Repubs Plot Israel-Iran Apocalypse and the Collapse of the US Economy

Jamal Abdi at HuffPo explains that almost a third of Republicans in the House have signed on to a resolution urging Israel to attack Iran.

The National Iranian American Council has a petition you can sign calling on minority leader John Boehner to repudiate this measure.

The move is reminiscent of the 1998 letter the Project for a New American Century signatories sent to President Clinton, putting pressure on him to initiate war on Iraq. They did maneuver him into pulling out UN weapons inspectors and bombing Iraq. The US removal of the inspectors made the West blind as to the lack of Iraqi weapons programs, since their absence could no longer be certified. In turn, Iraq’s opaqueness as a result of the Clinton actions allowed the Bill Kristol crowd and the rest of the Israel, war industry and oil lobbies to propagandize America into the fruitless and ruinous Iraq War. Now they are repeating this pattern with regard to Iran.

Think about how weird it is. Nearly half of Republicans in the House are from the South, which has relatively few Jewish Americans. So this resolution is likely emanating from the Christian Zionists like John Hagee (who once said that God sent Hitler to punish the Jews for being outside Israel). It is not impossible that the people behind this resolution are fervently hoping for the Judgment Day to come more quickly and look forward to a Middle East apocalypse as a step toward the Return of Christ and the end of that pesky but temporarily necessary Judaism. In other words, for these right wing Americans to call for Israel to go to war on behalf of America is just one more case of white Christians sacrificing Jews for their own interests and is a form of anti-Semitism.

The likely outcome of an Israeli military strike on Iran is as follows:

  • Iran will use Shiite operatives and militiamen to kill the increasingly vulnerable remaining US troops in Iraq (once there are less than 50,000 non-combat troops in that country, they are not troops, they are hostages).
  • Iran will stir up its substantial number of clients in Afghanistan to hit the United States, widening the insurgency from mainly Pashtun Taliban to include fundamentalist Tajiks and Hazaras. The US will remain mired in that war, perhaps for decades, as a result.
  • Iran will probably bide its time and act in covert and hard to trace ways against US interests in the region. There could be more operations like the Khobar Towers bombing of US troops in Saudi Arabia or the 1983 attack on a Marine barracks in Beirut. All US commercial and government offices in the region would become targets.
  • A fair likelihood exists that Hizbullah would do something to Israel in revenge, possibly provoking another Israel-Lebanon War. The last war did not go well for Israel, despite its massive military superiority. A fourth of Israelis were forced to move house, chemical gas facilities in Haifa were threatened (and the Dimona Nuclear plant that makes all those Israeli nuclear warheads could be), and Hizbullah had broken Israeli radio encryption and knew all the Israeli army plans beforehand.
  • Not only would the democratically inclined opposition movement in Iran evaporate, but Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt, Jordan and other US allies would mobilize and perhaps gain in popularity out of anti-imperial solidarity. (Only 6% of ordinary Arabs is worried about an Iranian nuclear bomb, whereas almost all are disturbed by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians).
  • The price of oil would spike, likely to 2008 highs of $140 a barrel, throwing the world back into Depression.
  • Once such hostilities began, and given these likely responses, the US could well get sucked into a third major Middle East war, against a country geographically much bigger than either Iraq or Afghanistan, and more than twice as populous as each of them. At another $1 trillion, that cost would push the US into $14 trillion in indebtedness all by itself, and since that is American annual gross domestic product, it could trigger a downgrading of American credit, making the interest servicing on existing and future loans far more expensive and, along with crippling high oil prices, beginning America’s final spiral down into poverty and weakness.
  • 92 Responses

    1. How does your food get to you?

      Unless you live on a farm,virtually 100% of your food is transported to you via diesel trucks and trains. What happens when the price of diesel triples? Will the food be transported to you? Will you be able to afford it? What happens if there is not enough diesel fuel at any price? How will Walmart stock its shelves when trucks can’t roll?

      While Iran can NOT attack the US homeland directly, it can remove almost 50% of the world’s oil supply. As the folks at BP have very cheerfully demonstrated, oil production infrastructure is insanely easy to destroy and takes lots of both time and money to replace. A few well placed missiles fired from Iran at oil infrastructure around the Gulf would stop a lot of oil production within minutes. As for the shipping, ships need insurance to move (owners do not want to risk their massive investments), but insurance companies will get real scared if just one tanker is sunk, which it turns out is easy to do with a swarm of small boats filled with explosives and driven by a martyr.

      The run up to US$150/bbl oil a while back exposed the fact that even with the very high price, the world could NOT produce any more oil. That is, there is NO SPARE CAPACITY any more. So if Iran removed 50% of the world’s oil production, the price would have to go up, way up! And it would stay up for a long time.

      Since oil is traded on a global market, the countries that did have oil to sell would not necessarily sell to the US, especially if China was offering CASH (which they have a lot of).

