Reuters is reporting this morning that Iran says may hit Western warships if attacked by Israel:
Iran’s defence minister warned on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic could strike back at Western warships in the Gulf if it were attacked, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“The Westerners know well that the existence of these warships in the Persian Gulf serve as the best operational targets for Iran if they should want to undertake any military action against Iran,” Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said.
First, it’s important to note that the Reuters headline is a bit disingenuous based on Vahidi’s statement, in which he points out that the best operational targets are Western war ships, but does not directly threaten a response on the West in the event of an Israeli action. Is it propaganda or conspiracy? We’ll let you make that judgment.
In a recent analysis of the probability of certain ‘doomsday’ events occurring, Jim Willie suggested that the possibility that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities is about 10%. How he came to this conclusion is not exactly clear, but we can assume that an attack is not outside the realm of possibility in 2010.
The precedence for attacking whether or not WMD exist has already been set. Regardless of whether or not the Iranians intend to manufacture nuclear weapons, it is clear that Israel and the US believe that this is the eventual goal, and that Iran will be able to accomplish this production within the next twelve months.
With that in mind, one must consider that Israel has their justification to launch an attack if they so choose.
Will they go it alone? In a previous article, we pointed out that an Israeli general said that if the intention is to completely disarm Iran’s nuclear capabilities, America would have to be involved in the initial attack.
There are several ways the US could be “involved,” and what it boils down to is how our involvement, or non-involvement, is perceived by Iran’ leaders.
- We allow the Israelis to fly over Iraq on their way to bomb Iran. We control the airspace over Iraq, and by allowing Israel to fly over Iraq it can and will be perceived as US involvement. Whether or not Israel will request permission to do so is irrelevant, because it would be a stretch to suggest that President Obama will shoot down any Israeli planes to defend Iraqi airspace. So, we can assume, as the Iranians certainly will, that any attack coming in over Iraq is sanctioned by the USA.
- We bilaterally launch an attack on Iran in concert with the Israelis. This, of course, is direct action, and the Iranians will assume they are at war with Israel and the USA.
- The Israelis launch an attack on Iran but fly over Syria and Turkey to do it. I am not a military strategist, so this is merely a hypothetical, but it has also been suggested by Charles Krauthammer. If an attack happened in this manner, it is likely because President Obama refused to assist with direct, and even indirect, military action and Israel is forced to go it alone. This is probably the only scenario in which Iran would not immediately assume US involvement, and it is also the only scenario in which the US could deny any involvement.
As a peace loving American, I believe the only time the US should engage in war is when we are under direct threat. If Iran does pose a nuclear threat, in that they are building nuclear weapons, and it has been confirmed, then by all means, bombs away! But, most of the American public has lost trust in the WMD argument, so finding support and convincing Americans to engage in yet another war may be difficult.
While half of America may have been against the war in Iraq, inquiring minds must consider if those same Americans will be against a war in Iran if their favored President makes the justification to take action. It’s pretty clear that the right will support an action against Iran, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan, so about 50% of people are on board almost automatically. The other 50% now have someone who they can “believe in,” and one must think that most of these followers will support the President. So, getting the people on board, especially with the aid of mainstream media, should not be that difficult of a task.
The question really boils down to whether or not Israel chooses to attack, and how the attack is played out.
The US is already entangled in “two” wars in the middle east, but I suspect history will consider this as one widespread military action. With the involvement of Iran in the conflict, the war in the middle east can easily spread to other nations, including Pakistan, India and parts of Asia.
The other consideration to make is oil. For now, we are at war because our nation was attack by terrorists. The war is driven by politics and ideology, more or less. But the middle east has a very important natural resource, which is heavily consumed not by just the US, but China and other emerging nations as well. Some reports suggest that oil reserves have reached a peak and from this point forward, there will be a decline on the supply side, and eventually, the oil will run out. If the US is engaged in a war, and then becomes an occupier in not just Iran and Afghanistan, but throughout the middle east, we would essentially control oil flows in and out of the entire region. The Chinese will be none to pleased about this development. Whether this would lead to a military response would be pure speculation, but throughout history, wars have been fought for resources and wealth.
Considering the other dynamics at play, including a global economy that continues to deteriorate and a US dollar that may collapse and subsequently destroy the value of the trillions in bonds held by the Chinese, we can see how tempers across the world could flare.
The middle east, like Europe in the early 1910’s, is a powder keg. Even a single, seemingly meaningless event, could detonate the whole thing.
Of course the other argument is that mankind has changed, and things are different this time. No one wants to go to war, so this is just speculation, conjecture and unreality. Our leaders will work all of this out – because they care!