The latest news from former CIA Agent Robert Baer, reported by Al Jazeera, states that Israel may very well be planning to attack Iran this coming fall. To many people who remember the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, this seems a one sided battle in which Israel once again roundly thumps it’s rather bellicose neighbors and wins for herself yet another glorious victory. However, the reality of such a conflict could be far different.
Iran possesses an Armed Forces of roughly four million. This includes Active, Reserve and Paramilitary components. The Iranian also possesses an unknown number of Basij Militia members. In 1985 the number of the Basij Militia stood at three million strong. This brings Iran’s total military capabilities up to almost seven million. By comparison, the entire US Armed Forces stands at a little over two and a half million Active, Guard and Reserve forces, keeping in mind the fact that much of this force is currently deployed overseas.
Additionally, Iran’s armed forces are strengthened by the presence of at least 29 Russian Air Defense Systems and possibly a contingent of Russian troops. The presence of Russian troops in Iran would be likely since Russia has held joint military exercises with Iran and signed a mutual defense agreement with the Persian country. Coincidentally, this is eerily similar to the defense treaty signed between Russia and China.
Iran is no country to be underestimated. Iran has developed weapons, in conjunction with the Chinese Aeronautics Industry, capable of attacking and destroying the US fleet in the Persian Gulf – namely, the Kowsar Missile which is capable of being launched undetected from land or sea and striking US ships anywhere in the Persian Gulf. Weapons such as these could not only do significant damage to the US fleet but could completely negate US naval power in the region.
Thus, a potential Israeli attack on Iran worries many within Israel’s intelligence service, as well as, those in the US Department of Defense. A war between Israel and Iran would, not only, drag an unwilling and unprepared United States into the conflict but it, also, has the potential to draw in China, Russia and, of course, Iran’s long time allies Syria and Lebanon – sparking World War III.
The administration seems embarrassingly unprepared for such a conflict. With defense budget cut backs and troop draw downs, the United States is in no position for a conflict with Iran and her allies. Why then would Israel press for a war with Iran?
The answer is rather simple. Israel feels choked and threatened by the increasing power of her rather hostile neighbors, particularly in light of what has become known as the Arab Spring, the name for the revolutions sweeping the Arab world. Hezbollah, a long time enemy of Israel, now controls Lebanon and has become much better armed, trained and equipped thanks to the arrival of Iranian warships traveling through the Suez Canal.
Syria has become emboldened because of its success in suppressing its own revolution and the lack of US intervention. Furthermore, the Syrian leadership has inherent ties to Iran, President Bashar Al-Assad and his family are Alawite, a sect of the Shia and of course Iran is predominately Shia. It is widely believed that Iran has been supplying Syria with arms, as well as, Lebanon.
Additionally, Iraq’s leadership is predominately Shia and therefore, predisposed to support Iranian political aims. This is largely due to the fact that the Iranian religious leadership is the theological head of the Shia sect of Islam.
These fears have put Israel on what Sun Tzu aptly referred to as “Death Ground” – A place from which there is no retreat. Israel feels hemmed in and suffocated. As a result, the Israeli leadership, namely President Netanyahu, reportedly feel they have little recourse than to launch a preemptive strike.
A decision to attack Iran would benefit neither Israel nor the US. On the other hand, it would benefit Iran and Russia. Persia once controlled the entire Middle East. Removing the US and her ally Israel would ensure Iran’s dominance in the region once again.
Meanwhile, Russia is eyeing the great oil resources of the Middle East. In her mind, removing the US and Israel and placing her vassal, Iran, in control of the region would by extension would give Russia much greater influence in that part of the world.
What does China have to gain? China feels it benefits from anything that politically and militarily weakens the US and her allies. A disastrous war in which the US and Israel were defeated would, also, force the US to begin to concede control of Africa and Asia to China and her economic interests.
The potential for a war seems great and the prospects for an American victory seem far from great. We as Americans and citizens of the Republic must consider whether we are ready to commit our children, our lives and our property in yet another war in the Middle East.
In my next article, I will describe in detail how the war might unfold.