It’s looking more and more as if Israel, probably with significant help from the US and Britain, is in the midst of a – for now – low intensity war aimed at slowing down Iran’s nuclear program. Evidently running out of patience with years of predictably ineffective diplomatic efforts to slow down the Iranians’ nuke threat, someone seems to have decided to actually do something. And given the existential threats made by the Islamic Republic in recent years, it’s a good bet that someone is Israel. But Iran has about half a million men in uniform carrying those H&K G3s in the photo. Plus another 125,000 or so in the Revolutionary Guard…

Not that anyone’s likely planning an invasion and ground war a la Iraq or Afghanisan. But the stealth efforts appear to have accelerated lately with, er, “accidental” explosions at a couple of military facilities and the news that a US drone was shot down over Iran on Sunday. Oh, and the Brits and Iranians have all but broken off diplomatic relations. The administration doesn’t appear to be terribly concerned about keeping much of a lid on the news, either. From nationaljournal.com:

Asked whether the United States, in cooperation with Israel, was now engaged in a covert war against Iran’s nuclear program that may include the Stuxnet virus, the blowing-up of facilities and the assassination or kidnapping of scientists, one recently retired U.S. official privy to up-to-date intelligence would not deny it.

“It’s safe to say the Israelis are very active,” the official said, adding about U.S. efforts:  “Everything that [GOP presidential candidate] Mitt Romney said we should be doing—tough sanctions, covert action and pressuring the international community  — are all of the things we are actually doing.” Though the activities are classified, a senior Obama administration official also would not deny that such a program was under way. He indicated that the U.S. was not involved in every action, referring to recent alleged explosions at Isfahan and elsewhere. But, he added: “I wouldn’t assume that everything we do is coordinated.”

The Iranians have been reluctant to attribute the flying debris to attacks on its weapons facilities, no doubt because they’re not prepared for the popular outcry for retaliation that would result. But the frequency of military installations unexpectedly going boom is making hiding what’s going on more difficult. As miamiherald.com reports:

The second such (explosion) in as many weeks cast doubt on Iranian claims that these were “accidents” and “coincidences,” and it set off speculation of a coordinated attack by Israel, whose officials long have threatened a strike against Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli officials denied direct involvement, but the growing number of mysterious or unexplained blasts and deaths has many suspecting an official program of sabotage.

These, experts note, are only the most recent cases; a half-dozen other mysterious explosions and accidental deaths have been reported over the last two years. They include an October 2010 explosion at a military base housing Shahab-3 missiles near the city of Khorramabad and the July 2011 assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezaei in Tehran.

A nuclear capable Iran won’t be good for anyone. Not even Iran, though it may be difficult convincing the theocrats running the joint of that. And there are plenty of other Middle Eastern countries who are just as anxious as the Israelis to see their nuke program delayed or demolished.

But if the first casualty of war is the truth, the second is usually the plan. Wars, no matter how justified or well-planned have a nasty way of getting away from you as soon as the first bullets (or missles) start to fly and the bunker-busters begin to drop.

56 Responses to What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Are We At War With Iran?

  1. Debka–a site well-connected to the IDF and Mossad-reports this:

    …the Iranians were able to control the drone from a distance (over Afghanistan) and guide it across the border to land to Iran, say debkafile’s military sources….possession of the drone is more than just a major intelligence coup for Tehran; it has acquired an important military edge before any overt military operation has been launched. Western and Israeli war planners now have cause to fear that Iran has penetrated the heart of their most secret intelligence and electronic technological hardware for striking its nuclear infrastructure.”
    (snip)

    Having been reading Debka since before Iraq II, I can testify that it is fairly accurate.
    http://www.debka.com/article/21545/

    And then there’s this: I live in a North American city with a significant Iranian immigrant population. An Iranian friend of mine–as far from Islamicist as one can get–recently acquired a mortgage broker’s license. So many well-to-do Iranians are fleeing the country–or at least getting their families out–that the condo market is booming here. The wealthy Iranians have their $$$ blocked for a while, so they need mortgages to purchase condos. What does this tell you?

