Monday, July 30, 2018

A Looming War with Iran...What It Will Look Like


James Baker and Hillary Clinton speaking with Charlie Rose on June 20, 2012, about the need for regime change, and war if necessary, with Iran

by Gaius Publius

Since Cheney days and likely long before, war with Iran was the next neocon dream after war with Iraq. Are those days gone, or is the U.S. military and its bipartisan political warrior class (see video above) still hungering for war against the ancient seat of the Persian empire and current seat of Shiite political strength?

Just watching the news, the answer seems clear. There is no small chance that the U.S. will find a way to go to war with Iran.

So what might a war with Iran look like?

A ground war is highly unlikely. Iran has twice the population of Iraq and will not be rolled over the way hapless Iraq was rolled over. If Iraq was a quagmire — a soft, sucking, muddy wetland — Iran will be a wetland of gargantuan proportions. Iran is larger than Mongolia, ten times the size of Texas, and contains a population with a large professional class. The literacy rate is above 80% even for women.

For these reasons the U.S. military would never agree to a ground war, and the political warrior class, our neocons, want regime change, not occupation.

Which leaves us with an air war. What might that look like, and is one likely?

Iran in Ruins

To answer the first question, here's veteran war reporter Eric Margolis writing in Common Dreams:
The US and Israel will surely avoid a massive, costly land campaign again Iran, a vast, mountainous nation that was willing to suffer a million battle casualties in its eight-year war with Iraq that started in 1980. This gruesome war was instigated by the US, Britain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to overthrow Iran’s new popular Islamic government.

The Pentagon has planned a high-intensity air war against Iran that Israel and the Saudis might very well join. The plan calls for over 2,300 air strikes against Iranian strategic targets: airfields and naval bases, arms and petroleum, oil and lubricant depots, telecommunication nodes, radar, factories, military headquarters, ports, water works, airports, missile bases and units of the Revolutionary Guards. 

Iran’s air defenses range from feeble to non-existent.  Decades of US-led military and commercial embargos against Iran have left it as decrepit and enfeebled as was Iraq when the US invaded in 2003. The gun barrels of Iran’s 70’s vintage tanks are warped and can’t shoot straight, its old British and Soviet AA missiles are mostly unusable, and its ancient MiG and Chinese fighters ready for the museum, notably its antique US-built F-14 Tomcats, Chinese copies of obsolete MiG-21’s, and a handful of barely working F-4 Phantoms of Vietnam War vintage.

Air combat command is no better. Everything electronic that Iran has will be fried or blown up in the first hours of a US attack. Iran’s little navy will be sunk in the opening attacks.  Its oil industry may be destroyed or partially preserved depending on US post-war plans for Iran.

The only way Tehran can riposte is by staging isolated commando attacks on US installations in the Mideast of no decisive value, and, of course, blocking the narrow Strait of Hormuz that carries two thirds of Mideast oil exports. The US Navy, based nearby in Bahrain, has been practicing for decades to combat this threat.
He concludes, "Direct western intervention in a major ground campaign seems unlikely. But the US and Israeli war plan would aim to totally destroy Iran’s infrastructure, communications and transport (including oil) crippling this important nation of 80 million and taking it back to the pre-revolutionary era. That was the plan for Iraq, the Arab world’s most industrialized nation. Today Iraq still lies in ruins."

Iran in ruins. Margolis hasn't named his sources, so we'll have to look to his history as a reporter for evidence he has some. He's likely right. Margolis is not alone in making this case, and the logic is strong. If the U.S. and its Middle East allies go to war with Iran, it will be by air. 

Is a War Like This Likely?

To answer our second question, war against Iran does seem more likely than not — though clearly not certain — unless another round of sanctions tips the current government into collapse instead. That regime-change tactic has already failed and will likely fail again. 

