besieged enclave have killed roughly 2,800 Palestinians, with another 1,200 people believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities said.

The bombing campaign has sparked sabre-rattling from Iran, with fears a new front could soon open up on the Lebanon-Israel border if Hezbollah – an Iranian-backed terrorist group – gets involved.

All this volatility is raising the spectre of “nuclear war”, former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Matt Shoemaker has warned.

He explained: “The threat of nuclear war currently remains unlikely but has become a plausible threat in this crisis.

“Not only because of Iran’s nuclear weapons program but because Israel is a nuclear power.”

As Mr Shoemaker points out, Iran’s foreign minister has ominously warned Israel will suffer “a huge earthquake” if it invades Gaza.

“Iran would not remain an observer in the conflict,” the DIA expert predicted, adding: “As a former intelligence officer, and based on news reports I’ve seen over the past year, some estimate that if Iran initiated a nuclear weapons ‘crash course’, it could develop a working bomb within six weeks.”

He added: “That’s an extraordinarily short amount of time and gives the West a small window if Iran chooses to do that.”

Iran’s nuclear capabilities have been a source of grave concern in Washington ever since then-President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018, restoring crippling sanctions on the autocratic country.

Iran began breaking the terms a year later, including by enriching uranium to higher levels.

In Mr Shoemaker’s estimation, the Israel-Hamas conflict may just tip Iran over the edge.

However, the threat of nuclear war is not just coming from Iran, he warns.

“Not far off in Tartus, Syria, Russia has a well-established naval presence and has the largest nuclear stockpile in the world,” he said.

Mr Shoemaker makes the point that Russia has backed pro-Palestinian and Iranian causes.

“To make matters even more complicated, China, another nuclear power, has extensive economic and financial interests in the region,” he added.

“Fifty percent of China’s oil and gas comes from the Middle East so if this became a regional war, China would certainly have an incentive to get involved to protect its energy resources.”

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