Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A War with Iran is Inevitable
If the U.S. and allies had known that Nazi Germany would embark on the genocide of six million Jews in Europe, along with five million others that included gypsies, homosexuals, and political opponents, is there any doubt they would have taken preemptive measures to stop the Holocaust?
What we know about the Iranian regime is that it is led by Shiite fanatics that believe that the only way the mythical Twelfth Imam can return is for the earth to be in a state of complete chaos and anarchy. Almost from the beginning, following the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, the regime has engaged in an effort to achieve nuclear weapons. Their use against Israel is a certainty, but they would also be targeted against Europe.
Thus, when Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) recently called for war with Iran, I assumed he has some information I do not. Sen. Graham said, “I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies.”
In the 1980s, Iran fought an eight-year war with Iraq. It ended in a stalemate, a million casualties, and the need to rebuild from scratch what was left of its military. Iran is located in one of the nastiest neighborhoods of planet Earth. It shares borders with Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan.
The Gulf States deeply distrust Iran’s nuclear and other hegemonic ambitions. The Saudis and the Egyptians recently conducted joint military maneuvers for that reason.
Internally, it faces a growing opposition from its mostly young citizens to the rule of the Supreme Ayatollah, Mamoud Ahmadinejad, and others who support the dictatorship that passes for a government there. Given time and covert assistance, one assumes they might prevail, but the real question is whether the world has the time?
Iran’s economy is in a state of collapse. As recently as November 9th there was a report of the arrest of four prominent Iranian student activists and others in anticipation of a government plan to phase out basic food and fuel subsidies. “The government is bracing for social unrest,” said one report.
If Iran’s leadership were rational, the last thing they need at this point is a war. They are not and their openly expressed hatred for Israel gives every indication of that.
As the primary source of funding for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza strip, Iran would seem to favor having its proxies take over Lebanon by force and to wage a new war on Israel. This would take some attention and pressure off of Iran as it works its will behind the scenes.
The Department of Defense and the CIA have war-gamed various plans against Iran over the years and the feedback was that neither liked the outcome because they always included the problem of an uncontrollable escalation.
As a point of reference, we put too few troops into Iraq in the 2003 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq regime and, while Baghdad quickly fell, the result became a long, unpopular war.
This raises the question of why, before leaving for his Asia trip on November 6, President Obama, according to Debka File, ordered the Pentagon “not just to beef up American and NATO military pressure on Iran, but to do so as conspicuously as possible.”
There are three aircraft carriers, four nuclear submarines, and marine assault units in the vicinity of Iranian shores as this is being written. This suggests that U.S. intelligence has picked up some disturbing signs or that the Obama administration simply wants to send a message to Iran that any trouble-making in the Middle East would be unwise.
Meanwhile, Sen. Graham called for “sinking the Iranian navy, destroying its air force, and delivering a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guards.” We can do that any time we want. What is the Senator not sharing with us that increases the urgency of such action now?
The problem Iran poses ultimately comes down to choking off the Straits of Harmuz through which flow millions of barrels of oil to the West. That would be a very destabilizing event and not permissible to the U.S., NATO nations, and others. If, however, Iran’s goal is to create world chaos, nuclear-tipped missiles would be the best way to achieve it.
As with so many geopolitical and military options, there are few good choices, but much of Iran’s bellicosity likely comes from its internal situation which, as we have seen, is an increasing threat to its regime. A show of force is a good idea. The use of it before Iran goes nuclear is even better.
© Alan Caruba, 2010