Sunday, May 9, 2010

Attack on Iran

April 29, 2010
Attack on Iran
By Saeed Qureshi
I would venture a bet that American attack on Iran is entirely improbable. The United States would not take this extremely risky undertaking, fraught with horrendous ramifications. The cardinal question is what for? Is it to keep her Middle East ally in good humor or to teach Iran a dire lesson for not winding up her nuclear program?
Israel destroyed Iraq nuclear reactor at Osirak way back in 1981 by massive air strikes. Later Israel did the same thing by razing a budding Syrian nuclear project in late 2007. There was no retaliation from these two Arab countries. Ever since Ahmadinejad has been the president of Iran, there are unremitting rumor mongering that, a la Iraq and Syria, Israel would launch punitive air attack on Iran to destroy her nuclear sites. But somehow, thus far, it has desisted from this stipulated insane adventure.
Now if America wants to embark upon this highly perilous path, in tandem or on behalf of Israel then it should ponder a thousand times before it leaps into that mindless assault or in plain words an audacious aggression against a sovereign country. While doing so United States must be supported and blessed both by Israel and Arab nations hostile to Iran. But it is not difficult to deduce that such a moronic and totally un- called use of power will have a disastrous spillover and lengthening shadows on the region because of the simple fact that the horrifying ramifications of such a massive air strike cannot remain strictly confined to the geographical boundaries of Iran.
It should also be kept in mind that Iran is not another Iraq that was under the impulsive throbbing of a dictator who neither had his roots in the people nor did he enjoy any mentionable trust or goodwill among his Arab counterparts. Saddam had isolated Iraq by his expansionist designs as borne out by his invasion of Iraq and a decade long war with Iran.
Iran, on the contrary, doesn’t suffer from such setbacks or blemishes. Iran is both ideologically and politically a united country. It’s a vast geographical contiguity. It’s rich by virtue of having large reserves of oil and gas. It has overcome its economic disabilities in three decades of clerical leadership firmly holding the reins of the country. It is a democracy although not in the stricter sense of American or Westminster formats of democracies. It holds elections and the elections by and large are fair and free, within the ideological framework provided by the constitution and religion.
United States has not been categorical in outright condemning Iran and closing the options and venue for interaction and dialogue. At present when U.S. is faced with a colossal economic crunch, it would be an utterly absurd and an extremely costly affair for her to repeat the same blunder that it committed by invading Iraq. Iraq’s invasion cost America a heavy toll of precious lives of soldiers, the infamy and economic bludgeoning of nearly 2 to 3 trillion dollars.
If Obama administration’s plank and philosophy is to repair America’s image as an aggressor country by overarching to the hostile nations with peaceful mindset and mitigating the conflicts with the Muslim world, such an attack would rob the incumbent American administration of its stated good will that it has earned in the meantime.
The global economy would tailspin and dash to the ground because it would not be a brief attack that would end once the job of destroying nuclear installations is accomplished. Even if the nuclear reactors or sites are destroyed, the Iranian nation would still survive and fight back as the Afghanis or Iraqis have been doing. But there is a difference between the anti American insurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq and the one that would sprout out of Iran. Iran has a proper strong standing army and it has stockpiles of convential weapons. And above all it has a nation that has an indomitable will to fight because it is the only country that proclaims Shia faith and therefore it would assume a religious war: a war that would neither be contained nor finished by declaring, “The mission accomplished”.
It can be surmised that once Iran comes under attacks and suffers losses, it would be free to launch counter attacks against Israel which is not far away and for Iran to overrun it would not be a tall order. As we know about a million Iranians perished in their war with Iraq. They would die in millions more but would strike back with full force and fury. That situation might push the region and the world into the lap of a third world war: a conflagration that might terminate on the extinction of the human race. Would such a dreadful outcome suite any civilized country, not to speak of the United States.
If the fundamental objective of such a mission impossible would be to debilitate Iran’s nuclear capabilities then the same yardstick should also be applied to North Korea which daringly and openly decries America and defiantly admits possessing nuclear arsenal, no matter how few these might be in number or smaller in size or made of primitive technology. Still you can name these as dirty bombs. Why do Israel and America not think of taking a similar military offensive against the North Korea if the purpose is to clear the planet of nuclear weapons feared to be possessed by so called rogue states? If a dormant and diplomatic policy is applicable to North Korea why not to Iran?
I cannot give much weight and credence to the deliberations of April 14 Senate Armed Services Committee’s hearing on Iran. According to press reports, In that committee the chairman, Carl Levin, pressed Michele Flournoy, the Pentagon’s under secretary for policy, , to “assure him that the military option remains, on the table”. Even Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen who earlier warned of the grave consequences of launching an aerial attack on Iran as the CNN recently reported, later supported such an action and told “the military to update contingency plans for such an attack.”
In the wake of these rumours, it has been reported that such deadly airstrike would be launched from Diego Garcia the base for U, S. B-2 stealth bombers. So the inferences being drawn are that it would not be Israel but America that would be in a “far stronger position to cripple Iran’s nuclear program” (New York Times).
But in all probability, America would not opt for opening another war front when already it is bogged down in two other fruitless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The doubts are being expressed that in retaliation, while Iran would choke the strait of Harmus hampering the global trade, it would also move ahead to provide stinger missiles to Taliban to intensify their insurgency against the NATO forces in Afghanistan. So this is not going to be a one sided show of annihilating Iran and paralyzing its nuclear capability.
As Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in his two reports published last year and this year concedes, “we may not have good enough intelligence to know where still-hidden facilities may lie”, implying that it could prove to be a counterproductive venture. It could as well plunge the Middle East into another inferno of bloody and internecine conflict. The fears are also rife that in that if faced with a “do or die” situation, Iran might shower Israel with ballistic missiles inflicting irreparable damage to her infrastructure and economy and exposing it to the rocket attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas.
Finally such a conflict might escalate into a third war theater when the humanity would be exposed to the spin chilling risk of being annihilated. Would that dreadful scenario that looks like a fantasy at present, justify such a dare devil use of blatant force. There is no gainsaying that the best and the saner option is to utilize the diplomatic and peaceful channels to find a way out of this imbroglio. There is a strong possibility that Iran would be ready to positively respond to such meaningful dialogue and diplomacy.

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