      The US can only produce 25% it its needs internally, so what usage would have to stop to allocate that 25% for all the usage in the US?

      Can anyone see the problem? Not only would US businesses not be able to ship any goods, but none of their employees could get to work. Sure some people can do their jobs from home, but not the entire US work force. The US economy would definitely sink to the bottom. But then the starvation would set in because how would the food get to the stores?

      All of these consequences are just from stopping the flow of oil, then there are all the other things that Iran could do.

      In the end, the US would have to surrender to Iran.

      Realistically, it would be far better for the US to muzzle Israel and throw it under the bus, remove all sanctions against Iran, open up full diplomatic and trade relations with Iran and GIVE Iran the fuel it needs for its reactor (nuclear fuel can NOT be used for weapons).

      War with Iran would be the stupidest thing the US could ever do.

      That is why, I fully expect the US/Israel to do it. Hubris and pride are at record levels in both countries. Most people in both countries think they are super-humans and all the rest of the world should bow to them. They will have to suffer massive humiliation before they re-learn the lessons of history … the prideful are always severely humbled, always.

      • Iran is a little unlikely to attack oil infrastructure in the Gulf because it is vulnerable that way, as well. There were a few such sorties during the Iran-Iraq War but both sides pulled back, in a sort of petroleum version of MAD. The common assertion that Iran could close the Straits of Hormoz is also incorrect. They are more likely to respond covertly and over time and through intermediaries, which will be just as effective and less dangerous to them.

        • The Iranian military lacks the capacity to attack the oil infrastructure of the Arab countries or shut the port of Hormuz.

          What if the Arab states collectively attacked Iran’s nuclear program? Could Iran retaliate? On paper, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Gulf militaries have far more fire power than Iran does. They would also likely get the support of Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. The Najaf Marjeya, Allawi and Maliki are not too fond of Khamanei and didn’t congratulate Ahmeninijad on his election victory last year.

          Juan, I doubt that Iran has much capacity to retaliate inside Iraq. The Iraqis would see it as a declaration of war, and the IA and IP would respond accordingly. Why would Iran risk that?

        • On the other hand, if the situation spirals out of control and oil deliveries to the US are reduced by too much, then the US ceases to function.

        • Iran would likely not need to close the Straits of Hormoz to affect the price of oil. The minute that CNN reports either US or Israeli airstrikes on Iran the price of oil on commodity markets will explode. Even before Iran has a chance to respond in any way the price of oil (currently around 80 dollars will have rocketed).

          Also there has never been a stock market rally when oil was over 90 dollars a barrel.

          On the topic of Iraq and the Shia militia’s looks like Allawi (who spent his whole last term as Iraqi PM blaming Iran) is going to be the next PM. Also the meeting between Al Sadr/Assad/Allawi in Syria seems to have been an exercise in patching things up (after the whole Allawi bombing the Mahdi Army in Najaf affair).

          One point left out is how Russia/China/India would react to US/Israeli airstrikes. Certainly China and India who depend on Iranian gas and oil would not be happy. Would Russia possibly pull the plug on the Manas airbase cutting US supplies into Afghanistan? Would China accelerate its slow motion de-leveraging of the US dollar. Then of course there is also Syria to think about as well as Hezbollah. Also would Hamas take advantage of Israel being focused on Iran and Hezbollah.

          So much variables and things to consider it makes me fairly sure that the US military brass wouldn’t allow it. Even if the Republicans are crazy I do not see the military leadership in any way eager for an Iranian adventure.

        • Take it from me, a Conservative Baptist preacher’s kid, the ‘end times’ as painted in Revelations are not a pretty picture. A fundamentalist looking forward to life under the antichrist is a bit like a european jew looking forward to WW2, because it will provide money and populace for zionism. Only the pre-millineal ‘Left Behind’ cult should anticipate Armegeddon with glee. The biblical text describes a Caligula style oppression, murder, torture of the faithful, not something to relish taking a family thru. Second century Christians thought the Roman emperors were the Anti-Christ described in John’s revelations.

          Incidentally, modern Jewish Christians are barred from immigraton by discriminatory practice, and by the latest tests for Jewishness being given over to the ultra-orthodox sects that historically regarded the militant socialist zionists as heretics. Under Israeli law under the zionists and the ultra-orthodox, a jew gives up his ethnicity if he converts to LaHay’s religion. I know a fundamentalist Christian Jew who intended to hide his conversion, if he ever exercised his ‘ancestral right’ to immigrate. Presumable there other closet christian immigrants, which is ironic in Hebrew Palestine.

          As a percentage of population, there were more Christians in Palestine in 1945 than in 1985. The holy land wars have driven most of the maronites and syrian orthodox out of Palestine, just as the Iraq war has nearly driven the Iraqi Christians under. More sad irony.

        • MAD is operative only to the degree the US leaves intact Iran’s energy infrastructure. If Iran is reduced to food rations and human and animal transport of necessities to its population, there is no longer any reason not to fully attack all energy in the region.