Regime change in Iran was strongly supported during the Bush presidency, and is strongly desired today. Iran is now a force in Middle East politics, a thorn in western sides. Here's Arab scholar and president of the Arab American Institute James Zogby on the growth of Iranian strength as a consequence of the Iraq War. Zogby is no neocon, nor is he anti-Shiite, so what's below can be taken as dispassionate and judged on its merits:
Foolish Wars Have Consequences

...In this weakened and fractured Iraq, Iran found a foothold which it parlayed to its advantage. Today, Iran remains a major player in Iraq and not only there. Another unintended consequence of the war was the unleashing of Iran as a regional power.

Subdued, for a time, by its rival Iraq, Iran now felt empowered to extend itself beyond its borders. Preying on growing anti-American sentiment and sectarian tensions in other countries, “revolutionary Iran” was emboldened to meddle in regional affairs. This gave rise to the Arab Gulf states feeling the need to assert themselves against this growing and destabilizing Iranian threat. ...

The neoconservative’s blindness to Middle East realities did indeed give birth to a “New Middle East,” but it was exactly the opposite of the one they had imagined.

As the region descended into multiple new crises—with deadly wars in Syria and Yemen—the impact of the Iraq war became even more pronounced. Iran was a player in each of them. The Gulf states also became involved seeking ways to combat aggressive Iranian advances which challenged and threatened them. Al-Qaeda and its offshoots played an new and deadly role in Iraq and Syria. And new players like Russia and Turkey, each defending what they saw as their interests, also emerged as regional actors.
Growing Iranian influence is a matter of great (even existential) concern to the Sunni Gulf states and Israel, all of whom want to curb the power of Iran, and all of whom, it's safe to say, want war.

If the U.S. Bombs Iran, What Then?

We could ask a final question: What would be the outcome for Americans of this adventure?

I'll offer a first answer: blowback against the softest of soft targets. Reducing Iran to ruins will bring home to the shopping malls, sports centers and movie theaters of America our endless war against the Shiite Muslim world.

And how might a muscular Trump-Pence government react to that? It's anyone's guess, of course, but mine is a dark one.


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At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This pending war is the continuation of putting all global oil into fewer hands. Libya, Iraq, and Iran by the US; the Gulf States being threatened by the Saudis. It doesn't matter if the oil reserves of those nations are ever exploited. What matters is that they are taken off the market. Then that big sludgy hole that was once Alberta would be worth even more, and to hell with Americans whose health and well-being are crushed by corporate pirates seeking ever more wealth and control.

Natural Gas is also being manipulated in this manner, which is the main reason why Qatar and the Russian Federation are under attack.

The message is clear: kowtow to Uncle Scam, or have your nation bombed back into the Stone Age. Ask any Libyan or Iraqi now living in such conditions courtesy of the American-led military vandals of NATO.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neocons, including the democraps, are morons.. but they ARE greedy.
They envisioned americans toppling oil-rich states like dominos. But they don't understand tribalism nor the schism (sunni/shia) of islam. It's one thing to install a puppet in mostly stone-age ignorant Afghanistan. It utterly failed in Iraq which contains both islam sects plus a healthy amount of Kurds (they all hate each other).

Their "cakewalk" in Iraq created the sunni ISIS which just knew that allah (theirs, not the shia's) wanted them to create a global caliphate and that everyone else needs to die. Unfortunately for them, the dictator of Syria didn't want to give up his shit, and he's a friend of putin.

also, putin is a friend of Iran.

Not that these fucking imbeciles would bother to consider any of that.

With all due respect to GP and his excellent sources, it's impossible to misunderestimate just how stupid these shit-for-brains are. Like logically predicting where an amoeba might swim to next based on where it SHOULD go.

Remember, trump is the CIC. Yeah, he's impressionable and is surrounded by hawks that would impress hitler. But those hawks haven't proven to be any too intelligent... just zealous. And I include bibi in that list.

As for what Iran might do... well, I'd assume they'd ask putin to sell them modern arms. So your doomsday suddenly gets debunked. And when they get their tanks and AA, they can do something like ... oh I don't know... invade Israel? or maybe Saudi Arabia?

If Russia turns out to love trump more than iran... well, like the song says: "kiss it goodbye".


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