—by Mike Whitney first published in Smirking Chimp Media of September 21, 2006
“The US is updating contingency plans for a strike to cripple Iran’s atomic weapon’s program if international diplomacy fails…The plan calls for a rolling 5 day bombing campaign against 400 key targets, including 24 nuclear related sites, 14 military airfields and radar installations, and Revolutionary Guard headquarters”
—Ian Bruce, “US spells out plan to bomb Iran” UK Herald
“Justice has become the victim of force and aggression.”
—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; address to the United Nations 9-19-06
The Iranian Mullahs have one advantage over the Bush administration if war breaks out. They know what Bush plans to do. They know that he intends to bomb numerous targets which are unrelated to the nuclear facilities, and they know that his ultimate goal is “regime change”. This fits into America’s larger regional-wide schema of crushing indigenous resistance movements (Hamas and Hezbollah), redrawing the map of the Middle East, and integrating the oil of the Caspian Basin into the US-controlled economic system.
Recent reports suggest that the Bush strategy is going forward despite warnings from high-ranking officials at the Pentagon and respected members of the foreign policy establishment. A recent article in Time magazine by Michael Duffy outlines a realistic scenario for the initial phase of the conflict:
“It will take a few days with thousands of sorties, satellite and laser-guided bombs will be aimed at targets—1,500 already planned by the Pentagon—and will try to infiltrate armed concrete, under which some of the nuclear sites are hidden… The sites are spread across the country, some of them exposed, some operating under the guise of regular plants, and others buried deep under the ground… The military offensive requires activating nearly all types of planes in the army’s possession: Warplanes and stealth vehicles, F-15 and F-16 aircrafts taking off from the land and an F-18 which takes off from an aircraft carrier.
Such an attack requires satellite guided weapons and laser-guided ammunition, as well as spy-planes and unmanned aerial vehicles. Since, many targets are hidden underground and are reinforced with armed concrete, they will have to be hit once and again in order to guarantee that they are destroyed, or at least seriously damaged.”
US Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, who taught strategy and military operations at the National War College and who just finished a paper entitled “Considering the US Military option for Iran,” appeared on CNN this week and said:
“The order has been given (to strike Iran) In fact, we’ve probably been executing operations for at least 18 months… I’ve talked to Iranians (and they tell me) we’ve captured some people who worked with them (American Special-Ops) We’ve confirmed they’re there.” Gardiner added that “US naval forces have been alerted for deployment. That’s a major step… And the (battle) plan has been sent to the White House.”
The first phase of the war has already begun. The second phase, the bombing campaign, will undoubtedly follow a feeble pretext for initiating hostilities. Iran may be cited for its alleged nuclear weapons programs or Bush may simply claim the right to unilaterally enforce UN treaty violations, but these are just a formality. The decision to attack Iran was made long ago and features prominently in many of the neoconservative policy-documents including The Project for the New American Century and A Clean Break; a New Strategy for Securing the Realm. Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear technology for fear that it may provide them with the means to defend their oil. That would be catastrophic for western elites who plan to oversee the distribution of the world’s dwindling resources.
White House hawks and their corporate colleagues realize that the only way to manage the explosive growth of America’s greatest competitor, China, is by seizing its primary source of energy. The hand which controls the oil-spigot rules the world. Thus, Iran has become a strategic-imperative for US plans of global domination.
It is worth noting, that Iran has committed no violations and that Bush’s war plans are just another example of unprovoked aggression on a peaceful nation. Iran poses no national security threat to America, it has not attacked its neighbors, and, despite claims by the Bush administration, has not been involved in any (provable) acts of international terrorism. They are the simply the victims of a strident militarist doctrine that conceals flagrant acts of aggression behind the feeble ideology of “preemption”; a policy which allows the United States to attack whoever it chooses on the mere presumption that they may pose a potential threat to their continued global supremacy.
