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Omid Memarian interviews former CIA operative ROBERT BAER
BERKELEY, California, Jan 23 (IPS) - "Obama is going to have continuous pressure from Israel to attack Iran and, in some way, their nuclear facilities, and this is going to be tied up with Gaza and Lebanon," according to Robert Baer, a former top Central Intelligence Agency operative and the author of "The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower."
In an interview with IPS, Baer discussed the regional implications of the Gaza conflict and his take on Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Hamas and Hezbollah, three major groups in the Middle East which have been called terrorist organisations.
Excerpts from the interview follow.
IPS: Some analysts believe that attacking Hamas in Gaza, two years after the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah, is a part of a bigger plan which will end with attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. Is Israel walking this path?
Robert Baer: No. I think that there is a military veto in attacking Iran. It's just not possible.
IPS: Why is that impossible?
RB: Well, for one thing, we know there will be an Iranian reaction in the Gulf. Iran will not be attacked like Hamas and just respond locally. It will respond internationally. It has no choice. This is their deterrence power. In Iran, it is very important to understand a lot of lessons.
If you look on the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] website, you see the lessons they learned from the Iran-Iraq War. These wars are wars of attrition; they go on forever. You just can't win them, especially against the United States. So they have developed secondary asymmetrical warfare ability, guerilla warfare, which is very effective.
You know some of the best minds in Iran went into the Pasdaran [Revolutionary Guards], and they weren't necessarily fanatics. In a sense, they were much more nationalists. And in my experience, these people in the Pasdaran, in the operational level, are probably the most capable, intelligent/guerilla force/political thinkers in the Middle East, including Israel and Jordan. And they knew exactly what they were doing. And they do not clearly fit in to any political definitions in Iran.