Skip to comments.Iran: US Has Many Options
Posted on 02/17/2007 5:20:50 PM PST by Flavius
Has war between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran become inevitable?
These days, the question is at the center of discussions in diplomatic circles across the globe. A good part of the talk on the sidelines of the annual International Security Conference, held in Munich, Germany, last week was precisely about that.
The same question will be at the center of talks between Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad who is due in Tehran today to coordinate his strategies with Iran.
Judged by the visuals of the case, a military conflict seems possible.
Like a pair of angry cats contesting the same space, Iran and the United States have been frowning and making warlike gestures, over who should set the agenda for the Middle East, for a quarter of a century.
At some point, the two cats must jump at one another.
In a sense, the two have been at war since 1979 when Khomeinist militants raided the US Embassy in Tehran and seized its diplomats hostage.
Since then, pro-Iran militants have killed almost 1,000 Americans across the globe, including in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and, more recently, Iraq. The Americans killed almost as many Iranians with the accidental downing of an Iranian jetliner and the destruction of Revolutionary Guard positions along the Gulf in 1987.
Through the 1990s, the two managed to avoid conflict, by ignoring one another. That changed after 9/11 when the US decided to reshape the Middle East with regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Calling the Islamic republic part of an Axis of Evil, President George W. Bush made it clear there would be no room for Khomeinism in his new Middle East.
That prompted Tehran to prepare for a showdown that Ahamdinejad seems to welcome.
Iran intensified the arming of Hezbollah, renewed contacts with Shiite militants in Arab states, and increased its military budget by 21 percent. It also resumed uranium enrichment, putting its controversial nuclear program into high gear, and provoking a diplomatic tussle with US and its allies.
In Afghanistan, Iran reactivated Gulbuddin Hekmatyars Hizb Islami militia, shipped arms to the Ishaqzai Pushtun tribe, and helped Hazara Shiites raise an army of 12,000. Iran also opened its borders to fleeing Taleban and Al-Qaeda militants. According to Arab intelligence sources, some 30 senior Arab Afghans are in Iran.
To exert pressure on another US ally, Iran has shipped arms to Balochi rebels in Pakistan, including Marri tribesmen led by Nawab Khair-Baksh.
Next, Tehran established contact with Palestinian radicals, notably Hamas, feting its leaders in Tehran and providing aid worth $250 million. Last weeks capture of Iranian military advisers in Gaza shows that Tehran was also involved in training Palestinian fighters.
Last summer, Tehran fought a proxy war against Washington in Lebanon with Israel, the United States regional ally, dueling with Hezbollah, Irans cats-paw in the Arab world. A month before the war, Iran had signed a defense treaty with Syria, turning into a client state.
Hezbollahs perceived victory encouraged Iran to seek extending its glacis to Lebanon, by trying to topple the pro-Arab government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
Since last year, however, Iraq has become the principal battleground in the indirect war between Iran and the US.
Iranian strategists assume that, if the Americans run away, Iraq will be divided into three mini-states: Kurdish, Sunni, and Shiite. Invoking the 19th century Treaty of Erzerum, which gives Iran certain rights in Iraqs Shiite areas, Tehran hopes to play big brother to a future ministate in southern Iraq. The list of US accusations against Tehran includes:
Supplying Iraqi militants with roadside bombs, known as Explosive Formed Projectiles (EFPs), which have killed at least 170 US soldiers and maimed over 600 others.
Supplying Iraqi insurgents, both Sunni and Shiite, with sniper rifles bought by Iran from Austria in 2002.
Recruiting, training and financing a number of Iraqi Shiite militias, notably the Mahdi Army, led by Moqtada Sadr.
Setting up command-and-control networks to coordinate insurgent attacks on US forces in Iraq. Seventy-eight members of Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and security services have been arrested in Iraq, including seven senior officers captured in raids in Erbil and Baghdad. Among them were Muhsin Shirazi and Muhammad-Jaafar Sahraroudi who have been in charge of pro-Iran militant groups abroad since the 1980s.
Offering safe haven to anti-US militants, including Jamal Jaafar-Muhammad, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly who coordinated the smuggling of EFPs into Iraq. Moqtada Sadr is also in Iran along with Abu-Hamza, a leader of the Al-Qaeda and Ramadan Al-Shalah, leader of the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO).
Iran cannot allow the imposition of a pax Americana in which Khomeinism could have no place. The US, for its part, cannot allow its Khomeinist foes to dominate a region that contains half the worlds oil and gas reserves.
