T Nation

Iran: If Not Now, When?


So, shit's starting to hit the fan with Iran. Does anybody else think if a Republican gets elected, that something will go down with Iran? Judging from the info I've gathered from the foreign policy debate and Obama's lack of initiative in regards to this situation, it's going to happen sooner or later.

The spy plane ordeal and their nuclear program doesn't help either.



"Lack of Intiative"?

Rest assured that Iran is a top priority for the Administration (as it would be for any Administration).

Candidates are essentially private citizens who can sprout off any problem they want and give it a quick and easy solution...(and yes; as a candidate, the President did the same thing).

A sitting President simply doesn't have that luxury.



I was wondering about that too. It's easy to talk, but what solutions are worth the price?

Huntsman said the other day something akin to "There is a day coming in the next 3-5 years where Israel will say, 'Do you have our backs' and the American President and people will have to be ready to answer" (not a perfect quotation). I think this is what is coming. I do, however, welcome anyone who has any serious alternatives in mind.


The 'state' of Iran will not launch a nuclear weapon. Why would they, when 200 Israeli and 13,000 American ones by proxy would launch in retaliation. We have seen however how North Korea has been left almost to its own devices with a nuclear weapon. The Iranian government (not the people who by large are very nice and far more tolerant than many other predominantly muslim states) are many things but not stupid.

What the main concern would be an Iranian proxy, or a terrorist organisation infiltrating the program and stealing nuclear weapons, with catastrophic consequences. Yet this seems far more likely in Pakistan, a state openly descending into anarchy much more quickly than Iran.

The other concern is that a nuclear-armed Iran will trigger a nuclear arms race. Definitely the Saudis (who are far more belligerent than the Israelis) and possibly the Egyptians and Turks will start developing their own nuclear arms, possibly with covert help from us. The consequences of that are ultimately frightening.

Sanctions? Will only drive the Iranian people to the mullahs.
A ground invasion? Even though the attack of Iraq was mostly successful, the insurgency took its toll on well-armed, well-trained coalition forces. Collaboration like the British tried only resulted in growing religious fantacism. There is not the religious divide of Sunnis/Shiites/Kurds that there is in Iraq but the Iranian border with Pakistan would be porous and the troops better trained, possibly with Russian and Chinese military hardware. It would be a brutal battle. Not to mention the wrecking effect bombing the Straits of Hormuz and Saudi oil platforms would have on the oil market (a third of the international supply immediately out of action, you're looking at $12 a gallon easily.)

I cannot see a military solution that is not catastrophic. Yet I doubt the ability of sanctions as well. I'm going away to have a further think.


'State?' Have you had a look at their constitution? Khamenei has dictatorial power - even over the Guardian Council - Ahmadinejad is the face of the 'government' - hard to tell if he's more batshit than the Mullahs. That someone could attribute reasonable patterns of behaviour to a bloody group of tyrants - a large core of whom subscribe to Twelver Imamism - is beyond me.

Ah, you see those retaliatory strikes won't happen because the Mahdi is going to come out the well with the batshit and so forth.

Yes, more batshit in North Korea.

With the Mahdi in the well and the batshit I told you!

There are Kurds fighting a Kurdish separatist insurgency.

Baluchistan is a huge area the part you are talking about is Makran - or in ancient times Gedrosa. A fella named Al had some trouble there a long time ago. The Baluch are traditionally nomadic herders, raiders and smugglers - their language of Persian origin. Many of the Baluch in the ethnic border areas speak Pashto - however the distinction really lies on allegiance to Baluci Khans or Pashto tribal chiefs.

Just taking a guess from where I'm looking but I'd say the Israelis are doing well - mysterious explosions in Iranian missile facilities, computer viruses, Iranian nuclear scientists feeling poorly and so forth. And that the Americans are doing not so well - with the dozen CIA assets captured in Lebanon and Iran recently and the downed drone.


I've said this before; the Chinese are pretty pragmatic, and don't get themselves (for the most part) mired in a lot of ideology (over what is "best" for China).

Most analyst that I've read seem to suggest that they are keeping Kim Jong-il on a very short leash.

(Maybe the are keeping him supplied with plenty of American Porn?)



The Israelis aren't conducting military action. They're being diplomatic.


Wow, this turned into a pretty good thread considering where it started.


Any reason you think it is Israelis who are successful and Americans who aren't? I don't know much about the clandestine wars going on, but my guess was joint operations or at least a lot of info sharing. Maybe just 'cuz I'm an American, but I assumed it was the Americans who had done the computer viruses. I'd guess we can never really know though.

Yeah, I can't think of any "good" options. It's a horrible position with some serious nutcases in positions of power. I'm not sure that rational self-preservation will prevent a weapon going off...and that's why I'm afraid a catastrophic option might need to be taken soon.

Interesting point about China/NK...BUT... I don't think we can rely on China to keep them in check. If a time comes where they think it is more in their interests to let go of that leash...


I personally would be much much more worried about Pakistan, considering the geopolitical dog's dinner that could arise from the current circumstances.


Yes that's it; diplomacy. Only way to get an hotel room in Dubai these days.


Agree, Gambit.

And you are absolutely right, Bambi. GOING INTO 2012; Pakistan is MUCH more of a real and credible threat to not just the U.S., but to Worldwide security and stability.



Lol'd in real life congratulations.


Just going on the media reports I come across. Really don't know what's going on - none of us will for some time.

The Iranian leadership are more batshit than the Pakistani nationalists in the Army and ISI but they don't have nuclear weapons and their missile technology is not as advanced. The Iranians are also pursuing a very aggressive regional foreign policy against their neighbours. And they were up to their armpits in the civil war in Afghanistan backing the Hazaris in the 90's so they are key players in Central Asia not just the Middle East. They are backed by the Russians too. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.


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I think Iran is FAR from being a negligible threat, Push.

It's just that Pakistan appears to be...and I say this with caution...a more "Clear and Present" one.



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Iran needs to be dealt with urgently. Pakistan IS being dealt with...apparently...in a kind of funny way that only makes sense when you forget about 'mutually assured destruction' and start thinking about what it's like to play 'chicken' with some lunatics who have nuclear missiles...if you see what I mean.


No one is denying Iran is a threat, or that it shouldn't be opposed. However Pakistan actually has developed and possesses nuclear weapons, there are substantial elements within the government, military and ISI that are rogue and acting in fundamentalist's interests, North-West Pakistan is effectively bandit country, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities means even government members who speak out are assassinated and the country is constantly vying with India in ways that have almost spilled out into outright warfare in the last 10 years. Pakistan is increasingly outraged over what it sees as US incursions into its soil.

Basically the whole region is a tinderbox. But I believe Pakistan is the more immediate danger.


The problem with Pakistan is that we don't know what their diplomatic intentions are. They're all over the place. One day they're our allies and the next day they aren't.



I hear what you are saying Push, both need to be dealt with. But, for me, the difference is having nukes (that may be at risk) versus about to have nukes. Both countries have elements within them that support terror, just one seems to be on the verge with nukes that could go up in the air (and land in AQ's hands).

That said, in terms of proliferation, I think Iran is the greater threat.