“Oh I understand completely what war with Iran is, what it entails and the repercussions it will have… and I understand their are unforeseen repercussions that no-one can foresee.
In terms of having enough ‘men’ on the ground, both the US And UK… either a military draft or a hard recruitment drive of volunteers.
In terms of the UK… first Iran needs to attack the UK military, obviously…
But what I would envision is a drive to recruit as many young, right wing, uneducated, predominantly ‘Northern’ or small town boys as possible.
(if you can convince these retards to engage in gang stalking, it’s not too much of a stretch to get them to sign up to the army :D)
In fact, use the internet!… convince them they need to ‘man up’, not to be a ‘snowflake’… that the liberal, intellectual, ‘Lefty’ Corbyn supporters are to blame for this war… get British women on board to tell them their only interested in men who serve their country…
Tell them where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing for past ten years! 😀 (flip that one on it’s head)
You know the type I’m talking about… it’s not going to be too difficult to convince them they have to serve Queen and country… the United Kingdom is joining the heroic Donald Trump and the US in fighting the crazy and dangerous Iranians, and that their country needs them.
“A nasty, brutal fight”: what a US-Iran war would look like
A deadly opening attack. Nearly untraceable, ruthless proxies spreading chaos on multiple continents. Costly miscalculations. And thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — killed in a conflict that would dwarf the war in Iraq.
Welcome to the US-Iran war, which has the potential to be one of the worst conflicts in history.
Washington and Tehran remain locked in a months-long standoff with no end in sight. The US has imposed crushing sanctions on Iran’s economy over its support for terrorism and its growing missile program, among other things, after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal last year; Iran has fought back by violating parts of the nuclear agreement and downing an American military drone.
To hear President Donald Trump tell it, that last incident brought the US within 10 minutes of launching warplanes and dropping bombs on Iran. Had Trump gone through with the planned strike, it’s possible both nations would now be engaged in a much more violent, much bloodier struggle.
Importantly, both country’s leaders say they don’t want a war. But the possibility of one breaking out anyway shouldn’t be discounted, especially since an Iranian insult directed at Trump last month led him to threaten the Islamic Republic’s “obliteration” for an attack on “anything American.” In other words, Tehran doesn’t have to kill any US troops, diplomats, or citizens to warrant a military response — it just has to try.
Which means the standstill between the US and Iran teeters on a knife edge, and it won’t take much to knock it off. So to understand how bad it could get, I asked eight current and former White House, Pentagon, and intelligence officials, as well as Middle East experts, how a war between the US and Iran might play out.
The bottom line: It would be hell on earth.
“This would be a violent convulsion similar to chaos of the Arab Spring inflicted on the region for years,” said Ilan Goldenberg, the Defense Department’s Iran team chief from 2009 to 2012, with the potential for it to get “so much worse than Iraq.”
How the US-Iran war starts
US-imposed sanctions have tanked Iran’s economy, and Tehran desperately wants them lifted. But with few options to compel the Trump administration to change course, Iranian leaders may choose a more violent tactic to make their point.
Iranian forces could bomb an American oil tanker traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway for the global energy trade aggressively patrolled by Tehran’s forces, causing loss of life or a catastrophic oil spill. The country’s skillful hackers could launch a major cyberattack on regional allies like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
Israel could kill an Iranian nuclear scientist, leading Iran to strike back and drawing the US into the spat, especially if Tehran responds forcefully. Or Iranian-linked proxies could target and murder American troops and diplomats in Iraq.
That last option is particularly likely, experts say. After all, Iran bombed US Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 and killed more than 600 US troops during the Iraq War. Taking this step may seem extreme, but “Iran could convince itself that it could do this,” Goldenberg, now at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, told me.
At that point, it’d be nearly impossible for the Trump administration not to respond in kind. The recommendations given to the president would correspond to whatever action Iran took.
If Tehran destroyed an oil tanker, killing people and causing an oil spill, the US might destroy some of Iran’s ships. If Iran took out another US military drone, the US might take out some of Iran’s air defenses. And if Iranian-backed militants killed Americans in Iraq, then US troops stationed there could retaliate, killing militia fighters and targeting their bases of operation in return. The US could even bomb certain training grounds inside Iran.
It’s at this point that both sides would need to communicate their red lines to each other and how not to cross them. The problem is there are no direct channels between the two countries and they don’t particularly trust each other. So the situation could easily spiral out of control.
Messaging “is often more important than physical action,” Jasmine El-Gamal, formerly a Middle East adviser at the Pentagon, told me. “Action without corresponding messaging, public or private, could most certainly lead to escalation because the other side is free to interpret the action as they wish.”
Which means the initial tit-for-tat would serve as the precursor to much more bloodshed.
“What are we going to be wrong about?”
You may have heard the phrase “the fog of war.” It refers to how hard it is for opposing sides to know what’s going on in the heat of battle. It’s particularly difficult when they don’t talk to one another, as is the case with the US and Iran.
Which means that the way the US and Iran interpret each other’s next moves would mainly come down to guesswork.
Eric Brewer, who spent years in the intelligence community before joining Trump’s National Security Council to work on Iran, told me that’s when the Pentagon and other parts of the government rely heavily on their best-laid plans.
The problem, he noted, is that wars rarely play out as even the smartest officials think they will. A guiding question for him, then, is “what are we going to be wrong about?”