Iran has no nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons programs, and has complied with every requirement of its treaty obligations under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for the last three years. At the same time it has undergone the most extensive inspection-regime in the history of the IAEA, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency. The agency has been given a free-hand to “go anywhere and see anything” in Iran’s nuclear facilities and has consistently stated that it has found Iran “in compliance” with its requirements.
Never the less, the wrangling of the Bush administration, aided by a well-crafted propaganda campaign in the media, has created a furor at the UN and a split in public opinion. The public is unaware that Germany just sold Israel two nuclear submarines which will carry nuclear-tipped weapons, or that Brazil is at the same stage of the enrichment-process as Iran, or that Russia just signed a deal with South Africa that will provide them with nuclear fuel, or that the US just brushed aside its treaty obligations under the NPT to provide sensitive nuclear technology to India. Notwithstanding the double-standards, the charade continues, the war plans move forward, and the threat of a region-wide conflagration increases.
Bush has unilaterally repealed Iran’s clearly articulated treaty rights under the NPT, and yet, the European allies have fallen in line behind Washington. No one apparently can resist the administration’s incredible powers of coercion.
Ironically, Iran has signaled that the standoff could be resolved peacefully if Washington would agree to a non-aggression pact that would guarantee that the US will not attack Iran without provocation. This tidbit of information is scrupulously omitted from reports in the media as it does not coincide with the image of Iran as the “terrorist bully” they are made out to be.
In a recent article by Gareth Porter “Iran Proposal to US offered Peace with Israel” the author states that in 2003 Iran not only offered “to accept peace with Israel and cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups” but made a “two page proposal for a broad US-Iran agreement covering all the issues facing the two countries”. The secret document was provided to IPS proves that Iran is neither committed to the destruction of Israel nor to the sponsorship of alleged terrorist groups.
“What the Iranians wanted in return,” Porter says, “was an end to US hostility and recognition of Iran as a legitimate power in the region. They want to see a “halt in hostile US behavior” as well as “recognition of Iran’s legitimate security interests in the region with according defense capacity.” (ISP) Respect and security in exchange for a comprehensive regional peace agreement; these are the same demands that one expects from any reasonable sovereign nation.
According to Porter, “Bush refused to allow any response to the Iranian offer to negotiate an agreement that would have accepted the existence of Israel.” (IPS)
Last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that the administration’s position has not changed. She said, “Security guarantees for Iran were off the table.”
How can there be peace if one country will not agree not to attack another?
Iran has no choice but to take Bush’s saber rattling seriously and prepare for war. The administration’s stated goal of “regime change” poses a credible “existential threat” to current Iranian government and they must plan accordingly. They should expect that the US will prevail handily in the massive air campaign which will destroy much of Iran’s civil infrastructure leaving it in a state similar to that of Lebanon. But, following the aerial bombardment the real war will begin. (As was true in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon) If Iran intends to remove the persistent threat created by the neocon plan for regional hegemony, it must anticipate a decades-long struggle which will be aimed at undermining the ability of the United States to wage war. That means they will probably focus on targets that will destroy the US economy; asymmetrical attacks on the currency, attacks on tankers, pipelines, oil-platforms and energy sites around the world, destabilizing regional allies of America (particularly Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan) arming guerilla groups in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a concerted campaign to disrupt the flow of oil to western markets.
It will also do what it can to realign the world in a way that challenges and ultimately discards the United Nations which merely serves the imperial ambitions of the US and its European allies. To that end, it must strengthen ties with Russia, China, India, Venezuela, Brazil and the non-aligned states. It will focus on isolating the US from its allies by turning world opinion against the aggressor and doing whatever is possible to shatter the trans-Atlantic Alliance. Once the US is separated from Europe, NATO and the UN will collapse, and the war will quickly come to a close.
A war with Iran will be catastrophic, but it may also have the unintended effect of establishing greater parity among the nations by replacing the American-European paradigm with a more equitable system. It could, in fact, restore our commitment to the basic principles of national sovereignty, self determination, and human rights.
Still, the cost is bound to be substantial. A war with Iran will produce hundreds of thousands of casualties, topple the Superpower model of global rule and, very likely, bring an end to the new American century.