Consequences of attacking Iran

This could be merged into the main document on “Iranian-American War?”,
but that is getting rather large.
Also, this material makes sense as an integral whole.
So here it is.


[This is (essentially) a reprint of some questions I posed
on 2010-04-12 at Patrick Lang’s blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis.
So far as I can tell,
no one attempted to provide an answer to these questions in that thread.]

In intelligence there are always two questions:
capabilities and intentions.
Suppose that the Israel and/or the United States
does airstrikes against Iran,
to eliminate the infrastructure that worries it.
Three questions:

what is the upper bound on
the harm Iraq’s Shiites could do to U.S. forces in Iraq?

My understanding is that
there could be MAJOR problems with regard to supply lines,
both from hostiles performing interdiction
and in that much of the labor itself is provided by
indigenous forces whose loyalty could turn on a dime
(the “Arab treachery” paradigm).
Further, the Iraq National Army (Shiite part of it, anyhow)
could perform a Frankenstein.
Is there, in the open literature,
any place where worst case estimates are made for this situation?

Second, moving beyond the question of what could the Shiites do,
are there forecasts as to what they would do?
Or is it really possible for anyone, even the Shiites,
to know what they would do?

Finally, is there anyone in the political decision-making chain
(Congress, the executive, even the media)
who really cares about what happens to the U.S. Army,
as long Israel has yet another threat eliminated?
I mean, they can play yet again the
"nobody looked ahead" line.
It seems that those who make errors that,
while they may harm the U.S., end up benefiting Israel
always end up being made whole.

Further comments added 2010-08-03:
In the Simon-Takeyh Washington Post Outlook article,
they discuss the reactions the Islamic Republic of Iran might made to an attack,
talking about reactions from Tehran.
But, in the words of Samuel Huntington,
Iran is the “core state” for the Shiite community.
Thus an attack on Iran
would tend to be perceived by many Shiites
as an attack on the whole Shiite community
(i.e., many Shiites identify with the government and people of Iran).

Some aspects of Shia Islam seem unusual,
e.g., a penchant for self-flagellation (images).
Would people so inured to self-harm in the service of their faith
be willing to engage in extreme acts of martyrdom to gain revenge
for what they would undoubtedly perceive as
a totally unjustified attack on the center of their religion and civilization?

It seems to me that
our media “elite” has done a grossly inadequate job of warning about
the almost endless cycle of retribution that may result from
allowing Israel to attack Iran.

A Warning to the President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
Antiwar.com, 2010-08-04

This also appears at consortiumnews.com.
A link to this, with its own set of comments, appears here,
in Patrick Lang’s blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis.

A Cakewalk Against Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-08-05

No one believes that Iran is anything but
a nation that is one small step away
from becoming a complete religious dictatorship,
but the country has a small economy, a tiny defense budget,
and, as far as the world’s intelligence services can determine,
neither nuclear weapons nor a program to develop them.
Labeling the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a new Hitler
and describing the regime as “Islamofascist” is convenient
but hardly conveys the reality of
the complex political interaction taking place inside today’s Iran.
Ironically, the animus directed against Tehran relates
not so much to what it is doing as to what its government might do,
hardly an adequate pretext for going to war
and a standard of behavior that many countries in the world would fail.

A resolution (HR 1553) is making its way through Congress
that would endorse an Israeli attack on Iran,
which would be going to war by proxy
as the US would almost immediately be drawn into the conflict
when Tehran retaliates.
The resolution provides explicit US backing for Israel to bomb Iran,
stating that

Congress supports Israel’s use of
“all means necessary…including the use of military force.”

The resolution is non-binding, but
it is dazzling in its disregard for
the possible negative consequences that would ensue
for the hundreds of thousands of US military and diplomatic personnel
currently serving in the Near East region.
Even the Pentagon opposes any Israeli action against Iran,
knowing that it would mean
instant retaliation against US forces in Iraq and also in Afghanistan.
The resolution has appeared, not coincidentally,
at the same time as major articles by
leading neoconservatives Reuel Marc Gerecht and Bill Kristol
calling for military action.
[Come on, admit it: It’s all a Zionist conspiracy!
Organized by, yes, the Elders of Zion (Abraham Foxman, Exhibit A).
With Congress just a bunch of wet noodles (puppets, really)
obeying the orders of their Jewish masters.]

Both Gerecht and Kristol insist that
action by Israel or the US would be better than doing nothing and
both downplay the ability of Iran to counter-attack effectively.
One might note that both Kristol and Gerecht
have been dramatically wrong in the past,
most notably in their analyses of developments in Iraq.

Kristol is a poseur, a foreign policy wannabe,
framing policy around his own Straussian beliefs.
[Why not say Zionist?]
who actually does know quite a bit about Iran and its internal politics,
is the more dangerous of the two as he is able to use his knowledge,
which he sprinkles throughout the article, to appear credible.
But as is so often the case with the neoconservatives,
the thinking is based on false assumptions,
optimistic assessments,
and leaps of the imagination about what might occur.

