posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 01:50 PM
by Philip Giraldi
Back in September 2007 I wrote an article for Antiwar.com called “What World War III May Look Like.” The article, which presumed that an incident
involving U.S. troops on the border between Iraq and Iran could easily escalate into what would eventually become a global conflict, was widely
replayed in the alternative media and even in the mainstream. Well, I am pleased to report that no such war has yet started, though there has been a
disturbing expansion of U.S. military activity through the deployment of drones to hit targets in assorted countries without having to worry about
American casualties or niceties like declarations of war. Other geopolitical elements that figured in my 2007 analysis have also changed, so I believe
that the time has come for an update.
Iran is clearly the target of choice, just as it was in 2007. Despite President Barack Obama’s assertion that he would open up avenues to talk to
the Iranians, he has failed to do so, he has rejected Iranian initiatives to start a dialogue, and he is showing every sign of unwillingness to
negotiate on any level. Congress has even moved to block any contact between American and Iranian diplomats. The sanctions that recently took effect
against the Iranian banking system can be construed as an act of war, particularly as Iran has not provided any casus belli. Further sanctions that
will restrict energy imports are impending and will bring the country’s economy to a halt. There are already signs that the Iranian government feels
itself compelled to demonstrate to its people that it is doing something about the situation. That “something”might well be a confrontation with
the U.S. Navy that will have unfortunate results. In light of all that, it might be useful to imagine just how war with Iran could play out if the
Iranians don’t roll over and surrender at the first whiff of grapeshot.
It might start with a minor incident, possibly involving an Iranian armed small craft manned by the Revolutionary Guard. Though the Strait of Hormuz
is generally considered an international waterway, the Iranians claim that half of the strait is within their territorial waters. Tehran, in response
to intensified sanctions, declares that it can determine who can use the strait and says that it will take steps to keep American warships from
entering. The frigate USS Ingraham, patrolling off of Bushehr, is confronted by the small craft and ordered to heave to, an order it rejects. The
Iranian commander, ignoring instructions to back off when confronted directly by the U.S. Navy, opens fire with rocket-propelled grenades. The
frigate’s Phalanx rapid-fire battery immediately responds by blasting the Iranian boat, killing the entire Revolutionary Guard crew, but two
American sailors are also killed in the exchange and four are wounded.
Fighters from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis are immediately launched under standing orders, and they devastate the naval base that the
Iranian boat departed from. President Obama holds a press conference and calls the incident an act of war and vows to do everything necessary to
support U.S. forces in the region, but he stops short of a commitment to stage a full-scale attack on Iran. A hastily called meeting of the U.N.
Security Council results in a 17–1 vote urging the United States to exercise restraint, with only Washington voting “no.” In the General
Assembly, only the United States, Israel, Micronesia, and Costa Rica support possible military action.
The United States is effectively alone, but Israel takes advantage of the growing war fervor in the United States to launch an attack against Iranian
nuclear facilities. The recently completed nuclear reactor at Bushehr is destroyed, killing 13 Russian technicians working on the site, and the
aboveground buildings at the Natanz nuclear research facility are leveled. Russian-supplied Iranian air defenses shoot down six Israeli aircraft.
Washington receives no prior warning of the Israeli attack, though it does pick up the signal traffic that precedes it and knows something is coming.
It makes no effort to stop the Israelis as they fly over undefended Iraqi airspace.
Congress and the media rally behind the Israelis and demand war. A bill in the House of Representatives calling on the White House to take military
action in support of Israel passes 431–4. A similar bill in the Senate receives only two nays. President Obama hesitates but then approves a limited
offensive, directed against Iran’s military, its nuclear sites, and, most particularly, its Revolutionary Guard installations. In the first few
days, overwhelming American air and naval superiority destroys Iran’s principal air, naval, and army bases. Iranian Revolutionary Guard facilities
are obliterated, as are the known Iranian nuclear research and development sites. The limited offensive soon becomes anything but that, with strategic
bombers dropping 30,000-pound Big BLU bunker-buster bombs to strike underground labs and processing centers. Population centers are avoided, though
smart weapons are used to destroy communications centers and command and control facilities. There are nevertheless large numbers of civilian
casualties as many of the targeted nuclear sites are close to or within cities and large towns. Infrastructure is also hit, particularly bridges,
roads, and power-generation stations close to known nuclear research centers and military sites.
There is a pause in the attacks, and Iran strikes back. With nearly 10 years to prepare, Tehran has successfully hidden and hardened many of its
military and nuclear facilities, a large percentage of which are undamaged. The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis operating in the Gulf of Oman is
hit by a lucky strike by a Chinese Silkworm cruise missile that comes in low and successfully evades countermeasures. The Stennis retires to port in
Bahrain. Three other support vessels are also hit and severely damaged when they are attacked by waves of small craft manned by suicidal Revolutionary
Guards, not unlike the kamikaze attacks in the Second World War. The Iranian attackers are annihilated, but the Pentagon refuses to say how many
American sailors have been killed in the exchange.
Pro-Iranian riots break out in Beirut. In the south of Lebanon, Hezbollah fires salvos of rockets into Israel, striking Tel Aviv and killing several
hundred Israelis. Israel responds by bombing Lebanon and Syria, which it blames for supporting the attacks. Upgraded Iranian Shahab-3 missiles also
strike Israel, killing more civilians. The Israeli Defense Forces are fully mobilized, and troops are sent to the northern border. Syria and Lebanon
also mobilize their forces. Rioters in Baghdad attack the American embassy, which demands that the Iraqi government“do something” to protect it,
but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shrugs and says that the situation is out of his control. Large public demonstrations demand that Iraq support Iran
in a fraternal struggle against the United States.