    • Having read Debka since the Iraq War, I can testify that they tend to exaggerate, and in my judgment, are willing to post wild rumors that will drive people to their site, particularly about Middle East-related events. (I recall one incident in particular during the 2003 Iraq Campaign, when they breathlessly reported that chemical weapons were being unleashed by Saddam Hussein against the U.S. Army, citing their usual ‘intelligence sources’.)

  2. Good god, another pointless war? If we’re going to be idiotic enough to get involved in this, just burn the friggin country to the ground and be done with it. No more of this crap of wasting a decade screwing around and further bankrupting the country.

    • The vast majority of Iranians are not militant, from what I have read and what I have been told by my Iranian friends. They are not thrilled with their leaders, but they keep their heads down and stay out of trouble, just as they did under the Shah. The idea that we should “burn the frigging country” might seem like a satisfying response, but it would kill tens of millions of people who are pretty darn sympathetic with the West. Iranians, since they are Persians, see themselves as very different from their Arab neighbors, and historically, they are far more internationally connected than the Arab world.In our online community, we talk about the need for arms when we are in situations and areas that are less than safe. Looking at it from the Iranian point of view, they are essentially surrounded by forces hostile to them, so they, like us, want to have sufficient weaponry to compete in the neighborhood. Since Isreal has nukes, the Iranians want nukes to feel safer. Is this good? NO. Is it rational? From their perspective, yes.Personally, I think we have far more to worry about from Pakistan’s nukes than from future Iranian weapons, for they have lots of them all ready, and their military has shown a willingness to turn a blind eye to terrorists.

      • There’s a slight problem with that. Pakistan’s justification for nukes was that India, their greatest threat had nukes. This was justified since they had recently been in large scale war with India & the prospect of being burned off the face of the earth by Indians in the next war was plausible in Pakistani minds, so they had to level the playing field.

        The Iranian governments justification for nukes doesn’t have nearly as sound a base as that of the Pakistani’s. Israel & Iran have never officially fought each other. Iran supports anti Israeli proxies & may have contributed to expeditionary forces in previous large scale wars but it never went toe to toe with Israel. Israel really isn’t much of a threat to any of its neighbors as long as they leave it alone. Israel generally speaking retaliates to the hostile actions of others, don’t push Israel & it won’t push you. Israel hasn’t been pushing Iran. Iran’s been building force over the decades & knows it cant be a super power if it doesn’t have nukes. It’s stance with the rest of the world (except those it does business with) has become more & more aggressive (partially because of criticism for it’s actions), it’s got ties all over the globe, it’s ever strengthening its proxies, it’s beefing up it’s offensive capabilities & flexing it’s muscle. History shows that nations who love to show off their power & IDGAF attitude aren’t nations who are interested in their populations safety.

  3. if anything, i’d say stay out of a large scale ground war. This is where the Iranians might have more capability. Up in the air however, is a different story.

    • If the long-running Iran-Iraq war taught us anything, it’s that Iran cannot fight any better than Iraq. If Israel want to blow up Iran, the only thing the US should do is reserve a good seat on the sidelines.

      • Iran might have a more effective military force at this point in time. USA would defeat them in a conventional war but the irregular actions would be rough.

  4. I know several Iranians who escaped that fun house and they are all for high altitude bombing. They tell me it’s the only way. Will innocents suffer? Yes but the populace is also preparing for this best they can. These people are nuts. The reason Iraq has been a problem for so long is Iran, it’s plain to see how they fought a proxy war these past 8 years with us. Let’s settle this once and for all and remove a tumor from the region.

    My neighbors FIL worked at the only refinery in Iran for 30 years. He retired and fled. I wish I spoke Farsi, I’d love to hear about his journey out.