Here’s one scenario in which the US might get something wrong — and open up the door to chaos: After America launches its first set of retaliatory strikes, Iran decides to scatter its missiles to different parts of the country.
Now the Trump administration has to figure out why Iran did that. Some people in the administration might think it’s because Tehran plans to attack US embassies, troops, or allies in the region and is moving its missiles into position to do so. Others might believe that it was merely for defensive reasons, with Iran essentially trying to protect its missile arsenal from being taken out by future US strikes.Messaging “is often more important than physical action” —Jasmine El-Gamal, former Middle East adviser at the Pentagon
Without a clear answer, which interpretation wins out comes down to which camp in the Trump administration is the most persuasive. And if the camp that believes Iran is about to launch missile strikes wins, they could convince the president to take preemptive action against Iran.
That could be a good thing if they were right; after all, they’d have made sure Iran couldn’t carry out those planned attacks. But what if they were wrong? What if the other camp guessed correctly that Iran was merely moving its missiles around because it was scared the US would strike once more? In that case, the US would have bombed Iran again, this time for essentially no reason — thus looking like the aggressor.
That could cause Iran to retaliate with a bigger attack, setting off a spiral that could end in full-scale war.
Iran could make a grave error too. Imagine Trump sends thousands of troops, say 25,000, along with advanced warplanes to the Middle East in the hope that they’ll deter Iran from escalating the conflict any further.
Tehran could just as easily read that buildup as preparation for a US invasion. If that’s the case, Iranian forces could choose to strike first in an effort to complicate the perceived incursion.
Of course, cooler heads could prevail in those moments. But experts say the political pressures on both Washington and Tehran not to be attacked first — and not to be embarrassed or look weak — might be too strong for the countries’ leaders to ignore.
“Unintended civilian casualties or other collateral damage is always possible, and it is not clear that this administration — or any administration — understands what Iran’s own red lines are,” El-Gamal, now at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, told me. “As such, the greatest risk of a full-blown war comes from one side miscalculating the other’s tolerance” for conflict.
If that proves true, and the US and Iran officially escalate their fighting to more than a few one-off attacks, it’s war.
What the US-Iran war might look like
At this point, it’s hard to be very precise about a hypothetical full-blown conflict. We know it would feature a series of moves and countermoves, we know it’d be very messy and confusing, and we know it’d be extremely deadly.
But unlike with the path to war, it’s less useful to offer a play-by-play of what could happen. So with that in mind, it’s better to look at what the US and Iranian war plans would likely be — to better understand the devastation each could exact.
How the US might try to win the war
The US strategy would almost certainly involve using overwhelming air and naval power to beat Iran into submission early on. “You don’t poke the beehive, you take the whole thing down,” Goldenberg said.
The US military would bomb Iranian ships, parked warplanes, missile sites, nuclear facilities, and training grounds, as well as launch cyberattacks on much of the country’s military infrastructure. The goal would be to degrade Iran’s conventional forces within the first few days and weeks, making it even harder for Tehran to resist American strength.
That plan definitely makes sense as an opening salvo, experts say, but it will come nowhere close to winning the war.
“It’s very unlikely that the Iranians would capitulate,” Michael Hanna, a Middle East expert at the Century Foundation in New York, told me. “It’s almost impossible to imagine that a massive air campaign will produce the desired result. It’s only going to produce escalation, not surrender.”
It won’t help that a sustained barrage of airstrikes will likely lead to hundreds of Iranians dead, among them innocent civilians. That, among other things, could galvanize Iranian society against the US and put it firmly behind the regime, even though it has in many ways treated the population horribly over decades in power.
There’s another risk: A 2002 war game showed that Iran could sink an American ship and kill US sailors, even though the US Navy is far more powerful. If the Islamic Republic’s forces succeeded in doing that, it could provide a searing image that could serve as a propaganda coup for the Iranians. Washington won’t garner the same amount of enthusiasm for destroying Iranian warships — that’s what’s supposed to happen.
Trump has already signaled he doesn’t want to send ground troops into Iran or even spend a long time fighting the country. That tracks with his own inclinations to keep the US out of foreign wars, particularly in the Middle East. But with hawkish aides at his side, like National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, there’s a chance they could convince him not to look weak and to go all-in and grasp victory.
But the options facing the president at that point will be extremely problematic, experts say.
The riskiest one — by far — would be to invade Iran. The logistics alone boggle the mind, and any attempt to try it would be seen from miles away. “There’s no surprise invasion of Iran,” Brewer, who is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, told me.
Iran has nearly three times the amount of people Iraq did in 2003, when the war began, and is about three and a half times as big. In fact, it’s the world’s 17th-largest country, with territory greater than France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal combined.
The geography is also treacherous. It has small mountain ranges along some of its borders. Entering from the Afghanistan side in the east would mean traversing two deserts. Trying to get in from the west could also prove difficult even with Turkey — a NATO ally — as a bordering nation. After all, Ankara wouldn’t let the US use Turkey to invade Iraq, and its relations with Washington have only soured since.“It’s almost impossible to imagine that a massive air campaign will produce the desired result. It’s only going to produce escalation, not surrender.” —Michael Hanna, a Middle East expert at the Century Foundation
The US could try to enter Iran the way Saddam Hussein did during the Iran-Iraq war, near a water pass bordering Iran’s southwest. But it’s swampy — the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet there — and relatively easy to protect. Plus, an invading force would run up against the Zagros Mountains after passing through, just like Saddam’s forces did.
