With the mid-term elections out of the way the talk of war against Iran has once again moved from the back burner to the front burner. This war, however, is the one war the world must insist never happens.
A war against Iran cannot be like America’s wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. To begin with, apart from a few Special Forces operations inside Iran, there most certainly will not be any ground invasion. This reason for this is multi-faceted. First, because of Iran’s geographical size – it is roughly 3.75 times the size of Iraq in area and has over 2.3 times the population – Iran would be impossible to invade and occupy. Secondly, and most obviously, the US is already stretched to its maximum in occupying Iraq and fighting in Afghanistan.
If America chose to go to war against Iran, it would have only one way of achieving any likelihood of success.
But, before discussing how America might go ahead with an attack against Iran – and why it would be folly for the world to support such an attack – one should ask what the war aims would be.
In fact, there would be two sets of war aims; one would be the aims that they would tell the world the war would be about; in other words, the propaganda and rhetoric that would be used to justify such an attack; and the other would be their real aims, the ulterior motivations for launching such an attack, aims that the West would deny but, once having come to fruition, would tell the world were merely incidental outcomes that were not planned.
The US and their allies would like the West and the rest of the world to believe that an attack against Iran would be launched in order to stop Iran from producing a nuclear weapon, a weapon that Israel claims would be used against them. Over this last decade, the West’s accusations against Iran accusing it of pursuing a ‘nuclear weapons program’ has been relentless. Yet, despite the West’s insistence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, the West has not been able to actually produce any evidence whatsoever to support their accusations. This, however, has not stopped the rhetoric.
So, what are the real aims of attacking Iran?
The real aim of attacking is to stop Iran from supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. These two organisations are all that stands between Israel and the Israeli Zionist dream of a Greater Israel that includes the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon up to the Litani River. Without Iran’s support, these two organisations would find it very difficult to defend themselves against Israeli aggression and ultimate expansionism.
But, of course, Israel cannot just go marching in to conquer south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip once and for all as it would like to do if Iran were not supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel needs Iran’s support of Hezbollah and Hamas in order to justify invading and occupying south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
For Israel it’s all a matter of timing.
If Israel and/or the US can find or manufacture an excuse to attack Iran, Israel would then tell the world that an attack against both Hamas and Hezbollah, followed by invasion and occupation, could be justified in order to prevent Hamas and Hezbollah launching a retaliatory strike against Israel on behalf of Iran. As a back-up plan, it seems Israel is also willing to take a risk war at provoking war with Iran by provoking Hezbollah by continuing military jet overflights of Lebanon while also provoking Hamas by killing farmers, air raids on Palestinian homes and on Gaza supply tunnels. If Hezbollah or Hamas retaliated using Iranian supplied weapons, then that would be all Israel and the US would need to launch an attack against Iran.
I say ‘risk’ because, if war broke out between Hezbollah and Israel and Hezbollah held back from using Iranian-supplied weapons, then Israel and the US would be deprived of a casus belli to attack Iran and Israel could well find itself in exactly the same position as it did in 2006 – losing the war.
So, we know that the US and its allies can’t actually invade and occupy Iran so; what are the alternatives?
Basically, there are two alternatives; neither of which is at all acceptable – if, indeed, attacking another country without provocation was ever ‘acceptable’. First, Israel and/or the US could launch a conventional bombing attack against Iran opening the attack against Iran’s nuclear installations in order to justify the attack in the first place, and then launching a massive all-out bombing offensive against Iran’s military and governmental institutions with the aim of forcing the Iranian government to capitulate and ask for a ceasefire at the UN. The ceasefire would then be accepted on the condition that a new regime that was acceptable to the US and Israel (and, therefore, the UN) is installed.
In this scenario thousands of Iranians are likely to be killed all over Iran.
The second alternative is even more frightening but is one that might be considered because it will likely bring about capitulation much quicker, and that is the limited use of a nuclear weapon on one or two of Iran’s smaller regional cities and/or military installations with the threat of further nuclear weapon use if the Iranian government did not comply with US demands. This is an unlikely scenario but one which might be considered. The use of conventional weapons in an attack against Iran is the most likely scenario. Again, thousands would likely be killed in Iran but this time in concentrated numbers.
At the same time as Iran is being attacked, Israel would be launching a full-on assault against Hezbollah and Hamas followed by invasion and occupation of south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip respectively. Israel may also threaten Lebanon with the use of its nuclear weapons if Hezbollah persisted in launching a full-on retaliatory strike against Israel.
The war, once started, will be fait accompli and the hope – as far as the Israelis and the US is concerned – is that Iran is subdued and with a compliant government, and that Hezbollah and Hamas are destroyed and their respective lands occupied permanently with a view to eventual annexation.
The real outcome of such a war may well be far different from what is anticipated by the US and Israel who has always believed that sheer military might and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons would bring its enemies to its knees but, as yet, have never really fully used their military might. However, as the war between Iraq and Iran during the 1980’s demonstrated, Iranians are quite willing to fight back.
If Iran is attacked, the repercussions for the world will be enormous. Oil supplies are likely to be affected immediately both in terms of availability and also in price. Hezbollah will almost certainly launch a massive attack against the Israelis if Israel attacks them. Hamas too would also retaliate. Hundreds if not thousands of Israelis would likely perish. Fighters from around the world would likely launch attacks on American and US interests everywhere.
In short, a true ‘war of terror’ would be unleashed and the ‘terror’ will be felt by both sides. If such a war were sustained for any length of time then some peoples of Western countries may take it upon themselves to attack Muslims residing in the West. Islamaphobia, already a powerful undercurrent in many Western countries, could erupt quickly into violence as it did in the 1990’s in the Balkans.
The people of the West must ensure that the US and Israel do not start any more wars because after the next war there will be no winners at all.