One might recall neocon predictions of a “cakewalk” in Iraq,
a war that still embroils tens of thousands of US troops
and that kills Americans nearly every day.

In his article entitled
Should Israel Bomb Iran? – Better Safe than Sorry
Gerecht begins with three paragraphs
outlining what might happen if Iran is attacked, to include
attacks on US troops, shock oil prices,
terrorist attacks worldwide, tumult in the Muslim world,
and a rush by Iran to develop a nuclear weapon to defend itself.
He concludes, however, that “These fears are mostly overblown.”
He says that because he doesn’t think it will be Jews
who will suffer the most from Iran’s retaliation.]

Why Gerecht thinks that Iranian retaliation would be minimal
is not completely clear,
[Come on, it's just the usual Zionist BS.]
but he spends the next seven pages explaining why
an attack on Iran might be a positive step.
He opines that bombing Iran
“remains the only conceivable means of derailing or seriously delaying
Iran’s nuclear program…”
Bombing would also result in “traumatizing Tehran.”
And he provides a second reason for staging an attack, his argument that
“Iran has already embraced terrorism against Israel and the United States”
and that its regime supports the “indiscriminate killing” of Jews.
He presumes that Iran is hell bent on acquiring a nuclear weapon
and would use it against Israelis
“who must live with the Middle East’s merciless power politics…”
or give it to terrorist groups to accomplish the same end.
Gerecht recommends that Israel should attack Iran to “rock the system” to make the regime “lose face” and suffer a military defeat that could have fatal consequences for its survivability.
He returns to the theme, mentioning oddly that
“American fear of Iranian capabilities in Iraq and Afghanistan
has been exaggerated”
and then excoriates “an ugly anti-Israeli reflex” on the part of many Europeans
when Israel uses lethal force to defend itself.

Gerecht is doing two things.
First, he is ignoring any role that Israel might have had
in creating its own predicament vis-à-vis Iran and its other neighbors.
Israel is, for him, always the victim and never the instigator
meaning that
whatever it does is always self-defense and justifiable.
[This is symptom one of Zionist delusion disorder.]
Second, he assumes that Iran is manifestly evil
and will always choose the most despicable option for its own behavior
while he simultaneously only assumes
the best motives and best possible outcome
for any Israeli or American military action.
He ignores the fact that Iran has no nuclear weapons program
and assumes that Tehran is willing to bear
the enormous expense and risk to develop a nuclear device
and use it on Israel or give it to a terrorist
even though that would be national suicide.
He reflexively judges
every group in the Middle East that is opposed to Israel
as a terrorist
and lumps them in as enemies of Washington as well as of Israel
whether or not they have actually carried out attacks against the US.
If Iran reacts to being bombed, he notes that
“It is entirely possible that
Khamenei would use terrorism against the United States
after an Israeli strike,”
an asymmetrical response using available resources
that many might consider self-defense against an attacker
but which Gerecht chooses to dismiss as terrorism.
[“Self-defense” seems a stretch, but “retaliation” seems to be the right word.]
Gerecht dismisses
any legitimate criticism of the actions of the state of Israel
as anti-Semitic or “ugly.”

The reality is that

an Israeli attack on Iran
will trigger an all-out war in the region,

which will quickly include the United States.
It might or might not
eliminate Iran’s technical ability to build a nuclear weapon
and it would almost certainly accelerate that process.
It would not bring down the Iranian regime
and usher in reformers who would
embrace Israel and the United States
while singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire.
It would be extremely nasty,
would not solve any problems in the Middle East,
and would kill tens of thousands of innocent people, if not more.
It could easily lead to the use of nuclear weapons
by either the United States or Israel.
For the neoconservatives,
it is easy to dismiss the possible downside
while emphasizing the upside that they perceive,
which is protecting Israel by damaging Iran’s nuclear program
and possibly bringing about some version of regime change.
But we have seen too many times in the past
how the neoconservatives can be wrong —
think only of the “cakewalk” that has been Iraq
now seven years on and still running.
A new war in the Middle East would be an unmitigated disaster
for Iran, the United States, and even for Israel.
It must be avoided at all costs.


Forgetful Mullen's 'unintended consequences'

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times, 2010-08-05

The Point of No Return
by Jeffrey Goldberg
The Atlantic, September 2010


What is more likely, then,
is that one day next spring,
the Israeli national-security adviser,
Uzi Arad,
and the Israeli defense minister,
Ehud Barak,
will simultaneously telephone
their counterparts
at the White House and the Pentagon,
to inform them that their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,
has just ordered roughly one hundred
F-15Es [sic: F-15I Ra'am], F-16Is, F-16Cs,
and other aircraft of the Israeli air force
to fly east toward Iran—
possibly by crossing Saudi Arabia,
possibly by threading the border between Syria and Turkey,
and possibly by traveling directly through Iraq’s airspace,
though it is crowded with American aircraft.
(It’s so crowded, in fact, that

the United States Central Command,
whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East,
has already asked the Pentagon
what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace.
According to multiple sources, the answer came back:
do not shoot them down.