    • I know several Americans who escaped that fun house and they are all for high altitude bombing. They tell me it’s the only way. Will innocents suffer? Yes but the populace is also preparing for this best they can. These people are nuts. The reason America has been a problem for so long is the people, it’s plain to see how they fought a proxy war these past 235 years with the rest of the world. Let’s settle this once and for all and remove a tumor from the region.

      Fixed.

      • Since I didn’t see you at the table when I had the discussions it’s safe to say that once again you don’t know jack about Iran.
        Try and make some friends with Iranians, matt, you might learn something.

        • Since I didn’t see you at the table when they had the national debate on this issue, it’s safe to say that once again you don’t know jack about Iran.
          Try and make some friends with people outside your ideology, GS650G, you might learn that you can never achieve an consensus about any political issue.

          Fixed.

  5. “But Iran has about half a million men in uniform carrying those home-made AIG S-5.56 M-16 knockoffs in the photo.”
    Your picture shows H&K G3 style weapons.

    “And there are plenty of other Middle Eastern countries who are just as anxious as the Israelis to see their nuke program delayed or demolished.” Your link shows there is only 1 other country, Saudi Arabia. Plenty implies more than 1. In addition the article says
    “The cables also highlight Israel’s anxiety to preserve its regional nuclear monopoly”
    Which ignores India and Pakistan.

    • Yep, those are G3s. Text amended.

      As for the other countries, you need to read the whole article:

      • Officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran’s nuclear programme to be stopped by any means, including military.

      • Leaders in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran as “evil”, an “existential threat” and a power that “is going to take us to war”.

      Of course, it’s hard to know where Egypt stands these days.

      • Yep, I just glanced thru the article. Thanks for the correction. Egypt is #2 behind Israel for foreign aid in the region. So unless anything has changed under their current military dictatorship and on going revolution, I would assume they would support the US, at least covertly if they want the aid to continue.

        Isnt it funny how no on remembers that North Korea is a nuclear power, they have positive relations with Iran and hostile relations with Israel. I wonder if they would give Iran a nuke just to piss off the US and Israel.

  6. I’m don’t know that *successfully* developing nuclear weapons would be a net negative for Iran. Nukes get you a seat at the big boy’s table. Countries without nukes piss off the big boys, they get invaded and overthrown (see Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya). Countries with nukes, don’t (see Pakistan).

    Now, Israel has a vested interest in keeping this from happening, so it may turn into an all-out war before they can get there. But if they get even one nuke built and pointed at Israel, there’s no way Israel keeps openly intimidating them like this.

  7. I’m going to have to say that Iran with nukes is bad right now, its bad not because Iran is some evil country or the like its bad because of whats not getting a significant amount of coverage in the news. there seems to be a internal battle over leadership in Iran between the Ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad along with other elected leaders. Iran getting nukes now is not a good thing because it means that what is a back room argument and power struggle in Iran could turn into a full on civil war if control over nukes became a part of the equation.

  8. “But if the first casualty of war is the truth, the second is usually the plan”.
    — There is truth and wisdom in that statement.

    While America and the West are involved to various degrees and ways in a covert war against Iran, Israel is probably the major player or leader. Yet, we obviously do not have the full story. Arab neighbors, fearful of Iran, may also be subtly proving intelligence, geographic, and human contacts and resources to aid the operations against Iran. There might even be a small internal Iranian resistance movement working against the government that are doing things such as planting bombs and assassinating scientists.

  9. While the Russian Federation and Iran do not share a land border the two countries are in close physical proximity. An interesting Nuclear Road is forming in Asia running from Iran (soon), Pakistan, India, China, and into North Korea which has a habit of lobbying test missiles into the Sea of Japan.

  10. “A nuclear capable Iran won’t be good for anyone. Not even Iran, though it may be difficult convincing the theocrats running the joint…”

    Nuclear weapons are a huge bargaining chip. The only weapons that work best when not used. Iran can trade with folks outside the US-israel axis. China, Russia, and the neokwan “Axis of Evil” come to mind.

