War With Iran: When, Not If

Is there a chance that Washington and Tehran will sit down and settle their differences without bloodshed? According to this analysis from Russia's Novosti news service, the answer to that question would be no, and the rest of the countries in the region had better prepare for the worst ...

By Political Commentator Pyotr Romanov

April 10, 2006

Russia - Novosti - Original Article (English)    

Iranian President President Ahmadinejad
Prepares to Fly By Helicopter to His Next
Stop on His Nationwide Tour to Spread the
'Good Cheer' About Iran's
Nuclear Breakthrough. (above);

—C-SPAN VIDEO: President Ahmadinejad Speech
Announcing that Iran Has Entered Select Group
of Countries to Complete the Nuclear Feul Cycle,
Apr. 11, 00:17:03RealVideo

[RealVideo Khamenei Shrine, For The Real Fan ]

Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah
Sayed Ali Khamenei, the Real
Power in the Islamic Republic. (below)

Would President George W. Bush Rush
Into Full-Scale War Without Considering
All of the Horrific Consequences?
Of Course Not! (above)

President Bush Looks Over at U.N.
Secretary General, Kofi Anan. Anan
Has Fully Supported American Military
Adventures in the Past ... NOT! (below)


Moscow: The United States and Iran seem firmly set on a path leading to the hell of war. There are hopes for the best - and I myself would be happy to find that I have erred on the pessimistic side. But the way things look, here and now, hopes are increasingly overshadowing a very grim reality.

Assertive statements from the American side and war games in the Persian Gulf on the Iranian side scream equally of muscle-flexing. Both sides, while portraying the other as the new evil empire, are in fact perfectly aware of the danger that its opponent poses, both ideologically and politically. Though neither risks thumbing its nose at third-party peacemakers, neither actually listens to anything they say, either.

There are clear indications that the Middle East is in for yet another major conflict. To adjust a changing world, Iran and the U.S. are equally desperate for a major breakthrough. But regrettably, both seem to think that such success comes easier through the use of force rather than through dialogue or diplomacy.


In Afghanistan, Washington claimed a technical victory, although the carefully tended flowerbed of democracy there seems overrun by medieval tribes. But even though that nation is in fact run by Shariah judges [judges of Islamic law] and international drug cartels, Afghanistan still looks better than Iraq, where any kind of victory is out of question. Both have been extremely bad PR for America's status as a superpower.

A tarnished image on the international stage would be something Washington could live with, were it not for Vietnam-style protests at home. Wisconsin has sent a loud though nonbinding message to D.C., after 61% voted in local referendums last Tuesday for an immediate pullout from Iraq.

[Note: Thirty two cities and towns had referendums on the April 4 ballot, calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The statewide antiwar margin from all 32 elections was 61 percent to 39 percent].

Not that there many pretexts left for launching a critic-gagging war, the Administration might think. Three years ago, WMD evidence, slippery as it looked and false as it proved later, had become the case for war on Iraq. With Iran, a

The U.S. administration might just think that the pretext for a small, victorious, critic-gagging war could be dreamt up. Three years ago, evidence for WMDs, slippery as it looked and false as it proved to be, became the case for war on Iraq. With Iran, a trigger-happy White House is likely to think that mere suspicion of WMDs will do. Of course, Iran's own notorious rhetoric about wiping Israel off the map also helps.

Last but not least, fighting the sinister gang of ayatollahs sponsoring terrorists fits in nicely with President George W. Bush's declared strategy to eradicate tyranny around the globe. To keep one's word is important. What Iranians themselves think about the sinister gang of ayatollahs that runs their country is apparently of little consequence.


'Iran and the Israeli-Dominated West: Nose to Nuclear Nose'
[Al-Khaleej, U.A.E.] (above)

America's Obsession With Militarism: $8.3 Trillion in Debt
... and Counting. [Alquds Alarabi, U.K.] (below)


Iran in not short of its own pretexts to go to war. Neither American domination nor a nuclear-free future is seen as an option, for a nation asserting itself as a regional leader.

While peaceful nuclear power could well become a solid engine for Iranian modernization, Tehran has greater ambitions: an Iranian-built nuclear weapon is seen as the key to many Middle East doors that have been shut up to now. Apart from putting Iran at the front of the race for regional leadership, it could also fuel a rise of Shiite culture in the Muslim world, and make the country a leader of an ascendant global Islam. Or so Tehran hopes. None of its aspirations can possibly come about as long as Washington stands in the way.


There is no need to go through the entire list of pro-war considerations. What has been said is probably enough to realize that, whoever tries to bring peace between America and Iran, be it the United Nations, Western Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or Russia, will have their attempts fall on deaf ears.

While Russia and others continue to warn America against a new military gamble - most recently, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated in Berlin that Russia didn't think "positive results could come through threats and pressure" - there is little hope that his voice will be heard along the Potomac. Better we should brace for the worst, for what might begin as a noble duel could well end as a classic bar brawl, in which the watchers will get as many bruises as the fighters.

For it is no longer a question of "if." It is a question of "when." Rough calculation point to the end of this year.

The action will begin no later than that, because no U.S. political party would allow its president to plunge the nation into war with record-low approval ratings and only one year left until the next presidential election. And of course, George W. Bush hardly wants to go down in history as a man who lost all of his wars. What the Grand Old Party needs to shield itself from the Iraqi quagmire is an overwhelming - even if equally devastating - military success before 2008. But in the case of Iran, military success will surely take time.

Many political as well as military factors militate against action happening sooner than the end of the year. Not being an expert on the military domain, I will just state the obvious: any war requires preparation and a secure rear area. In this case, that should mean seeing the U.S. enroll as many allies as possible to pick up the slack in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Washington is going to need allies on the political front as well, so as not to expose itself to the kind of global opprobrium it received for invading Iraq without U.N. approval. The list of possible partners includes Western Europe, and of course Moscow and Beijing, both of which have vetoes on the U.N. Security Council, and the first tool of pressure is likely to be sanctions. Since the White House expects sanctions to have little effect, any such sanctions, if imposed by international consensus, might be taken by the U.S. as a go-ahead signal.

No sooner will the U.S. have acted in contempt of international law, than it will become clear that its allies are not queuing up. Military action will then rear its head, because sadly, "May God be our witness, we tried hard but we are running out of patience" politics is something the U.S. has practiced before.

Since it will take a bit of time for Washington to "try really hard," at least we will have a few peaceful months to enjoy.


WindowsVideoIRIB/Jaam-E-Jam3, Iran: Excerpts from an interview with General Hosein Salami, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force, Apr. 4, 00:03:39, Via MEMRI

"Iran can block oil export whenever necessary. Fox News doesn't have to make propaganda out of this. This is a natural ability of our country."

Iranian Air Force General Hosein Salami