The conventional wisdom is that with the US Army bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington cannot wage full-scale war against the Islamic republic. This ignores the fact that the US Navy and Air Force remain fully free and ready for action. Washingtons choice is not limited to either invading Iran or surrendering to the mullahs. Between the two, a range of options is available.
Some are already being used.
These include moves, known in military jargon as proximity pressure.
Bush has changed the rules of engagement in Iraq to allow US forces to capture or kill Iranian infiltrators. The arrival of two naval battle groups in the Gulf represents the biggest concentration of firepower there since 1990.
These could take out the Islamic Revolutionary Guards positions close to or along the Gulf, including key strategic assets like the bases in Dezful, Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, the Jask Peninsula, and Konarak.
Irans nuclear installations in Klardasht, Arak, Tehran, Natanz, and Isfahan, along with the uranium mines of Bafq and Sarcheshmeh could also be destroyed, postponing the emergence of the Khomeinist regime as a nuclear power by years.
Other targets include the bases and headquarters of the so-called Quds (Jerusalem) Corps that Iran has uses for exporting revolution. Located in western Iran, close to Iraq, these could be taken out with a combination of air attacks and ground commando raids.
Such moves by the US would face the Iranian leadership with a tough choice: Whether to retaliate, thus provoking a full-scale war.
Iran could retaliate by using its Lebanese and Palestinian clients for attacks against Israel.
It could also organize terror operations in several Arab states and in Europe while making life harder for NATO in Afghanistan.
Escalation, however, would provide Washington with the excuse to hit the command-and-control structures of the Khomeinist regime, including in Tehran itself.
The list of American accusations is long. It includes:
So far, the Khomeinsit leadership has swallowed the American accusations and proximity pressure operations with uncharacteristic pusillanimity. Ahmadinejads talk of the Samson option, meaning to set the Middle East ablaze if the Islamic republic is threatened, has not gone beyond rhetoric.
It is as if the mullahs are looking for a way to walk back from the edge of precipice without losing face. The question, however, is whether the US, emboldened by the mullahs lack of response, will not seek regime change, and whether the Khomeinist leadership can climb down without losing face, and, perhaps, its grip on power.
This is high stakes poker, with its outcome hard to predict.
Put a Marxist in the White House, and the Americans WILL run away and Iran takes over. Not a pretty site.
I think you have hit upon the Iranian strategy. Do not provoke, keep the US bogged down in Iraq and wait for the war weary American public to elect a socialist Presisident, who will run and pay the jizya rather than fight. After that, it is just a step by step process to building an Islamic superpower.
Yes Iran, we do have many options. Since November 1979, we have owed you. Now you can sleep with one eye open wondering when that payment will arrive.
We may have many options but Iran has but one. Dismantle their nuclear weapons program or face a wave of Tomahawks. I think I should buy some more shares of Raytheon stock, they are going to be getting more orders soon.
Watch the no backbone American public to elect a nail biting, European style appeaser. 9/10/2001 here we come...
Mookie has left the building ( Iraq) and pussy footed back to Iran. Things ARE about to happen.
Didn't they declare war back in 79. I mean they did invade our embasy. They did kidnap our embassador. The did hold hostages for a year and a half.
Looks like war has been declared for about 30 years now. Iraq was actually a staging move in the bigger chess game.
Dhimbodumbos can go get fisheaded! This has been going on for several admins R and D. They should stop being jealous obstructionist traitors, and get on the winning side.... OURS!
It had better happen. We've put up with that piece of SH** abomination long enough.
Do not provoke, keep the US bogged down in Iraq and wait for the war weary American public to elect a socialist Presisident....
This is where Washington has failed us. The war in Iraq should have been over a long time ago...if it had been fought like the war that it is. Too much pandering to the PC crowd, the MSM, the anti-war pukes, and worry more about not killing people, than killing them to end it. That combined with allowing lawyers to turn our fighting troops into worried wimps for fear of killing someone and ending up in jail --- Washington has invited the situation it is in. And the failure has again been engineered by politicians worried about what people think, rather than fighting and ending a war, regardless of cost. If WW2 had been fought this way, we would all be speaking German and Russian.
Since then, pro-Iran militants have killed almost 1,000 Americans across the globe, including in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and, more recently, Iraq.
They forgot Beruit 1983!!
Iran needs to be paidback with Interest.
When are we going to realize the war started decades ago?
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