Sunday, February 05, 2006

Iran Endgame?

A fascinating analysis at Asia Times by Paul Levian about what likely will happen to Iran:
Judging from the rather frantic behind-the-scenes efforts of Russia and China in Iran, they seem to appreciate that the Iranian leadership is in for a big and probably deadly surprise. The Bush administration has not only handled its Iran dossier much more skillfully than Iraq, but also managed to set up Iran for a war it can neither win nor fight to a draw.
Whether consciously set up this way or not, Levian's thesis is that the MSM has deluded Iran into overplaying its hand.

This is so deliciously ironic!

This strategic deception might rank as one of the greatest all-time mis-directions, all the moreso since the agents of the propaganda -- the MSM -- actually believe the message they are sending:
If the Iranian leaders think they can deter an attack because the US is bogged down in Iraq they are already between the jaws of a well-set trap...Iranian leaders seem to accept at face value the US moans over its overstretched military forces and the demoralization of US forces in Iraq.

Certainly, Iranian misconceptions are helped mightily by the defeatism of the Western debate about such a war. "No good options" has become something like the consensus view...
It would be even stranger to think this came about in an entirely unplanned manner.

One almost sees the Hand of Providence.

Be that as it may, Levian knows our forces are extremely capable.

He puts a new interpretation on the strange comments by Chirac lately about France possibly using nuclear weapons against a terrorist state:
In particular, the widely but wrongly discounted nuclear belligerence of President Jacques Chirac last month implied that France was ready to accept the US use of nuclear weapons in a war against Iran if they saw fit to do so.
Using tactical nuclear weapons, I believe, has always been part of our military doctrine to substitute when forces are stretched thin.

Why else would we have them?

He lays out a scenario that I heartily endorse:
An initial Israeli air attack against some Iranian nuclear targets, command and control targets and Shahab missile sites. Iran retaliates with its remaining missiles, tries to close the Gulf, attacks US naval assets and American and British forces in Iraq. If Iranian missiles have chemical warheads (in fact or presumed), the US will immediately use nuclear weapons to destroy the Iranian military and industrial infrastructure. If not, an air campaign of up to two weeks will prepare the ground campaign for the occupation of the Iranian oil and gas fields.

Mass mobilization in Iraq against US-British forces will be at most a nuisance - easily suppressed by the ruthless employment of massive firepower. And Israel will use the opportunity to deal with Syria and South Lebanon, and possibly with its Palestinian problem.
If this is true, our planners aren't the dunderheads we often take them to be.

I particular like how he calls for the same kind of Punitive Expedition format that I have long advocated:
The character of this war will be completely different from the Iraq war. No show-casing of democracy, no "nation-building", no journalists, no Red Cross - but the kind of war the United States would have fought in North Vietnam if it had not had to reckon with the Soviet Union and China.
And just who is this analyst?
Paul Levian is a former German intelligence officer.
I hope he's right.


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