It’s for these reasons that the private intelligence firm Stratfor called Iran a “fortress” back in 2011. If Trump chose to launch an incursion, he’d likely need around 1.6 million troops to take control of the capital and country, a force so big it would overwhelm America’s ability to host them in regional bases. By contrast, America never had more than 180,000 service members in Iraq.
And there’s the human cost. A US-Iran war would likely lead to thousands or hundreds of thousands of dead. Trying to forcibly remove the country’s leadership, experts say, might drive that total into the millions.
That helps explain why nations in the region hope they won’t see a fight. Goldenberg, who traveled last month to meet with officials in the Gulf, said that none of them wanted a US-Iran war. European nations will also worry greatly about millions of refugees streaming into the continent, which would put immense pressure on governments already dealing with the fallout of the Syrian refugee crisis. Israel also would worry about Iranian proxies targeting it (more on that below).
Meanwhile, countries like Russia and China — both friendly to Iran — would try to curtail the fighting and exploit it at the same time, the Century Foundation’s Hanna told me. China depends heavily on its goods traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, so it would probably call for calm and for Tehran not to close down the waterway. Russia would likely demand restraint as well, but use the opportunity to solidify its ties with the Islamic Republic.
And since both countries have veto power on the UN Security Council, they could ruin any political legitimacy for the war that the US may aim to gain through that body.
The hope for the Trump administration would therefore be that the conflict ends soon after the opening salvos begin. If it doesn’t, and Iran resists, all that’d really be left are a slew of bad options to make a horrid situation much, much worse.
How Iran might try to win the war
Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart left his post as the No. 2 at US Cyber Command earlier this year, ending a decorated four-decade career. Toward the end of it, he spent his time at the forefront of the military intelligence and cybersecurity communities.
If anyone has the most up-to-date information on how Iran may fight the US, then, it’s Stewart.
“The Iranian strategy would be to avoid, where possible, direct conventional force-on-force operations,” he wrote for the Cipher Brief on July 2. “They would attempt to impose cost on a global scale, striking at US interests through cyber operations and targeted terrorism with the intent of expanding the conflict, while encouraging the international community to restrain America’s actions.”
In other words, Tehran can’t match Washington’s firepower. But it can spread chaos in the Middle East and around the world, hoping that a war-weary US public, an intervention-skeptical president, and an angered international community cause America to stand down.
That may seem like a huge task — and it is — but experts believe the Islamic Republic has the capability, knowhow, and will to pull off such an ambitious campaign. “The Iranians can escalate the situation in a lot of different ways and in a lot of different places,” Hanna told me. “They have the capacity to do a lot of damage.”
Take what it could do in the Middle East. Iran’s vast network of proxies and elite units — like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — could be activated to kill American troops, diplomats, and citizens throughout the region. US troops in Syria are poorly defended and have little support, making them easy targets, experts say. America also has thousands of civilians, troops, and contractors in Iraq, many of whom work in areas near where Iranian militias operate within the country.
US allies would also be prime targets. Hezbollah, an Iran-backed terrorist group in Lebanon, might attack Israel with rockets and start its own brutal fight. We’ve heard this story before: In 2006, they battled in a month-long war where the militant group fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, and Israeli forces fired around 7,000 bombs and missiles into Lebanon.
About 160 Israelis troops and civilians died, according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and about 1,100 Lebanese — most of them civilians — perished, per Human Rights Watch, a US-headquartered advocacy organization. It also reports about 4,400 Lebanese were injured, and around 1 million people were displaced.
But that’s not all. Iran could encourage terrorist organizations or other proxies to strike inside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf nations. Its support for Houthis rebels in Yemen would mostly certainly increase, offering them more weapons and funds to attack Saudi Arabia’s airports, military bases, and energy plants.
Experts note that the Islamic Republic surely has sleeper cells in Europe and Latin America, and they could resurface in dramatic and violent ways. In 1994, for example, Iranian-linked terrorists bombed the hub of the Jewish community in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring roughly 300 more.
That remains the largest terrorist attack in Latin America’s history, and the possibility for an even bigger one exists. Last year, Argentina arrested two men suspected of having ties with Hezbollah.
But Chris Musselman, formerly the National Security Council’s counterterrorism director under Trump, told me the US and its allies may have the most trouble containing the proxy swarm in Western Africa.
“We could see a conflict that spread quickly to places the US may not be able to protect people, and it’s a fight that we are grossly unprepared for,” he told me, adding that there’s a strong Hezbollah presence in the region and American embassy security there isn’t great. Making matters worse, he continued, the US isn’t particularly good at collecting intelligence there, meaning some militants could operate relatively under the radar.
“This isn’t really a law enforcement function that US can take on a global scale,” he said. It would require that countries unwittingly hosting proxies to lead on defeating the Iranian-linked fighters, with US support when needed.
The chaos would also extend into the cyber realm. Iran is a major threat to the US in cyberspace. Starting in 2011, Iran attacked more than 40 American banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. The attack made it so the banks had trouble serving its customers and customers had trouble using the bank’s services.
In 2012, Iran released malware into the networks of Saudi Aramco, a major oil company, which erased documents, emails, and other files on around 75 percent of the company’s computers — replacing them with an image of a burning American flag.
In the middle of a war, one could imagine Tehran’s hackers wreaking even more havoc.
