by Tom Shackleford
This is the final article in a series about a potential conflict with Iran for the benefit of Israel. The first article described the fraught situation that currently prevails in the Middle East. The second examined why the panicked mentality in Israel and its partner Saudi Arabia make a conflict with Iran involving the US highly probable, barring a successful Russian attempt at prevention. Now, let’s examine what might be expected of this ill-fated war.
Why must the US be involved?
Israel’s late President Shimon Peres disclosed to the Jerusalem Post in 2014 that he had dissuaded Netanyahu from ordering a preemptive airstrike on Iran. Peres considered it a defining accomplishment of his presidency. He halted the madness by explaining that “the consequences would be catastrophic.” This didn’t come out until last year because he requested that the story be withheld until after his death. Unsurprisingly, it also emerged later that the Saudis secretly offered for the Israelis to overfly their country on the way, during which time Saudi tanker aircraft and rescue helicopters would be airborne to assist. That strike never happened because it would have accomplished nothing of long-term value at a tremendous cost. What the Israelis require is for their golem, Uncle Sam, to deliver comprehensive devastation to the Iranians. Nothing short of that would be a satisfactory solution to Israel’s national security crisis.
What Form Will it Take?
First consider logistics. Iran is more than a few times larger than Iraq, both in population and geography. In order to carry out the Neocon plan for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, nearly a year of buildup was required. The military capability to perform a similar operation in Iran simply does not exist. Moreover, the Bush administration went in hastily. To do so, it had to discard senior voices of reason who clarified precisely why invading Iraq would be a disaster. Some explained how a Shi’a vs Sunni conflict would be unleashed, among other catastrophes. They were invited to hit the road. I attended a bitter lecture by one of these men a couple years after the fact. His description of the foolishness of people with the fate of so many in their hands was disturbing to say the least. It seemed consistent with the facile papers they put out.
The US Central Command makes plans for all sorts of contingencies within its zone of operation. The original plan from Cold Warriors for occupying Iraq rightly involved far more soldiers. The Neocons (often Jewish academics) figured that they could just topple Saddam, introduce democracy, and things would turn out fine. The US Army Chief of Staff, Eric Shinskei , didn’t agree with this naïve outlook. He was forced out.
He was eventually justified by a very painful lesson for the US Army. They will not agree to make that mistake again on an impossible scale. Thus, an attack on Iran would involve an air campaign. There would also be a cyber-warfare component, probably targeting assets like the electrical grid. This has already been attempted by the US and Israel against Iranian nuclear facilities using the Stuxnet Virus, but it ultimately failed to stop the program.
Iran’s nuclear program is nothing like Iraq’s Osirak nuclear power program. Decades ago, Saddam paid the French, who designed the facility specifically to be unable to produce weapons material, to build a reactor that his people couldn’t dream of constructing. The Israelis responded with a combination of murders and a surprise airstrike on the facility. It was destroyed in 1981, and that was the end of things. That won’t work with Iran. Iran’s program is largely the result of their nascent native capabilities. Mossad has already murdered Iranian scientists, but that only slowed things down.
Iran is 17th largest country in the world at 636,372 square miles. They’ve dispersed their nuclear development facilities in the center of the country, buried under mountains. Assuming these facilities could be over-flown, multiple, stacked, direct hits by bunker-busting bombs would have to be achieved to destroy them. That’s never happened in real life before. Even then, that would be a temporary setback for an enraged Iranian populace. The only way to stop a nuclear program (a secondary objective) and stop the provision of Hezbollah (the primary objective) would be to gut Iran and bring down its government. Thus, expect a devastating and extensive campaign.
Ever wonder why we’re not leaving Afghanistan even though the situation there is hopeless, and this fact has been public knowledge for more than a decade? Well it happens to be positioned on the Eastern border of Iran. Our aircraft carriers are marvels of industry. But, the reality is that they’re gigantic targets. It’s really just a question of how many supersonic cruise missiles are fired at them at once. If enough are coming, accompanied by torpedo salvoes, then they don’t stand a chance. This is especially true in a confined space like the Persian Gulf. American military infrastructure in Afghanistan is critical for defeating the Iranians.