          Once the US starts bombing, there comes to be a serious question of how far the US intends to go, and the destruction of Iran’s industrial infrastructure has been mentioned as an option. If so, attacks on the region’s energy infrastructure is a plausible retaliation.

          If the US only does limited strikes, then the US cannot escalate when Iran begins supplying insurgents with anti-air missiles to take out US helicopters, for example.

          Limited strikes may well lead to broader strikes, that may well lead to Iranian attacks on the region’s energy infrastructure. Not in round one, but before it is all over.

        • I think he has a point about insurance rates for ships in the Straits.

          It wouldn’t take much to make it prohibitively expensive.

          How much would a shipping company have to be paid to take even a 1% risk that a $100,000,000 investment would be destroyed?

          Who would sail it?

          What’s the impact on the cost of oil?

          Time to buy into the Alberta oil sands companies.

    2. Juan, summarising a Christian Zionist view, refers to ‘ the end of that pesky but temporarily necessary Judaism’. In my understanding of Christian Zionism, particularly as expressed in the notes to the Scofield Bible, its more a question of ‘that pesky but temporarily necessary Christianity.’ The doctrine seems to be that the Jews are indeed the Chosen People destined to rule the world under the headship of the Messiah. The two thousand year history of the Church was a sort of stop-gap measure that was necessary because ‘the Jews’ failed to recognise the Messiah and do what was expected of them (not much account seems to be taken of the very large number of Jews who did convert to Christianity in its early days). The crudities of early Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, Copt etc) – idolatry, veneration of the Saints and of the Virgin etc – are due to the fact that they just weren’t the right people, they hadn’t had the correct preparation. The right people were then and still are the Jews, and all the prophecies refer specifically to the Jews. Once they’ve recovered the historical land, whatever exactly that might be, Christ will return, this time they, or enough of them, will make the right choice and everything will be hunky dory.

      • All the Christian millenarians I know expect the Jews in Israel to accept Christ when he returns as a result of their ingathering in all of historical Israel. In other words, at the end Jewish identity is finally liquidated.

        • And the Twelvers expect all the Christians and Jews to accept Islam, after the Twelfth Imam (The Mahdi) returns with his sidekick Jesus to beat the crap out of the Masih ad-Dajjal :)

          Juan, an excellent article, I wish the people in DC would listen to you or someone like you. Then again, I also wish I could write like you do, and I suppose both wishes are equally unlikely of fulfillment.

    3. Of course from the point of view of a rational person war never makes sense. But the US exist and exercieses its power mostly through war. This country is in the hands of banks, war companies and zionists. What do you expect?

    4. Professor, you haven’t even mentioned the fight against us military in the gulf put up by Iranian forces, plus the damage inflicted on the emirates will be substantial. No war plan survives the first contact with the enemy. Death spiral for the US economy will be inevitable. US military planners may have been ignorant of Iraqi realities, but they are rationalists, and know better about Iranian might. I take comfort in that thought. Am I wrong?

      • Usama, what Iranian military arsenal are you referring too? None of the great global arms suppliers have supplied Iran cutting edge military tech. Their air force has mostly fallen apart. Even the UAE alone could probably quickly destroy the Iranian air force, Iranian navy and Iranian air defense.

        If Iran attacked the neighbors, China, India, Japan, South Korea, EU, North America, South America and Africa would be irate at them for trying to cause a global depression. Plus, it wouldn’t work.

        Keep in mind that Khamanei doesn’t trust the Iranian military and has kept it weak. Khamanei has traditionally relied on the IRGC Kuds force.

        • Anan, you are dangerously mistaken about the quantity and quality of the Iranian military.

          Sure the Iranian politicians spout off all the time, but behind that rhetoric is a vast, modern weapons development and manufacturing capability.

          The Iranians have reverse engineered every technology they can get their hands on and have dramatically improved what they found.

          The Iranian version of the sunburn anti-ship missile is even more deadly than the original Chinese version (it is rumored that Iran has shared the improvements with the Chinese).

          You have fallen into the classic trap that Sun Tzu warned about, vastly under-estimating the other side.

          The Iraq invasion of Iran and the lack of help Iran got from other countries while the US gave Iraq everything it could, convinced Iran’s leaders that they needed to be as self sufficient as possible, so since that war (which Iran effectively won against enormous odds), Iran has invested a lot of their wealth in weapon design and manufacturing.

          The US/Israel will get a lot of very nasty, deadly surprises when they attack Iran.

          I expect the US to surrender fairly quickly.

    5. Paul Kennedy “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 [sic]” points out that alliances and coalitions are the only means that great powers have to sustain military expenditures over extended periods of time. Currently the Anglo-American alliance that invaded Afghanistan is at a point of dissolution (and the withdrawal of British forces) due to the economic strains of the invasion. The economic benefits accruing from the adventure do not replace or replenish the costs expended. Non-American NATO are showing the same stresses and are also on the brink of withdrawal. The economic drain is too great for the U.S. to sustain alone and will bring down the economy in short order, whether or not the assets of Social Security are plundered.