“I would expect them to have begun selected targeting through socially-engineered phishing activities focused on the oil and gas sector, the financial sector and the electric power grid in that order,” Stewart wrote. “There may be instances now where they already have some persistent access. If they do, I expect they would use it, or risk losing the access and employ that capability early in the escalation of the crisis.”“We could see a conflict that spread quickly to places the US may not be able to protect people, and it’s a fight that we are grossly unprepared for” —Chris Musselman, formerly the National Security Council’s counterterrorism director under Trump
Recent reports indicate that Iranian cyberwarriors have stepped up their online operations, with a particular emphasis on preparing to attack US firms. Among other moves, they’re aiming to trick employees at major businesses to hand over passwords and other vital information, giving them greater access to a firm’s networks.
“When you combine this increase with past destructive attacks launched by Iranian-linked actors, we’re concerned enough about the potential for new destructive attacks to continue sounding the alarm,” Christopher Krebs, a top cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security, told Foreign Policy on July 1.
All of this — proxies striking around the world, cyberattacks on enterprise — would happen while Iran continued to resist conventional American forces.
In the Strait of Hormuz, for instance, Iranian sailors could use speedboats to place bombs on oil tankers or place mines in the water to destroy US warships. The Islamic Republic’s submarines would also play a huge part in trying to sink an American vessel. And the nation’s anti-ship missiles and drones could prove constant and deadly nuisances.
Should US troops try to enter Iranian territory on land, Iranian ground forces would also push back on them fiercely using insurgent-like tactics while the US painfully marches toward Tehran.
Put together, Brewer notes succinctly, a US-Iran war would be “a nasty, brutal fight.”
Aftermath: “The worst-case scenarios here are quite serious”
Imagine, as we already have, that the earlier stages of strife escalate to a major war. That’s already bad enough. But assume for a moment not only that the fighting takes place, but that the US does the unlikely and near impossible: It invades and overthrows the Iranian regime (which National Security Adviser Bolton, at least, has openly called for in the past).
If that happens, it’s worth keeping two things in mind.
First, experts say upward of a million people — troops from both sides as well as Iranian men, women, and children, and American diplomats and contractors — likely will have died by that point. Cities will burn and smolder. Those who survived the conflict will mainly live in a state of economic devastation for years and some, perhaps, will pick up arms and form insurgent groups to fight the invading US force.
Second, power abhors a vacuum. With no entrenched regime in place, multiple authority figures from Iran’s clerical and military circles, among others, will jockey for control. Those sides could split into violent factions, initiating a civil war that would bring more carnage to the country. Millions more refugees might flock out of the country, overwhelming already taxed nations nearby, and ungoverned pockets will give terrorist groups new safe havens from which to operate.
Iran would be on the verge of being a failed state, if it wasn’t already by that point, and the US would be the main reason why. To turn the tide, America may feel compelled to help rebuild the country at the cost of billions of dollars, years of effort, and likely more dead. It could also choose to withdraw, leaving behind a gaping wound in the center of the Middle East.
In some ways, then, what comes after the war could be worse than the war itself. It should therefore not be lost on anyone: A US-Iran war would be a bloody hell during and after the fighting. It’s a good thing neither Trump nor Iran’s leadership currently wants a conflict. But if they change their minds, only carnage follows.
“The worst-case scenarios here are quite serious,” Hanna told me.
Why a War Against Iran Will be the “Nail in a Coffin” for U.S. Hegemony in the Middle East
President Donald Trump was recently interviewed on Fox Business and was asked about Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani’s statement calling the White House “Mentally Retarded” and if the U.S. was going to have a war against Iran and he said “Well, I hope we don’t, but we’re in a very strong position if something should happen. We’re in a very strong position. It wouldn’t last very long, I can tell you that.”
Well Trump is obviously in fantasy land or he is just incredibly ignorant of America’s recent history of losing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S. troops have occupied Afghanistan since October 7, 2001 and Iraq since March 20, 2003. The Trump regime has no current plans of completely withdrawing U.S. troops from both countries especially those stationed in Iraq which is in close proximity to Iran. But Trump says a war against Iran won’t last long. Well, let’s look at some of the facts in regards to what the U.S. military and its allies in the region would be facing if they pressed ahead with a military invasion. For starters, Iran’s military personal is estimated to be close to a million active service members and reservists. If attacked, rest assured there would be close to an additional 40 million eligible men and women who would gladly pick up a rifle and every other weapon that is available and fight the U.S. military to the end no matter what their political beliefs are. Iran has 82 million people and a land mass that is at least four times larger than Iraq. When it comes to military hardware, Iran has more than 1,634 combat tanks, more than 500 aircraft, 2,345 armored fighting vehicles, 34 submarines and 88 vessels. Iran has many capabilities including its most recent development of the Khordad 15 which is an air defense system that is “capable of tracking and shooting down six targets at the same time. The weapon was rolled out amid growing tensions around the Persian Gulf” according to RT.com. Washington will find out quickly that Iran is not Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya because once U.S. troops land on Iranian territory, body bags will begin to pile up rapidly.
