Last week twelve US warships and at least one Israeli warship passed through the Suez Canal on their way to the Red Sea. Included among the US fleet is the aircraft carrier, USS Harry S Truman. Today we learn that the Israeli Air Force have set up base at a Saudi airfield near Tabuk in north-west Saudi Arabia despite earlier denials from the Saudi government that it had given the Israelis permission to use its airspace to attack Iran. We also learn that American and possibly Israel forces are also gathering at bases in Azerbaijan at the north-west border of Iran.
While Israel’s war against Iran has absolutely nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear weapons program – Iran doesn’t have one and the Israelis and the US are fully aware of that – Israel and the US will need to launch any attack against Iran by first attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to maintain the illusion that the casus belli for the war is, indeed, Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Since many of Iran’s nuclear facilities are in the north-west corner of the country, it should not be surprising that Azerbaijan be used by Israel and the US as a springboard to launch their attack against Iran. However, once the initial attack has been launched, US and Israeli air forces will then likely concentrate on pounding Iranian political and defence institutions for the purpose forcing Iran to capitulate and sue for a peace through the UN which the US will conditionally concede to providing Iran rids itself of President Ahmadinejad and gives up its nuclear program.
But, while the attack on Iran will be seen by the world as the main event, the real purpose for the war will be happening on Israel’s doorstep.
At the same time as Iran is being attacked, Israel, using the excuse of pre-empting retaliation for attacking Iran, will attack both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza and then move to occupy south Lebanon up to the Litani River and the Gaza Strip. Israel will also likely fully occupy the West Bank.
This is the scenario that the US and Israel would prefer to see happen; a quick overwhelming move against all of Israel and America’s enemies that concludes with the defeat of the Iranian regime and, thus, regime change, together with the demise of Hezbollah and Hamas. This then will give the Israelis a free hand in creating a Greater Israel that ultimately includes the Gaza Strip, south Lebanon up to the Litani River, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It will also provide the US with an even stronger ally in the Middle East and also a neutered enemy.
But can it work the way the Israelis and the US plan?
Invasion of Iran by the US is out of the question, (though the insertion of some special forces is highly likely in order to co-ordinate air strikes). Iran is a vast country that is some three times larger than Iraq. The US, considering its current ground troop commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be able to effectively invade Iran. It would have to rely on an overwhelming aerial bombing campaign in order to prevail.
The instant any attack is launched against Iran, or Hezbollah or Hamas, there will likely be instant retaliation against Israel by at least Hezbollah and possibly Hamas. Both entities would, by this stage, realise that this fight will be to the finish. The fighting therefore will be intense and fearsome and there will be many casualties – mostly, of course, civilians. In a worst case scenario, depending on the intensity of the bombardment of Israel by Hezbollah, Israel may threaten the use of nuclear weapons against Lebanon unless Hezbollah cease their rocket attacks against Israel. Likewise, if Iran retaliates with a rocket attack against Israel, both the US and Israel may threaten the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. In the very worst case scenario, if Iran or Hezbollah used chemical or biological weapons, Israel and /or the US would actually use nuclear weapons with little or no warning in retaliation.
Whatever happens, a war against Iran will have devastating consequences one way or the other and for all sides.
It’s time for the peoples of the world to stand up and be heard before it is too late.