Tensions are high, and the rhetoric is hot enough already. However, it’s still Christmas season. The Neocons are busy trying to sell this strike on Iran to Trump, but even they aren’t reckless enough to recommend it immediately. No President in his right mind would want to say to the American people: “Merry Christmas, here’s a new war.” Moreover, wars are always best started before an election and better yet, not concluded before the next one.
Look at George H.W. Bush. He launched Operation Desert Storm on January 17th, 1991, safely after the holiday season. Unfortunately for him, it wrapped up a bit over a month later on February 28th. His popularity at that time neared 90%. That was all over before he lost to Clinton in 1992.
His bumbling son didn’t repeat that mistake. Iraq was invaded in March of 2003, right in time for his reelection campaign. The fake cowboy then gave the nauseating “Mission Accomplished” speech after his carrier-landing stunt that May. Troops were still in Iraq and the disaster hadn’t yet become readily apparent by the time ballots were cast in 2004. He was reelected. It would be hard for any competent politician not to take notice of this contrast. Their advisors certainly won’t. So, if something is going to happen, it will be before the 2018 midterms.
Many analysts have concluded that Hezbollah, Israel’s primary target, wouldn’t be prepared for the next conflict until 2019. An attack on Iran would absolutely involve retaliation against Israel by Hezbollah. This is yet another factor making a strike most likely to be carried out before November of 2018. If conflict is inevitable, Israel needs that to happen before Hezbollah is ready for it.
A full scale invasion is not viable and the military has paid a heavy price for Bush’s idiocy in Iraq. They won’t go along with that course of action again on a much larger scale. Even if they did, we would have at least a year of warning while logistical preparations are made. The American public has no stomach for that. So, an attack on Iran would most likely come out of the blue and after Christmas, probably as close to the midterms as possible. AIPAC can easily deliver whatever congressional support is required. However, the press will have a tough job selling a war that nobody wants launched by a president for whom they’ve stirred up fervent hatred.
In the meantime, the Russians are probably attempting to use their considerable influence with both parties to mediate some sort of stalemate. It’s also likely that they would sell Iran more weapons and ECM equipment to deter the entire endeavor if an attack appeared imminent. This isn’t the Russia from 15 years ago. Their S-400 mobile AA mobile and cruise missile capabilities are much better and cheaper than what our military-industrial complex has been producing. These systems pose a dire threat to US forces. That’s another reason why Washington would launch a surprise attack before the Russians got wind of what was about to happen.
A war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is even more contrary to Russian and Chinese interests than the overthrow of Assad. Sure, Israel demands that the US destroy Iran. That was the same story in Syria. It didn’t work because the world is different now. This is all taken into account in the nebulous world of America’s bipartisan foreign policy makers. It won’t matter. No decision that they make has anything to do with the interests of ordinary Americans.
What happens if we open Pandora’s Box? Nobody knows for sure except that it would be extremely bad. The US imports over 7 million barrels of oil per day in order to function. A war that halts or inhibits shipping in the Persian Gulf is likely to lead to domestic shortages and price spikes. Plenty of Americans would die as well. Since it would also be a direct attack on the interests of Russia and China, they won’t respond favorably. They have multiple avenues of economic and financial retaliation that would be devastating. Iran has a population of 80 million. If even a small percentage fled, that would mean millions of more invaders for Europe.
Unfortunately, the consequences of war for the people of the US and Iran have little to do with any of this. Israel feels like it has a gun pointed at its head. It needs Uncle Sam to push it aside. Whatever price the goyim pay in that process is worth it. Sooner or later, we’ll fight our last war for Israel. Maybe this will be it.