An Attack on Iran will lead to a Worldwide Catastrophe
One Israeli statesman, diplomat and former head of the Nativ Service who specialized in the export of Jews to Israel through special operations by the name of Yakov Kedmi had some interesting perspectives on Vesti News, a Russian news program. Kedmi discussed what the U.S. and its allies in the region would be facing if a war with Iran were to take place:
“There are a few aspects, in purely military terms, it’s impossible to defeat Iran. It has a huge amount of territory. The Americans won’t have enough forces to deploy there. The logistics are crazy, it’s impossible for the Americans. So, there’s no opportunity to conduct a war against Iran and win it. And the pentagon knows that better than anyone. And they warned and said it”
Kedmi explains the stupidity of Washington’s overthrow scheme of Saddam Hussien and how much support Iran has when it comes to the Shia population in the Middle East:
“American’s don’t even understand what a stupid thing they did when they overthrew Saddam Hussein. Iraq is 60% Shia. You talked about Arabs in Iraq-the Shia, they’re Shia. In the South of Iran, there are Arabs who are Shia. And there are Arabs who are Shia and live in Iraq. And in Saudi Arabia, the area where the oil is developed is controlled by the Shia. And the majority of Kuwait’s population is Shia. 80 percent of Bahrain’s population is Shia. Then, such a big fire will start in the Middle East”
Washington’s close ally, Saudi Arabia will join the U.S. and Israel if a war against Iran is declared, but according to Kedmi, there is one small problem that Saudi Arabia can’t seem to handle, and that is Yemen:
“Saudi Arabia has a huge military budget. Its hands are tied. So it can’t do anything to tiny Yemen. They can’t do anything to the Houthi. Therefore, in this war of Persians against Arabs, the Persians will win. And this is another problem. It means a stronger Turkey. The Americans won’t remain whole after that war. The Middle East won’t remain whole. If anyone wins, it’ll be Russia”
Kedmi said that the U.S. military generals know that a war with Iran is unwinnable “They very well know that it’s impossible to do anything to Iran. They’ve warned about it repeatedly.” He continued “this tale about 120,000 isn’t a tale. The American Servicemen, just counted that in order to maintain the U.S. presence, 120,000 servicemen are required. These aren’t operational plans. When they ask the military what it’s necessary for that, they say that they need 120,000 servicemen in order to stay in the Middle East. They need one million servicemen to go to Iran. They don’t have them.”
What is interesting is what Kedmi said about the level of ignorance among the American government when it comes to Iran and the Middle East in general:
“This is a possibility that Iran could get nuclear weapons. We aren’t interested in anything else at all. Anything else means nothing. If we take a closer look, the United States’ goal in Iran is regime change in Iran, this is the main reason. Trump came to the conclusion that it’s almost impossible to conduct regime change in Iran. Why almost? It’s because American specialists, who think like Americans and have no idea what the Middle East is, think that the economic environment in Iran will lead to the collapse of that regime. They don’t understand what they’re talking about. The current government in Iran is stable. And nobody and nothing threats it. If Iranians will have half as much food, the government will stay. This is Iran. It isn’t Spain. That’s why everyone who thinks like Americans or Europeans, that if somebody doesn’t have enough of anything, the government will change. They treat Hamas and Iran like this. They don’t understand what they’re talking about”
At this point in time, Trump has only one option according to Kedmi and that is ” to conduct negotiations.” He continued ” and all of those shouts, that hysteria, are meant to make Iranians take part in negotiations. But he wants to do it and save face, so he wants them to ask for it.”
But the main point Kedmi wanted to drive home is the fact that Iran would develop a nuclear bomb within six months if the U.S. would launch an attack:
”And here’s my last point. The Americans don’t care about Iran’s nuclear weapons at all. Who has a problem with it except for us? Saudi Arabia? They don’t care. Americans would say that they’ll protect them like they protect Europe. Nobody cares about Iran’s nuclear weapons. Turkey does because it wants to make it. Saudi Arabia does but America isn’t interested. It’s an excuse for the Americans to put pressure on Iran and conduct regime change there. Speaking of the beginning of hostilities with Iran, it won’t be a short-term war. The Americans have never started a war when the pentagon didn’t want it. The military wanted a war in Vietnam. The military wanted a war in Iraq. When the military says don’t, no American politician would start a war. But the beginning of a long war against Iran will lead to Iran having nuclear weapons in six months”
Gil Barndollar, the director of Middle East Studies at the Center for the National Interest, and a former officer in the U.S. Marine Corps who served as an infantry division in both Afghanistan and in the Persian Gulf was interviewed by a the liberal website, Thinkprogress.org and was asked what it would take to defeat Iran. The article “Here is what war with Iran would look like: President Trump said war will mean the “official end of Iran.” But what would that take?’ by D. Parvaz where Barndollar had said “that even if the United States were to assume “completely permissive conditions” from Iran (no missiles, chemical, or biological attacks, etc.), it would still take “months to mobilize and stage forces” for such an operation.”
Barndollar said that a war of that magnitude would require a draft which would be unsettling for parents in the U.S. who have sons and daughters between the ages of 18 to 24 years old. Chicken hawks who avoided the draft during the Vietnam war like John Bolton who conveniently said “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy… I considered the war in Vietnam already lost” and the U.S. president himself who had 5 deferments (four for educational purposes and one for bone spurs in his heel) that allowed him to avoid the draft, have no problem sending troops into an already lost battle:
“The entire active duty U.S. Army and Marine Corps today totals a bit over 600,000 troops. That is not enough men to invade Iran. Even if you mobilized the entire National Guard and Reserves, you would not feel comfortable invading Iran with a force that size,” he said, adding that it’s hard to speculate about casualties and costs. What would be needed for sure, though, is a draft”
Barndollar said that Iran “is bordered by mountains on three sides and the sea on a fourth.” Barndollar also said that the 5,000 U.S. troops who are currently stationed in Iraq will not conduct an attack against Iran because Baghdad “has made its position on this clear: It won’t be used as turf for a proxy war with Iran.”