      The inevitable attack on Iran will trigger a momentous change in the power relationships in the world. The perfidy being employed in the assault (the sanction regime is an unprovoked act of war against Iran) is known worldwide. The U.S. and Israel shall be seen as rogue states, undeniably capable of unprovoked unrestrained attack on any power. The only safety available to those powers will be a worldwide coalition countering the power of the U.S. Since there is no one power capable of militarily withstanding the U.S. those means will not be used. What will happen is analysis of U.S. weaknesses and economic means will be employed to drain whatever power base remains available until the economic collapse of the U.S. is accomplished and the threat is neutralized. There will be a continuing watch on the economic wreck of the U.S. to assure that no recovery will be possible and the restoration of power will be forever stymied. The abject bankruptcy of current economic ideology available to those in power in the U.S./Anglo coalition is incapable of response or mounting an effective defense. This is the chosen path and the likely results. It is probably too late to avert the consummation without regime change in Washington/Tel Aviv axis of evil.

      • Agreed!
        Furthermore, any nations(including my own) on such a self-destructive trajectory because of their own machinations, deserves and needs this to happen to them and they get no sympathy from me.

      • I’m sorry a_berns but aren’t Israel and the USA already rogue states? On the basis of their own decreed “standards” they certainly seem to be so to me and many others!

    6. Remembering from another of your posts that Israel can’t fly over Turkey airspace and it’s unlikely they get approval to fly over Iraqi airspace, how do they get those bombers to Iran?

      • Via Saudi Arabia , and the other Gulf States, who would like someone to do “something” tangible to neuter Iran and will support them as much as they (feasibly) can, and what does Israel care about about Jordanian airspace?

        But then, we do have to think of how rational it’d really be to have a serious fight. The PR gains from all this posturing serves the regimes in Jersusalem, Tehran and DC just fine, without firing a shot; a shutdown of the gulf would screw the Iranians even worse than us. But then, it is the Israelies, and not the US, who’d fire the first shot (obviously, be prepared for the Iranian “provocation”), and people find a way to do what they want to do emotionally (see: Salesmanship 101).

        The issue here, and the problem, IMHO, is that events do not unfold rationally. Statesmen can steer their ships and grand strategies, but the weather is tricky and the most probable odds of any one event are themselves improbable relative to what actually unfolds. A long way of saying, that whenever you put a bunch of combustable materials and attitudes increasingly close together, you never know WHAT will actually happen. You/we are here tempting fate.

      • If it comes to that, they won’t ask for permission. Turkey might have air defenses that would be able to stop or slow them, but Iraq doesn’t, not in any sovereign sense. The U.S. controls what there is, and the Israelis would probably have the green light, tacitly if not explicitly.

      • It was recently reported in Sunday Times in the UK that the Saudis would look the other way and stand down their radar to facilitate an overflight.

      • Do you think that will stop them- I don’t think they ask permission very much and care less what the response is?

    7. Gee, and people freak about about Muslim millenarianism when we have the more dangerous Christian ones right here at home.

    8. This is also reflective of the foreign policy influence of the Israeli government and supporters. This has to continue to be made clear, for the influence is highly destructive for America and others.

    9. Error:

      “The likely outcome of an Israeli military strike on Israel is as follows”

      I think you meant an Israeli strike on Iran

    10. Israel will not strike Iran before striking at Hizbollah in Lebanon. Israel views Hizbollah as an arm of the Iranian military, and before attacking Iran itself, Israel will launch on assault on Hizbollah designed to degrade Hizbollah’s military capacity just enough to make “tolerable” whatever strike Hizbollah launches in response to the Israeli attack on Iran. For that reason, one should watch developments in Lebanon with great care. When Israel moves towards an attack on Hizbollah, one should assume that an attack on Iran is not far behind. But until the Israelis move against Hizbollah, they will not attack Iran.

      • This has already started. I read several different articles from different sources which claim that the US is upping the supply of weapons to Israel especially bombs used by F16 aircraft. Hezbollah is also stockpiling rockets in villages along the southern Lebanese border.

        Won’t be long now!
        Better order your winter oil supply before the autumn starts.

        • link to haaretz.com

          “Israel and the United States have signed an agreement to make the Arrow II ballistic shield capable of shooting down missiles at a higher altitude, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
          The Arrow III will allow Israel “to deal with the threat of ballistic missiles with long range” and will give it “the ability to shoot down weapons of mass destruction outside the atmosphere”, the ministry said in a statement.

          Israel, which describes its Arrow system as a defense against Iran, says the upgraded version will cap off its multi-tier air defenses. ”

          Boeing partners with Israel in producing the missile system.

    11. Gee, imagine that, members of the US government promoting State Terrorism and War Crimes. Now, just who are the terrorists we are supposed to be fighting? Looks to me that most reside in Washington, DC.