In these conversations, which will be fraught,
the Israelis will tell their American counterparts
that they are taking this drastic step
because a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler
to the physical survival of the Jewish people.
The Israelis will also state that
they believe they have a reasonable chance
of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years.
They will tell their American colleagues
that Israel was left with no choice.
They will not be asking for permission,
because it will be too late to ask for permission.
[What a trick.
Wait until it’s too late, then say “Oh my gosh—it’s too late!”]

When the Israelis begin to bomb
the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz,
the formerly secret enrichment site at Qom,
the nuclear-research center at Esfahan,
and possibly even the Bushehr reactor,
along with the other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program,
a short while after they depart en masse from their bases across Israel—
regardless of whether they succeed
in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants,
or whether they fail miserably to even make a dent in Iran’s nuclear program—
they stand a good chance of changing the Middle East forever;
of sparking lethal reprisals,
and even a full-blown regional war
that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians,
and possibly Arabs and Americans as well;
of creating a crisis for Barack Obama
that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity;
of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington,
which is Israel’s only meaningful ally
[Ho! Ho! Ho!
Never on that one.
Not with Israel’s invincible fifth column in full power in America.]
of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran;
of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs,
launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973;
of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger,
by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks,
as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way;
and of accelerating Israel’s conversion
from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations.

If a strike does succeed in crippling the Iranian nuclear program, however,
Israel, in addition to possibly generating
some combination of the various catastrophes outlined above,
will have removed from its list of existential worries
the immediate specter of
nuclear-weaponized, theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism;
it may derive for itself the secret thanks (though the public condemnation)
of the Middle East’s moderate Arab regimes,
all of which fear an Iranian bomb
with an intensity that in some instances matches Israel’s;
and it will have succeeded in countering, in militant fashion,
the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which is, not irrelevantly,
a prime goal of the enthusiastic counter-proliferator
who currently occupies the White House.


[This is a long 10000 word article.]

Israel-First’s war on Iran will bring war to America
By Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2010-08-13

I hesitate to again return to the issue of war with Iran,
but do so because the likelihood of that catastrophe
appears more likely with each passing day.
I look around the country
and see no groundswell of popular support for such a war,
or support for Israel attacking Iran.
I hear no newscasters or strategists or pundits warning about
any specific threat Iran poses to U.S. interests at home or abroad.
And yet, Republicans in the federal legislature
unanimously support the idea of Israel attacking Iran.
The Democrats need not say anything publicly
because it is obvious they are owned lock, stock, and barrel
by U.S. citizen Israel-Firsters,
and will do their and Netanyahu’s bidding.

[I.e.: The Zionist Occupation Government is now not myth, but reality.]

Obama has told the U.S. military — if media reports are correct —
not to shoot down Israeli air force planes
if they fly through U.S. controlled Iraqi airspace on their way to bomb Iran.
Too bad, such a turkey shoot
would be entirely in the interests of the United States ....

The Muslim leaders who share [Ramadan] supper with Obama
will defend and assist their Muslim brethren in America and overseas
to whatever extent is necessary
once the Israel-Firsters get their war with Iran.
Ironically, once the Israel-Firsters have their Iran war
they will have assured Israel’s eventual destruction
and involve the country
of which they are nominally citizens — the United States —
in an unending war with Islam.
Indeed, if there is war with Iran,
America will be fighting Muslims at home and abroad
long after Israel is nothing more than
an annoying and unlamented memory.

[A]n article by the Israel-First media shill Jeffrey Goldberg
in the new issue of the Atlantic ...
claims there is a better-than-even chance
that Israel will attack Iran this year.
Geez, no kidding?
Do Goldberg’s findings really surprise [Steve] Clemons
and the rest of Washington’s intelligentsia?
Isn’t it apparent that Netanyahu and the Israel-Firsters
simply have Rahm Emmanuel tell [the president] to jump,
and [the president asks] “how high?”


Israel’s control of U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world
is seriously criticized by few of Washington think tanks
because most of them depend on donations from rich U.S. citizens,
many of whom are also leading Israel Firsters.

It seems to me that the bottom line is that

most of America’s 300 million citizens
are now watching helplessly as
their bipartisan governing elite is influenced (bribed?)
by agents of a foreign power
to allow Israel to start a war that
will kill their military sons and daughters,
further wreck the economy, and
bring Muslim-vs-Israeli violence to their towns and cities.

It appears that the war will start
without one of the 535 federal legislators
doing anything concrete
to try and make sure America does not go to war
unless the president asks for a declaration of war
and the Congress votes one.

On this issue, as I noted above,
the U.S. Constitution is a dead letter because
our leaders care more about lining their pockets and getting reelected
than in defending the republic
by refusing to fight other peoples’ meaningless-to-America religious wars.

[I think Mr. Scheuer may be incorrect
when he makes a distinction between
“America’s bipartisan governing elite” and “agents of a foreign power”.
The right concept and phrase would indeed seem to be
“Zionist occupation government”.]

Because of
unquestioning and endless U.S. support for Israel and
Washington’s abject failure to control
thousands of miles of land and coastal borders
war is coming to the United States.


Labels: ,