A World War II style amphibious landing “would be even more fraught with risk” Barndollar said “The Navy would be hard-pressed to muster enough amphibious assault ships to get even one Marine Expeditionary Brigade to the fight [with] only about 15,000 troops” meaning that “merchant marine ships would have to bring in the bulk of the force, something for which they are not prepared.” Let’s not forget that attempting to conduct an amphibious landing with U.S. naval forces on Iranian shores will face limpet mines, submarines, attack boats and its large arsenal of missiles which would be considered a suicide mission.
The Price of Oil and the World Economy
The price of oil is another factor Washington and its allies would have to consider. According to oilprice.com ‘War With Iran Could Send Oil To $250′ by Vincent Lauerman claims that in the midst of war with Iran, the price of oil will be go to $250 dollars per barrel:
“In six short weeks there is tremendous damage to oil facilities on both sides, given their proximity to the Persian Gulf region, and to major cities as well. Iran, with its fleet of fast patrol craft and arsenal of short-range rockets, is able to briefly close the Strait of Hormuz, disrupting the flow of about 18 million b/d to the world market, almost a fifth of global supply.
Brent spikes over US$250 per barrel, before falling back to around US$150 with the International Energy Agency (IEA) coordinating an emergency release of oil stocks from strategic reserves of its member countries and China releasing significant volumes from its now substantial strategic reserve as well”
A new war in the Middle East would lead to a rapid increase in oil prices that would have an impact on the US dollar and the world economy. The U.S. population would soon realize that the idea of going to war against Iran is not just another bad idea, this time it’s a really bad idea. In Vietnam, the U.S. lost more than 58,000 military personnel with more than 150,000 wounded and don’t forget those who suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)which numbers are in the hundreds of thousands with some veterans still suffering today. U.S. casualties would be far greater this time around. Would there be a draft? I don’t think so because the American public won’t stand for it since their children will be called upon to fight in another endless war, so any possibility of war would be dead on arrival if the draft were to be reinstated.
The Military-Industrial Complex doesn’t have enough troops to declare war on Iran. Israel will have its own hands full with Hezbollah and the Lebanese government to its northern borders if a war on Iran were to take place. Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians continue in the West Bank and Gaza, so Israel has its plate full. US military bases that surround Iran would be targeted by Iranian forces. Saudi Arabia’s oil fields and military forces would also be attacked as well. Then there is the Russia/China alliance that would back Iran once the war has begun. Questions remain; will it turn into a nuclear war? or would the U.S. military do an about-face and go back home once they realize that they are in a losing situation that they cannot win or control? One thing is certain, U.S. hegemony in the Middle East would be over once an attack on Iran where to take place, and that would be a good thing that will come out of this catastrophe.
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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Silent Crow News.
A Major Conventional War Against Iran Is an Impossibility. Crisis within the US Command Structure
In this article, we examine America’s war strategies, including its ability to launch an all out theater war against the Islamic Republic on Iran.
A follow-up article will focus on the History of US War Plans against Iran as well as the complexities underlying the Structure of Military Alliances.
Under present conditions, an Iraq style all out Blitzkrieg involving the simultaneous deployment of ground, air and naval forces is an impossibility.
For several reasons. US hegemony in the Middle East has been weakened largely as a result of the evolving structure of military alliances.
The US does not have the ability to carry out such a project.
There are two main factors which determine America’s military agenda in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
1. Iran’s Military
There is the issue of Iran’s military capabilities (ground forces, navy, air force, missile defense), namely its ability to effectively resist and respond to an all out conventional war involving the deployment of US and Allied forces. Within the realm of conventional warfare, Iran has sizeable military capabilities. Iran is to acquire Russia’s S400 state of the art air defense system.
Iran is ranked as “a major military power” in the Middle East, with an estimated 534,000 active personnel in the army, navy, air force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It has advanced ballistic missile capabilities as well as a national defense industry. In the case of a US air attack, Iran would target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf.
2. Evolving Structure of Military Alliances
The second consideration has to do with the evolving structure of military alliances (2003-2019) which is largely to the detriment of the United States.
Several of America’s staunchest allies are sleeping with the enemy.
Countries which have borders with Iran including Turkey and Pakistan have military cooperation agreements with Iran. While this in itself excludes the possibility of a ground war, it also affects the planning of US and allied naval and air operations.
Until recently both Turkey (NATO heavyweight) and Pakistan were among America’s faithful allies, hosting US military bases.
From a broader military standpoint, Turkey is actively cooperating with both Iran and Russia. Moreover, Ankara will be acquiring in 2020 Russia’s state of the art S-400 air defense systemwhile de facto opting out from the integrated US-NATO-Israel air defense system.
Needless to say the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is in crisis. Turkey’s exit from NATO is almost de facto. America can no longer rely on its staunchest allies. Moreover, US and Turkish supported militia are fighting one another in Syria.
Iraq has also indicated that it will not cooperate with the US in the case of a ground war against Iran.