    12. These rightist warmongers are egging on a drunken Goliath whose every swing at the “indignant desert birds” brings him closer to collapse. Ragtag terrorists, who years ago could have been dispatched by shrewd international police work, must be watching the spectacle with great satisfaction. We’ve crossed the Rubicon, and are about to board a ferry across the River Styx.

    13. Iran will not only light up their Shiite Iraqi allies to attack US troops remaining in Iraq. Shiite militia will cut the US supply route from Kuwait. Food, water, even petrol rely on the continuous truck caravan through Shia country in south Iraq. Surrounded , thirsty and hungry the US Army(that’s who’s left- the Marines are in Afghanistan) could end up with the biggest surrender of US troops since Bataan in April 1942.

    14. I do not doubt the scenario, but I see a problem explaining it to the general public. The problem stems from the hysteria created by Beck, Limbaugh and all the other wing nuts. How do we tell the difference between their illogic and hysteria, and the plausible scenario describd above?

    15. Why does this not surprise me?! What else can we expect from a nation(America) who’s foreign policy is based on religious documents over 2000 years old?
      What does it say about a nation—in the 21st century, no less—for its domestic and foreign policy to be guided by religious superstition? This is not only appalling …and dangerous, it’s embarrassing. Now I can see why Communist nations have no tolerance for religion…because it results in insanity like this!
      I don’t begrudge anyone their religion, but, it has no place in public policy…foreign or domestic.
      Like I always say, if you don’t want government in your religion, keep your religion out of government.

    16. It’s amusing, if a bit depressing, to think how easy it is for likudniks and cynics like Boehner to manipulate a population that believes in Creationism, virgin birth, resurrection and a second coming, while rejecting evolution and GW.

      Any missile are air attack on Iranian nuclear processing facilities will, by design, release large amounts (many tons) of the highly toxic U-hexaflouride gas that is the working medium for centrifuges, onto the Persian land water, food, people and animals. If anyone attacked our nuclear facilities, or even threatened release of radioligical poison from American ships or domestic facilities, we would regard them as nuclear terrorists.

      The Israeli attack on Iran being encouraged from the halls of the US Congress is an act of willful radiological terrorism, nothing like the destruction of unfueled sites at Osyrik in 1983 or Syria in 2006. It would put our poorly guarded facilities, including nuclear-powered ships, in the line of fire. It would certainly require our warplanes to take up permanent combat air patrols over the Gulf oilfields, and be accompanied by a large spike in oil prices that could push a global recession into global depression.

      • www dot raceforiran dot com/averting-a-proxy-war-with-iran-in-afghanistan#comment-14707 :

        “I have considerable knowledge of terrorism, having studied the subject for years. The US is one of the most vulnerable nations in the world to terrorism on its own ground.

        With 50-100 men at my command, armed with suppressed pistols, AK-47’s or the equivalent, hundreds of pounds of plastic explosive, grenades, 40mm grenade launchers, etc., all man portable weapons easily smuggled into the United States, I could almost literally bring the US to its knees within six to 12 months. How? Three words: Chronic effective terrorism.

        Think of Turkey in the 1970’s or Italy with the Red Brigades. Think of a car bomb exploding every single day somewhere in a major city at a major population concentration at rush hour. Think of every mayor of every major city being blown up by an IED or gunned down by an assassin (bodyguards are useless against a concentrated attack). Think of major US political figures being assassinated every month. Think of somebody detonating a car bomb on the Golden Gate Bridge here in San Francisco at rush hour. Think of major news broadcasters at the networks being kidnapped and forced to read propaganda pieces on YouTube with a gun at their head. Think of . . . ”

        what if some nasty people heard our home-grown jingle, “kill them over there so we don’t have to kill them over here” and got their heres and theres mixed up?

    17. It’s amusing, if a bit depressing, to think how easy it is for likudniks and cynics like Boehner to manipulate a population that believes in Creationism, virgin birth, resurrection and a second coming, while rejecting evolution and GW.

      Any Israeli missile or air attack on Iranian nuclear processing facilities will, by design, release large amounts (many tons) of the highly toxic U-hexaflouride gas that is the working medium for centrifuges, onto the Persian land water, food, people and animals. If anyone attacked our nuclear facilities, or even threatened release of radioligical poison from American ships or domestic facilities, we would regard them as nuclear terrorists.

      The attack by nuclear armed Israel on Iran that is being encouraged from the halls of the US Congress would be an act of willful radiological terrorism, nothing like the destruction of unfueled sites at Osyrik in 1983 or Syria in 2007. It would put our poorly guarded facilities, including nuclear-powered ships, in the line of fire. It would certainly require our warplanes to take up permanent combat air patrols over the Gulf oilfields, and be accompanied by a large spike in oil prices that could push a global recession into global depression.

    18. Juan, why do the Jewish Zionists welcome the Christian Zionists knowing that the latter aim at the coming of Christ and with that the liquidation of Jewish identity?

