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Friday, 9 July 2010

The impending Persio-American War

In hindsight, we note that one of the immediate causes of America being drawn into World War Two was a decision by Dean Acheson to cut off Japan's supply of oil to feed its war machine. This followed unilateral moves by President Roosevelt and the US Congress first to place a steel embargo on Japan, effectively shutting down their war production, and finally to freeze all Japanese assets. These harsh measures backed the Japanese government into a corner they thought they could get out of only by attacking the nation that had put them in it: The United States. The rest is history.

Events of the last week have effectively backed the government of Iran into a nearly identical corner. Again acting unilaterally, President Obama and the US Congress have clamped down on Iranian banks and airlines, severely reducing their ability to do business outside the country. Already, gasoline usage even within Iran is being cut to cope with the new reality.

Like the one 70 years ago, this is a no-win situation. Japan had to face the choice between dismantling its military, or sending it into battle while it still had the tools with which to fight. As the former was unthinkable, the latter became inevitable. Iran is in the same position, but with one crucial difference: unlike Japan, it is on the brink of nuclear capability. The main thing holding off the inception of hostilities is the hope--a hope first held by Hitler's Germany--that they will soon have the Secret Weapon that will guarantee their success in the war that will inevitably come. And the fact that he didn't quite yet have the A-bomb didn't keep Hitler from starting a war he was convinced he could win conventionally. It was only later, as time was running out on that hope, that he pinned all his hopes on a nuclear capability.

Time, however, is already running out for Iran. The possibility that they may have an A-bomb within a year or two is balanced by the increasing constriction of their ability to field the rest of their armed forces. Now that their long-range radar commandeers the highest mountain in Lebanon, allowing them to monitor any eastbound sorties from Israel, they are more secure of being able to continue their nuclear program unimpeded, come peace or war.

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu recently downplayed the possibility of war with Iran. In view of what has just happened, that can only mean that he is going ahead with plans for the exact opposite. And he's probably looking into the possibility of a flyover of Saudi Arabia as part of a surprise attack on Iran. The three US carriers presently in the Gulf would probably be needed to provide cover. The scenario I envision is one in which US fighters would fly westward across Saudia Arabia, exchanging radar identities over the desert with a sortie of painted-over Israeli jets that flew in under the radar. These would then continue toward the Gulf, refueling in the air under their new identities, cross into Iraq, and wreak their havoc. Like the pilots in Doolittle's Daring Raid, these may have no reasonable expectation of being able to fly their planes back home after completing their mission.

Knowing President Obama's timidity, he's much more likely to let them take out Iran's nuclear capability than try it himself. But will he fall for such a scheme? Of course not, unless the US and Iran are already at war. Unless, or until. Perhaps such a surprise attack would be the opening salvo in that war. Remember Pearl Harbor!

At the rate things are escalating, I expect the opening salvos in that war to occur before the end of September, at the latest. And remember, Ramadan begins in only a month.

ETA on July 30: While I'm in a predictive frame of mind, I expect that Kurdish separatists will play some role in the war. On which side, I can't say.

1 comment:

  1. I hope to goodness you are dead wrong! But it has been the same things that my husband has been saying recently(without all the cool historical facts you gave). Bummer!


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