posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 08:01 AM
It seems to me that there is a general acceptance on ATS that there is an impending invasion of Iran that is going to take place by the end of this
year. Recently ATS has been awash with statements from Iran and America that claim to prove war in immanent. I do not hold this view, I do think that
at some point Iran will be attacked by the west however I do not think that this is going to happen this anytime soon. In this thread I will set out
why I don’t think Iran is going to be invaded any time soon.
The first stumbling block facing western governments is the legality of any future war in the Middle East is going to be scrutinised and questioned
more than any other war in history due to the controversy of the Iraq war. In the UK there is currently a high profile inquiry into the events and
legality of the second gulf war. Although this is a UK inquiry its findings will no doubt be looked at in other states that went to war with Iraq to
look at the legality of that war. Until the legality of the Iraq war can be established it is highly unlikely that the UK or America would consider a
war with Iran under similar circumstances.
Any potential invasion of Iran by western or NATO forces would also require a resolution from the United Nations Security Council. This is going to be
an even bigger issue than it was leading up to the invasion of Iraq because Iran is strongly allied with Russia and China who will likely veto any
resolution for war.
This alliance between Iran, Russia and China is important because any war between the west and Iran would cause a sharp decline in diplomatic
relations, there are however other reasons why this makes a war less likely. As already pointed out it could make gaining the baking of the UN very
problematic if not impossible but it presents other problems. In 1995 Russia agreed a $800 million contract with Iran to build the Bushehr Nuclear
power plant due to be completed in 2010, through a company called Atomstroiexport of which 50.2 % is owned by the Russian government and 49.8 % by
Gazprom. Iran has also sought nuclear technology and assistance from China, Pakistan and even North Korea. Any pre-emptive strikes targeting Iranian
nuclear facilities could kill many Russians and Chinese as collateral damage. There is another important dimension to relations between these sates
China and Russia are also the main states party to the Shanghai cooperation organisation (SCO), the SCO is a group of mostly Asian states who
cooperate with each other on matters of defence and to a lesser extent economic trading assistance. It’s rather like a cross between an Asian NATO
and EU however Iran is not part of this group, it his however listed as an “observer state”. The only reason it is an observer state and not a
full member is because of current UN sanctions against Iran. It is hard to believe the members of the SCO would defend Iran in any NATO strike, but
they (and other SCO states) could make things rather difficult. For example refusing assistance in any military operations, limiting oil production,
providing aid to Iran and being publicly vocal in condemning any attacks.
One of the things that are brought up often when discussing evidence of an immanent war is the comments made by both the White House and the Iranian
administration. Almost all of these can be ignored. For Iran it is beneficial to use America as a bogie man as this gives the Iranian public and
government a common enemy which the government can use to justify domestic and foreign policy. Showing a tough line on the west also ensures the
government remain popular with their religious population. For the Americans any claims about the Iranian threat need to be looked at case by case.
Most come form neoconservatives who make such comments for purely ideological motives, others make it because it sounds good. Obama dose it because
it keeps him popular, it is designed to show the public that he take the threat seriously, he’s doing something about, and it justifies elements of
his foreign policy (for example all those UN sanctions). Arguably it is mutually beneficial for both states to take a hard line on each other as it
assists them domestically but dose relatively little harm internationally.
A reason often cited as giving justification for any war is that Iran is moving towards developing nuclear weapons. With that in mind then surly DPRK
would make a better target as they really do have nuclear weapons. Current estimates say that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is at best going to
produce a nuclear weapon at some time in 2015 (the ICBM delivery systems will be further off) meaning that a attack could be expected to come before
2015, possibly 2013/4. That however is still 3 or 4 years away, before this it is still possible that Israel might carry out an attack against
Iran’s nuclear facilities. This would not be a first for Israel, In 1981 they destroyed the exodus nuclear plant in Iran and with that, Iran’s
nuclear ambitions, it was not until 1991 that Iran actively sought to reactivate there nuclear ambitions. Israel destroyed the nuclear site at
Al-Kibar in Syria in 2007 showing that they are still prepared to take measures to attack their enemy’s nuclear sites. Therefore I think it is
licklier that Israel might conduct air combat operations against Iran’s nuclear facilities than it is for America or NATO. However any attack by
Israel would only fuel terrorist attacks against Israel and further destabilise the Palestinian territories. There is also a possibility that Iran
adopts a latent nuclear policy similar to Japan were by they have the ability to build a nuclear weapon however don’t actually build a weapon unless
it is needed.
Another major difficulty with any war with Iran is that it will increase terrorism in such a way that Al’Qa’Ida suddenly won’t look so bad. The
removal of the supreme leader will increase the threat from many Shia terrorist groups. Iran, which can effectively dictate the activities of its
international terrorist networks (Hamas, Hezbollah, PIJ and so on), has them on low simmer at this point when it comes to western targets. An attack
against Iran would blow this control valve off, resulting in a terrorist superhighway running from Iran through Iraq into Jordan and Syria right
towards Israel. This network would also unleash itself against allied Arab states in the region and also cause havoc against US forces and NATO allies
in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a risk to big for any world leader to take without a UN resolution, domestic support and further to this having the
means to do so because just now the west does not have the means to attack Iran.
The west does not have the means to attack Iran just now for a number of reasons. The main one is purely economical, current estimates assume the war
in Iraq has cost $3 trillion, any war in Iran could cost more. The simple reality is that the west cannot afford to spend that sort of money, most of
it would probably come from America it would be very hard to justify this to the American public. Another reason this could be difficult is current
operations in Afghanistan were the job is far for complete with 94 000 US troops in the country, and they need more. In addition to this as has
already been stated any war against Iran would be political suicide for the current Obama administration, the public would start drawing comparisons
between Obama and Bush. Interestingly one claim i have seen on ATS is that war in going to commence in the next few months, there is no way Obama
would do this before the midterms.
[edit on 7-8-2010 by kevinunknown]
[edit on 7-8-2010 by kevinunknown]