    19. Hey prof

      Al-khobar Tower bombing wasn’t because of the Shiites. This is what ISP news investigators proved. But, it seems there are some people are desperate to link terrorism to Shiites to justify their aggression against armless and innocent people.

      you can check the link yourself, it’s a five article series
      it shows how our loyal ally (Saudi Arabia) are so honest with us
      link to ipsnews.net

    20. I agree that Israel is likely to attack Hizballah in Lebanon before – or possibly in concert with – attacking Iran. This is a sort of “chicken and egg” issue. Israel has to assume, if not necessarily correctly, that Hizballah will retaliate for an Israeli attack on Iran – even if, as we know, Sheik Nasrallah is not a puppet of Iran. On Hizballah’s side, they have to assume that Israel will also attack Hizballah in the course of an attack on Iran, for the same reasons.

      Logistically, it would be easier for Israel to attack Hizballah before attacking Iran. So I agree events between Lebanon and Israel may presage an Israeli attack on Iran.

      As for Iran not being able to attack the US directly, that is very wrong. The US is a country MADE for urban terrorism. Iran need only send a hundred reasonably well trained agents (or use Hizballah cells allegedly already existing in the US) equipped with suppressed pistols, AK-47’s or other automatic weapons, and as much Semtex and grenades and 40mm grenade launchers as they can smuggle in, and they could bring major US cities to their knees within six months.

      Imagine car bombs – the US is MADE for car bombs! – going off at every major intersection in every major city on a daily basis, killing hundreds of Americans at once. Imagine your municipal rail tracks being blown up before your train hits it at a hundred miles an hour during rush hour. Imagine a car bomb on the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour.

      I suspect Iran will not engage in these tactics UNLESS it becomes clear to them that the US is willing to kill large numbers of Iranian civilians in the course of an all-out aerial and naval bombardment strategy. But it is very likely the US will resort to that strategy if Iran does not bow down to the US after an initial strike – which it probably won’t. Since the US will want to avoid a ground-based strategy due to the size of Iran and the capability of Iran to wage a major insurgency, the US will likely try the (discredited but still “sexy”) “shock and awe” campaign. And those campaigns kill a LOT of civilians.

      If Iran decides to take the fight to the US, you can expect National Guard checkpoints in every major city, and the further evaporation of what little civil rights you have left.

    21. We are fighting Sunni insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are no easy lines of communication between these two fronts because, between them sits Iran, a country hostile to both insurgent groups. Iran is an unwilling geography that benefits us in both wars. Risking the removal of this obstacle due to revenge or distraction is a stupid thing to do.

    22. As long as the Americans want Israel to bomb Iran and the Israeli want USA to do it we are reasonably safe.

    23. First U would like to apologize for my English…

      Second, I read carefully the article and the reader’s responds following. Although some may look logical in their essence they also lack a key ingredient in the analysis. The factor they all missing is : USA retaliation against Iran the moment Iran will attack either USA or its proxies. Since Iran is surrounded from the west and east by US forces, not to mention battle ships in the med and gulf, most likely that USA will attack swiftly and very very very rigorously. As seen in Iraq and Afg. – the regime in Iran will not survive for 2 weeks. Since this scenario is very likely the president of Iran will probably prefer to start a covert war on the US.
      This scenario has already happened in 2008 when Israel bombed Syria nuclear facility with out any action from Syria- since President Asad understood that retaliation will signal the end of his region. I believe the same will happen when Israel will bomb Iran (BTW – Iran combat capabilities are very exdutrated – their army is very week and lacks in technology or equipment.)

    24. This is a hairbrained move by republicans. I’m glad it happened though, because it’s good to remind the public of what republicans are really about.

    25. You forgot to state the most crucial military component. Iran’s naval and air forces would be decimated systematically in short few weeks in case of war. However, Iran with half of its population under 30 will filed an overwhleming army of at leat 10 to 20 million. All US ground forces will be simply overwhlemd in the ME. It would then necessitate the use of nuclear weapon by either or both US and Israel.. Even in that case, given the Shiite theology, the Iranians will continue the war. the terror highway right upto the steps of Tel Aviv, an impossibility today, will become de facto.

    26. War-mongerers are the antithesis of civilized humanity. They are the universal human scum – whatever their religion or nationality, whatever their class, rank, wealth, influence or position. They are scum.

    27. I’m not exactly sure why the threat to the world’s oil supply is so readily dismissed. Certainly, war promoters want to downplay the potential for damage that would threaten the global economy. But why do people like Juan Cole refuse to consider the threat?

      The fact is that Iran did attack Iraq’s oil infrastructure, and with devastating results: “In the first year of the Iran-Iraq war, oil production fell from 3.4 million barrels per day to just under a million.[7] Oil revenues continued to drop off for the duration of the conflict—totaling $11 billion, less than half the pre-war amount, in 1988.”
      link to merip.org

      The oil weapon works. If the US demonstrated its intent to destroy Iran, why wouldn’t Iran signal its intent to use the MAD doctrine to destroy the world’s oil production? It’s all the rage to assume that Iran will use its non-existent nuke to bomb Israel, but no one discusses the more real possibility that Iran would simply take out Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia’s oil export facility.