    An armed society is a polite society. Wouldn’t that apply to the global society as well? A level playing field in the Middle East would be a good thing.

  11. I see the usual alliance of neo-Libertarian isolationists and our own personal 9-11 conspiracy theorist Matt are out in force on this thread.

    The Obama administration is not going to do anything about Iran. For the past three years both Israel and Saudi Arabia have been putting pressure on the US to do something about the Iranian nuclear weapons program to the point where reliable sources have reported that both countries have shelved their differences over Israel’s continued existence and have engaged in sub rosa cooperation for planning attacks on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

    President Obama came into office with the false assumption that forcing Israel to commit suicide would help contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. After they came up empty on that one some bright staffer on the NSS decided that the key to stopping Iran was dragging Israel to the negotiating table with the reforming Ophthalmologist Bashir Assad’s Syria and get Israel to commit suicide in the hopes that they could break up the Iran-Syrian-Hezbollah axis. After that failed attempt they have now glommed on to the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood as the new negotiating partner for the Israeli suicide pact. Lest you think that I am just dispensing “Zionist” propaganda the Obama administration has not only thrown Israel to the wolves but the Egyptian Coptic Christian community, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the Gulf States as well.

    Obama has fallen under the influence of the salafist President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who thinks he is the process of resurrecting the Ottoman Empire. Like all aspiring Middle East tyrants Erdoğan is using the “Palestinian cause” to get his regional bona fides. I assure you he believes the Palestinian Arabs are just an expendable resource on the way to a new Ottoman supremacy. The joke is on him because when Shia Iran gets the bomb his dreams of Ottoman glory vanish in a flash. He has abandoned the alliance with Israel at the exact moment that it is most beneficial to him.

    Will the US get involved in a war with Iran? No, the Obama administration has switched sides and is now aligned with mainstream Sunni extremism. As in the past, Israel will take care of its own problems but you (plural) won’t like the result. When they go, they will go big and launch, with covert Saudi support, a nuclear strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. So all of you who hope for peace in the Middle East and all of you who hope for another holocaust get ready for a rough ride in the next couple years

    • lol, conspiracy theorist is the best you can come up with for me? Not that I deny it, conspiracy theories tend to be more plausible than coincidence theories to me, but you might want to read your own post before calling the kettle black. If your going to call me a ist, anarchist would be more appropriate, I rarely talk about 9-11 here.

      Just wondering but what you mean by Israel committing suicide? Going to peace negotiations is suicide? It sounds like you would prefer Israel be in a constant state of war until it takes over the entire ME. And yes you do sound like a Zionist.

      • I see that you have been consulting your copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion again.

        The Muslim Brotherhood is on record calling for the extermination of the Jews. The Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel. They have marked Egypt’s Coptic Christians for elimination as well. Just so you know the Copts are as anti-Semitic as any MB member and it goes back a lot farther than the 1920s when the Adolph Hitler inspired Muslim Brotherhood was formed.

        Both Assad senior and junior are on record calling for the annihilation of the Jews. They also don’t recognize the existence of Lebanon, Jordan or Palestine. It’s all greater Syria to them.

        Iran is run by Holocaust deniers.

        Your ignorance is legion.

        • Do you care to answer my questions about what you meant by Israel commit suicide, or do you prefer just to go on a Zionist tangent?

        • You can always tell a hater because he focuses on the thing he hates. Did you notice that my comment encompassed all the parties in the Middle East. Muslim, Jew and Christian; Sunni, Shia and Wahabi; Arab, Ottoman and Persian?

          The Middle East is a complex place of shifting alliances and causes. Only in the West is about Jews and Arabs. And in the West it comes down to Antisemitism. If you knew anything about the region (and you clearly don’t) then you would know that the so-called Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the least important of the regional rivalries.

          Get a clue. The so-called Palestinian cause is nothing more than a lever for regional tyrants seeking to pull to gain advantage over their regional and religious rivals.