Under present conditions, none of Iran’s neigbouring states including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia would allow US-Allied ground forces to transit through their territory.
In recent developments, Azerbaijan which in the wake of the Cold War became a US ally as well as a member of NATO’s partnership for peace has changed sides. The earlier US-Azeri military cooperation agreements are virtually defunct including the post-Soviet GUAM military alliance (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova).
Bilateral military and intelligence agreements between Iran and Azerbaijan were signed in December 2018. In turn, Iran collaborates extensively with Turkmenistan. With regard to Afghanistan, the internal situation with the Taliban controlling a large part of Afghan territory, would not favor a large scale deployment of US and allied ground forces on the Iran-Afghan border.
Visibly, the policy of strategic encirclement against Iran formulated in the wake of the Iraq war (2003) is no longer functional. Iran has friendly relations with neighbouring countries, which previously were within the US sphere of influence.
Under these conditions, a major conventional theater war by the US involving the deployment of ground forces would be suicide.
This does not mean, however, that war will not take place. In some regards, with the advances in military technologies, an Iraq-style war is obsolete.
We are nonetheless at a dangerous crossroads. Other diabolical forms of military intervention directed against Iran are currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon. These include:
- various forms of “limited warfare”, ie. targeted missile attacks,
- US and Allied support of terrorist paramilitary groups
- so-called “bloody nose operations” (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons),
- acts of political destabilization and color revolutions
- false flag attacks and military threats,
- sabotage, confiscation of financial assets, extensive economic sanctions,
- electromagnetic and climatic warfare, environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)
- chemical and biological warfare.
US Central Command Forward Headquarters Located in Enemy Territory
Another consideration has to do with the crisis within the US Command structure.
USCENTCOM is the theater-level Combatant Command for all operations in the broader Middle East region extending from Afghanistan to North Africa. It is the most important Combat Command of the Unified Command structure. It has led and coordinated several major Middle East war theaters including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003). It is also involved in Syria.
In the case of a war with Iran, operations in the Middle East would be coordinated by US Central Command with headquarters in Tampa, Florida in permanent liaison with its forward command headquarters in Qatar.
In late June 2019, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone President Trump “called off the swiftly planned military strikes on Iran” while intimating in his tweet that “any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.”
US Central Command (CENTCOM), confirmed the deployment of the US Air Force F-22 stealth fighters to the al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, intended to “defend American forces and interests” in the region against Iran. (See Michael Welch, Persian Peril, Global Research, June 30, 2019). Sounds scary?
“The base is technically Qatari property playing host to the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command.” With 11,000 US military personnel, it is described as “one of the U.S. military’s most enduring and most strategically positioned operations on the planet” (Washington Times). Al-Udeid also hosts the US Air Force’s 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, considered to be “America’s most vital overseas air command”.
What both the media and military analysts fail to acknowledge is that US CENTCOM’s forward Middle East headquarters at the al-Udeid military base close to Doha de facto “lies in enemy territory”
Since the May 2017 split of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Qatar has become a staunch ally of both Iran and Turkey (which is also an ally of Iran). While they have no “official” military cooperation agreement with Iran, they share in joint ownership with Iran the largest Worldwide maritime gas fields.
The split of the GCC has led to a shift in military alliances: In May 2017 Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar’s only land border. In turn Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE have blocked air transportation as well as commercial maritime shipments to Doha.
What is unfolding since May 2017 is a shift in Qatar’s trade routes with the establishment of bilateral agreements with Iran, Turkey as well as Pakistan. In this regard, Russia, Iran, and Qatar provide over half of the world’s known gas reserves.
The Al-Udeid base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar. Turkey is no longer an ally of the US. Their proxy forces in Syria are fighting US supported militia.
Turkey is now aligned with Russia and Iran. Ankara has now confirmed that it will be acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system which requires military cooperation with Moscow.
Qatar is swarming with Iranian businessmen, security personnel and experts in the oil and gas industry (with possible links to Iran intelligence?), not to mention the presence of Russian and Chinese personnel.
Question. How on earth can you launch a war on Iran from the territory of a close ally of Iran?
From a strategic point of view it does not make sense. And this is but the tip of the iceberg.
Notwithstanding the rhetoric underlying the official US-Qatar military relationship, The Atlantic Council, a think tank with close ties to both the Pentagon and NATO, confirms that Qatar is now a firm ally of both Iran and Turkey:
Put simply, for Qatar to maintain its independence, Doha will have essentially no choice but to maintain its strong partnership with Turkey, which has been an important ally from the perspective of military support and food security, as well as Iran. The odds are good that Iranian-Qatari ties will continue to strengthen even if Tehran and Doha agree to disagree on certain issues … On June 15 , President Hassan Rouhani emphasized that improving relations with Qatar is a high priority for Iranian policymakers. … Rouhani told the Qatari emir that “stability and security of regional countries are intertwined” and Qatar’s head of state, in turn, stressed that Doha seeks a stronger partnership with the Islamic Republic. (Atlantic Council, June 2019, emphasis added)
What this latest statement by the Atlantic Council suggests is while Qatar hosts USCENTCOM’s forward headquarters, Iran and Qatar are (unofficially) collaborating in the area of “security” (i e. intelligence and military cooperation).
Sloppy military planning, sloppy US foreign policy? sloppy intelligence?
Trump’s statement confirms that they are planning to launch the war against Iran from their forward US Centcom headquarters at the Al Udeid military base, located in enemy territory. Is it rhetoric or sheer stupidity?