      Today, OPEC’s spare oil capacity exceeds 4 billion barrels per day, the highest since before the Iraq War. After the onset of the Iraq War, the world’s spare capacity disappeared, driving prices sky high. Isn’t it reasonable to assume that such a scenario could be repeated after the onset of a war with Iran? What are the deniers thinking?

      No war plan survives initial contact. Opponents of a war with Iran should not be downplaying the threat of a major oil supply disruption. It only serves the rosy predictions of the perpetual war crowd.

    28. …beginning America’s final spiral down into poverty and weakness.

      If I were not a US person my thought about this would certainly be – Cool, What’s the downside?

    29. When you think about it, the “Manchurian Candidate” was fictional child’s play compared to bin Ladin’s real life ” pinch the elephant’s ass” tactic. Why rely on the fortunes of a single political candidate when you can activate an entire political party (the wealthiest one at that) to carry out your plans. From the cave’s mouth, the view of the sun setting in the West must be truly spectacular.

      And yet, why do the Chinese leaders have that Mona Lisa smile?

    30. There is an element of the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now the clamored for by some Iran. Which is the direct moral decay fallout for Americans. To be moral in situation A is to do what produces a successful outcome in situation A (successful outcome = result that is excellent and each participant thoroughly enjoyed doing that process). And once you give up an attraction to morality, your life is a progressively downward path toward repeated pain and chaos.

      Bush lied about who did 9/11 to encourage the Americans to fight a definitely illegal war on Afghanistan and Iraq. And from that lie spanned a multitude of moral decay, one of the most significant aspects being the start of eviscerating the Constitution, and the willingness for Americans to tolerate more and more corruption, greed and malfeasance in business and every day life. Obama lied about Afghanistan. And now these right wing unprecedented in ignorance Republicans are lying to get a war in Iran.

      The more we allow our governments to implement immoral practices, the more we all suffer from the moral decay at home.

      Innocent until proven guilty is a hallmark of our legal system. And it doesn’t exist just as a nicety so we can feel good. It exists as a moral framework to stop the more idiotic and fascist members among us from going amuck. Innocent until proven guilty prohibits preemptive military actions. And the second you accept preemptive military actions, it is only a matter of time before idiotic fascists here in the US will find ways to remove innocent until proven guilty from all the Americans who don’t toe the lines those fascists favor.

      Let us wake up and smell the coffee.

      • I believe the reason Americans have tolerated the insidious immorality of its leaders is because Americans don’t know what true morality is. We’ve been conditioned by our sad Christian Fundamentalist legacy to judge morality in the most superficial terms, such as drinking, swearing, using tobacco, and other recreational choices, while ignoring the goal of morality, which is “love thy neighbor”…”judge not, lest ye be judged”…”turn the other cheek”…”love thy enemies and pray for those who spitefully use you”…and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
        Go into any Fundamentalist church service and if you hear love, forgiveness and tolerance of others preached, I’ll show you Elvis Presley, alive and well.
        Unfortunately, this is the pathetic state of “morality” in America, and it’s no wonder we tolerate the abuses of the rich and powerful. By some twisted logic, war and the misuse of power and the abuses of the rich against the poor don’t make it into the Christian moral crosshairs, even though the most common recipients of Jesus’ anger were the rich, the powerful and the religious. Go figure?!

    31. Israel needs to remember the famous position of the late, unlamented Gamul Abdul Nasser. To paraphrase; we can lose and lose and lose, Israel can only lose once.

      Loathe though I am to say it, there is a certain inevitability to this scenario. The right in the US seems utterly incapable of learning from their mistakes. In fact, they seem committed to repeating them.

      An attack on Iran by Israel with US sanction might be the one thing that could finally unite Sunni and Shi’a.

      To again paraphrase, – this time the great Jimmy Durante; what a revoltin’ development that would be – for the US and the west.

    32. July 25th, 2010 — the drumbeat quickens:

      Michael Hayden, a CIA chief under President George W. Bush, said that during his tenure “a [US air] strike [on Iran] was way down the list of options.” But he tells CNN’s State of the Union that such action now “seems inexorable.”

      “In my personal thinking,” Hayden said, “I have begun to consider that that may not be the worst of all possible outcomes.”

    33. Isn’t it a hell of a thing to be praying for our Chinese creditors to hurry up and put a leash on our madness? Yet I can’t think of anyone else who can do the job. The only reason I can imagine why they haven’t ordered us to shut down our bases in 130 foreign countries and divert money from the military to infrastructure repair and debt service is that our decaying empire serves their purposes for now.