          For your edification I am German (Missouri Synod) Lutheran not a Zionist. So what do you think of the Protocols. Good stuff eh?

        • you would know that the so-called Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the least important of the regional rivalries. Get a clue. The so-called Palestinian cause is nothing more than a lever for regional tyrants seeking to pull to gain advantage over their regional and religious rivals.

          I would agree with that statement.

        • Do you care to answer my questions about what you meant by Israel commit suicide, or do you prefer just to go on a Zionist tangent ?

        • I am tempted to openly insult you but that would be disrespectful to Robert.

          The Iranians want to exterminate the Jews. The Syrians want to exterminate the Jews. The Palestinians want to exterminate the Jews and the Muslim Brotherhood wants to exterminate the Jews. Saudi Arabia wants to use Israel to destroy Iran before they exterminate the Jews. How do I know this? Well the Iranians, Syrians, Palestinians, Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudis all say so. Since nobody wants to make peace the Jews what exactly is Israel negotiating for? I will leave that as exercise for your fevered imagination.

          I note that you paid no attention to the other elements of my posts that described all the factions in the Region. You are fixated on Jews because you are an anti-Semite. There is no other explanation for the views you have expressed here.

        • Will someone call a whambulance?

          Do you care to answer my questions about what you meant by Israel commit suicide, or do you prefer just to go on a Zionist tangent ?

        • I answered your question (fill in the insult of your choice). Now go and find the connection between the Mossad and 9-11.

        • No you didnt, all you said was “wah wah wah anti-semite wah wah wah everyone is out to get the jews wha wha wha anti-semite if you dont support israel”.

          Do you care to answer my questions about what you meant by Israel commiting suicide, or do you prefer just to go on a Zionist tangent ?

  12. “We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” –Lyndon Johnson, Oct. 1964

    I like the idea of letting Israel do the heavy lifting and Saudi paying the bills. Perhaps we can act as General Contractor?

    • Works for me. The USA is deep in debt and the military personnel and equipment are well worn. I suppose we could fight Iran, but it would stretch our resources in a long protracted asymetrical war. I still think the Iranians could screw up the Gulf to at least curtail the flow of oil in that region. Price of oil would go up. I still think Iran is an instigator and is just prodding on the Sunni Muslims. I think Iran really would not a real war as they are too smart for that.

  13. I guess we’ll wait for them to set off a dirty bomb and then we can finish them off for good. There’s no way to avoid a war with these fools, so we should just bomb them into the twilight zone.

  14. I wouldn’t worry too much about those guys in the picture with the rifles. I spent a fair amount of time in the US military, and as a trained observer I can tell that these guys aren’t an effective fighting force.

    For starters, they have no diversity. As a veteran of countless Equal Opportunity and Consideration of Others (CO2) briefings, I have direct knowledge about the key to the strength of the American military, and the key to our strength is diversity. If anyone wants to dispute me on this, I still have the actual training handouts from my last briefing. These guys all appear to be of the same race, the same sex, probably all basically the same religion, and as the Iranian president told the UN in New York in 2007, they don’t even have any gays in Iran, so how strong could they possibly be?

    Another thing I learned in the military is that shaving is key to the American Soldier’s effectiveness. I see those 5 o’clock shadows on those guys’ faces, and I’m not scared. How is some Iranian going to have the discipline to stand up to our boys when he can’t even summon up the discipline to drag a razor over his face once or twice a day?

    Third, US Soldiers don’t wear sunglasses when on parade. It looks just a little “too cool”, and I was never permitted to wear them in formation or when working on a gate controlling access to a base. Between their stubbly faces and those stunner shades, these guys look like cast offs from the set of Miami Vice. We’d fold them up and roll them off within a week.

    I’d really be curious to see the state of their barracks floors. I’d be willing to bet that their floors aren’t even remotely shiny. Paper tigers is all they are.

  15. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Israel suffers a nuclear attack from Iran or any of it’s proxies that Medina and Mecca will be on the targeting list for payback.

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