The Split of the GCC
The split of the GCC has resulted in the creation of a so-called Iran-Turkey-Qatar axis which has contributed to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East. While Turkey has entered into a military cooperation with Russia, Pakistan is allied with China. And Pakistan has become a major partner of Qatar.
Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map above). Moreover, since the GCC split-up Kuwait is no longer aligned Saudi Arabia. It nonetheless maintains a close relationship with Washington. Kuwait hosts seven active US military facilities, the most important of which is Camp Doha.
Needless to say, the May 2017 split of the GCC has undermined Trump’s resolve to create an “Arab NATO” (overseen by Saudi Arabia) directed against Iran. This project is virtually defunct, following Egypt’s withdrawal in April 2019.
The Gulf of Oman
With the 2017 split up of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman appears to be aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf are potentially in jeopardy.
The Fifth Fleet is under the command of US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). (NAVCENT’s area of responsibility consists of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea).
With the split up of the GCC, Oman is now firmly aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf would potentially be in jeopardy.
The strait of Hormuz which constitutes the entry point to the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman is controlled by Iran and the Sultanate of Oman. The width of the strait at one point is of the order of 39km. All major vessels must transit through Iran and/or Oman territorial waters, under so-called customary transit passage provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
More generally, the structure of alliances is in jeopardy. The US cannot reasonably wage a full-fledged conventional theatre war on Iran without the support of its longstanding allies which are now “sleeping with the enemy”.
Trump’s Fractured “Arab NATO”. History of the Split up of the GCC.
Amidst the collapse of America’s sphere of influence in the Middle East, Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) consisted at the outset of his presidency in an improvised attempt to rebuild the structure of military alliances. What the Trump administration had in mind was the formation of a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), or “Arab NATO”. This US-sponsored blueprint was slated to include Egypt and Jordan together with the six member states of the GCC.
The draft of the MESA Alliance had been prepared in Washington prior to Trump’s historic May 2017 visit to Saudi Arabia, meeting up with King Salman, leaders of the GCC as well as “more than 50 high-ranking officials from the Arab and Islamic worlds in an unprecedented US-Islamic summit.”
The Riyadh Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the summit on May 21, 2017, announced the intention to establish MESA in Riyadh.” (Arab News, February 19, 2019). The stated mandate of the “Arab NATO” was to “to combat Iranian hegemony” in the Middle East.
Two days later on May 23, 2017 following this historic meeting, Saudi Arabia ordered the blockade of Qatar, called for an embargo and suspension of diplomatic relations with Doha, on the grounds that The Emir of Qatar was allegedly collaborating with Tehran.
What was the hidden agenda? No doubt it had already been decided upon in Riyadh on April 21 with the tacit approval of US officials.
The plan was to exclude Qatar from the proposed MESA Alliance and the GCC, while maintaining the GCC intact.
What happened was that the Saudi embargo imposed on Qatar (with the unofficial approval of Washington) was conducive to the fracture of the GCC with Oman and Kuwait siding with Qatar. In other words, the GCC was split down the middle. Saudi Arabia was weakened and the “Arab NATO” blueprint was defunct from the very outset.
May 21, 2017: US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh
May 23, 2017: The blockade and embargo of Qatar
June 5, 2019: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt sever diplomatic relations, cut off land, air and sea transportation with Qatar accusing it of supporting Iran.
Flash forward to mid-April 2019: Trump is back in Riyadh: This time the Saudi Monarchy was entrusted by Washington to formally launching the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) (first formulated in 2017) despite the fact that three of the invited GCC member states, namely Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are committed to the normalization of relations with Iran. In turn, the Egyptian government of President Sisi decided to boycott the Riyadh summit and withdraw from the “Arab NATO” proposal. Cairo also clarified its position vis a vis Iran. Egypt firmly objected to Trump’s plan because it “would increase tensions with Iran”.
Trump’s objective was to create an “Arab Block”. What he got in return was a truncated MESA “Arab Block” made up of a fractured GCC with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Jordan, without Egypt. Kuwait and Oman officially took a neutral stance, whereas Qatar sided with the enemy, thereby further jeopardizing America’s sphere of influence in the Persian Gulf.
An utter geopolitical failure. What kind of alliance is that.
And US Central Command’s Forward headquarters is still located in Qatar despite the fact that two years earlier on May 23, 2017, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was accused of collaborating with Iran.
It is unclear who gave the order to impose the embargo on Qatar. Saudi Arabia would not have taken that decision without consulting Washington. Visibly, Washington’s intent was to create an Arab NATO Alliance (An Arab Block) directed against Iran to do the dirty work for us.
Trump and the Emir of Qatar, UN General Assembly, October 2017, White House photo
The rest is history, the Pentagon decided to maintain US Central Command’s forward headquarters in Qatar, which happens to be Iran’s closest ally and partner.
A foreign policy blunder? Establishing your “official” headquarters in enemy territory, while “unofficially” redeploying part of the war planes, military personnel and command functions to other locations (e.g. in Saudi Arabia).
No press reports, no questions in the US Congress. Nobody seemed to have noticed that Trump’s war on Iran, if it were to be carried out, would be conducted from the territory of Iran’s closest ally.
Part II of this essay focuses on the history and contradictions of US war preparations directed against Iran starting in 1995 as well as the evolution of military alliances.