Friday, 26 October 2007

Comment:US & Iran-The Ticking Time Bomb

The 'Great Prophet' Exercise in November 2006 (Source:FAS)

Source:FAS and BBC Middle East

“Iran has responded defiantly to new sanctions imposed by the US targeting Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and three state-owned banks.”

The BBC in it ‘analysis’ regards the latest bout of US diplomatic pressure on the Iran as another step towards war.

In its article the BBC seems to regard the latest moves by the US administration as ‘hostile’ devoting much of its piece towards the Iranian response. According to The BBC correspondent in Tehran, Jon Leyne, says the sanctions could be very damaging for Iran economically. The Revolutionary Guards are thought to control around a third of the country's economy, including car factories, newspapers and oil and gas fields.

Indeed they may well do but it will also strengthen the IRGC control over the Government.

This 'anti-war' and 'anti-American' view is echoed by the “commentary” on HYS-the BBC’s own interactive website mainly by the increasingly anti-American British

“On the day that Bush asks the world to help overthrow Communism in Cuba (again), and sanctions are announced against Iran for - just maybe, possibly - wanting to acquire 3 or 4 of what Israel's got 200+ of, and the USA's got 7000+ of, perhaps it's time for the rest of the World to just stop listening to arrant hypocrisy disguised as righteousness”

“Iran has caused the deaths of many USA and UK soldiers in Iraq.
Paul Butler, Reading, United Kingdom
Where is the proof? Are you going to start thinking for yourself and making your own judgment, or simply echo the un-proven assumptions coming from War loving generals and politicians for yet another disaster in the region (which by the way, this time, its going to be the real cause of death of thousands of US/UK soldiers)? I say we have caused enough misery for that region, lets get out!!”

Such ‘populist’ opinion (at the moment) seems to be missing some obvious points-as those more familiar with Iran will understand. The fact Iran is not hiding its ambitions and could be in a period known as a ‘transition to war’:

-The IRGC has now being purged of all ‘suspect elements’ and is now taking the leading edge in ‘strengthening’ Iranian defences.

-The capture of Al Quds personnel by Iraqi, British, American security forces in the last year.

-The recent display of Shehab-3 (Range 1280 KM/800 Miles) confirms that Iran has now significant Ballistic Missile capability. Western analysis also believes the Shehab-5 and Shehab-6 (based on North Korea’s Taep'o-dong-2 Range: 4,000-4,300 Km) may also be on-line although there is no firm information yet.

Shehab3 and 3b SLBM on recent display in Tehran (Source:FAS)

-The recent crackdown on ‘pro-Western’ and ‘anti-social elements’ within Iraq by Baseej Security Forces.

-The rationing of petrol and other non-essential materials

-The provocation by the IRGC during the ‘Frightened 15’ episode.

-The continuing non compliance with the IAEA inspections.

-The 10 day ‘Great Prophet’ Exercise in November 2006 with test launches of SLBM's

Objectively Iran is preparing for some sort of military confrontation, either with Israel or the Western Alliance. The one calculation that seems to be overlooked is the Iran is well aware of the political and psychological problems within the West’s key players-the US and the UK.

The US is currently starting its electoral process with Democrats and Republicans neither wishing to get involved further in a military confrontation with all the uncertainty that goes with that. Further more the Bush Administration is winding down and has used it’s up its political capital on Iraq and Afghanistan.

The British Government is in a period of flux,with Brown in a weak position,and with the self inflicted wound of Intelligence Debarcle, coupled with the prevalent anti-American mood by some sections of the public and media has left the UK in no mood for more military activity.It hasn’t got the military or political capital to do so although British Forces in theatre are directly threatened.

Israel is still licking its wounds after it apparent ‘defeat’ by Hezbollah and only France seems to be moving in the direction of a more robust position.

The IRGC will be more than aware of this-it is possible that there may well be a dramatic escalation during the Presidential Race. It cannot also be discounted that the recent attacks by the PKK may well involve Al Qods forces providing logistic and intelligence support, Turkey being a main ally of Isreal in the region.

The irony is that it may not be President Bush who needs to confront the final showdown that started with 9/11-but the very critics who have been grandstanding. Let’s hope they have a policy to deal with it or the Middle East will be very quite for the next 500 years.


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