    34. thanks Prof Cole

      Sad to think that at the so called progressive Netroots Nation gathering the Race for Iran was not discussed nor the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Not much different than our MSM sad to say. Asked their crew months ago to set up panels discussing these issues. In fact begged them to contact Prof Cole, Flynt Leverett, Charles Freeman. As closed down as the MSM to these critical issues

      Israel: Strategic Asset or Liability? Former Amabassador Charles Freeman.
      link to seminal.firedoglake.com

      Call your Reps say NO NO NO to House Resolution 1553
      link to seminal.firedoglake.com

    35. House Resolution 1553 Just in time for the fall elections. Demand that Reps pledge allegiance to Israel or the I lobby and the Bill Kristols will attack you the way they attacked Sestak

    36. Good article. While some Republicans vote based on religious extremism, the party itself operates to please its sponsors. Will the Democrats step up support for this resolution to compete with their siblings for the favor of the corporate war machine?

      The need for oil reserves may be what’s accelerating the threats against Venezuela.

      More info, more analysis, please, Juan! Thanks.

    37. None of the comment so far looks at Europe which is home to millions of Islamic people. The mayhem will include France, Germany, Britain, The Netherlands and Russia: all the former colonial giants who took the people of their colonies into their citizenships.

      Giles

      • Giles

        As a Muslim myself, much of us doesnt give a damn abt shiites. To be honest, Iran is the only ‘Muslim’ country which is proven to have bought Israeli Arms & ammunition. Despite all these blah blah about Great Satan, they were the ones who opened air space for US air strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is much more than which meets the eye. You should know when they talk about saudi openig airspace for Israeli strikes, the shortest route to Iran is over Iraq where US controls the airspace and in Kurdistan which shares border with Iran, Israelis are even training their Police force

    38. Frightening scenarios but does anyone really believe that in a situation like this the U.S. wouldn’t use nuclear weapons to resolve matters? You’re talking about the destruction of our country, our allies, and perhaps the world. There’s no in-between in a situation like this. If there are conspirators in America looking to induce Armaggedon, they had better start thinking seriously about the implications of what they propose and get off the jingoistic emotional slide. And trust me, this isn’t just Republicans although the writers single them out. Don’t forget that Democrats in general, and southern Democracts in particular, have always been worse than Republicans for generations when it comes to war, racism and assorted other evils. Clearly, all who aspire to encouraging this tragedy are “traitors” to the larger idea of what most Americans have always tried to stand for, although I’m sure those in cahoots think they are patriots. What weird times we live in and what weird minds are trying to run the show. Maybe “Waterworld” isn’t a fantasy after all. Ditto “Mad Max.” How can you tell the sane from the insane when you’re living in the same looney bin?

    39. The best soldiers GCC can boast of are actually fighting against United States in Afghanistan & Iraq. To be very honest, if any one believes that money spend on arms=Military Strength should take a real look at the state of Emirati Defence forces. They are there only for crowd control so if push comes to shove US defense umbrella is their only resort. Iranian planes may fly for couple of hours. Lack of technological prowess means after that they will start falling down either because of lack of maintenance or shot by bows and arrows. But they only need a small boat and people capable to row to sabotage any oil installation in any GCC country.

    40. If it looks Hitler and sounds like Hitler than maybe it is worth obliterating?
      The problem as with all wars is collateral damage. Maybe drop leaflets first telling those who don’t support the regime to get out.

      The USA should have had a NATIONAL building code after the first oil crisis of the 1970’s. i.e. R46 in attic and R 19 in walls and built on land at least 40 feet elevation above a flood plain or bank of river. A little common sense people! Develop alternative energy and littler cars. Only in USA could SUV be the most fashionable.

    41. 1. Not knowing too much about planning details for operations like: Israel bombing of Iran, I did, however, assume that Mr. Netanyahu’s (PM of Israel) recent visit to DC had little to do with any ‘peace process’, but had a lot to do with planning for strike on Iran.
      2. I have lived here in a Gulf country for nearly a decade. I am American. Only once since I have lived here has a ‘local’ expressed a single ‘political’ thought to me. And that was the day 4+ years back when sabre rattling was going on re: possible US strike on Iran. And an overall very tolerant and polite local man said to me: “If the US / Israel were to strike Iran, even WE would not be able to protect you.” (I took this to mean that many of the locals figured that the US was already engaged in a war against Islam. So a strike against Iran would enrage these normally tolerant folks enough that, though their government might tolerate the strike, the people would not and might well come after folks like me — Americans living in their midst.)
      3. If a strike were planned by Israel, I would assume they need not worry over: Turkey’s air space, but could use (as needed) bases in the Gulf, Oman or Saudi.
      4. My observation from afar is that most in the US have NO CLUE in what peril the US unreserved support of Israel puts the US and its citz. Seems that the US public has been soooo brainwashed for so long, they don’t know what is REALLY going on…. they just believe what CNN or FOX tells them they should believe. And some of the public believes itself to be well informed. A very dangerous situation. And very sad.

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