- The challenge posed by Iran in the Middle East is far different than Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Submitted by Steve Brown…
It was the duplicity of the former United States that caused it to withdraw from the JCPOA agreement — not any violation of that agreement by Iran. And it is the United States that provoked Iran to the verge of war. It is the United States Treasury too, that presses crippling economic sanctions on Iran – not the other way around.
Indeed, the United States has been on a collision course with Iran since 1979… forty years in the making. Yet despite having forty years to get it right, in typical fashion, the bumbling actions of the current Trump regime prove that America never had any cogent Iran Policy at all.
This time, there is no “coalition of the willing” to posture and pretend that the US has many and varied allies engaged in some just cause to rid the world of evil, as it proclaimed in 1994 versus North Korea, and 2003 versus Iraq. Apparently, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and Solomon Islands have no real grievance versus Iran right now.
In Iraq’s case, the first and second gulf war said much more about US strategic asset Saddam Hussein and his unworthiness as an opponent, than it did about US military prowess.
And subsequent to Saddam’s demise, the asymmetrical fiasco in Iraq even caused Donald Trump to publicly mouth innocuous vote-getting statements about that pointless adventure, noting that the US military’s pointless provocation in Iraq has actually empowered Iran in Iraq . (More on that later.)
Today, the challenge posed by Iran in the Middle East is far different than Saddam Hussein’s; even though like Saddam, Iran does not pose any real existential ‘threat’ to the USA. The true threat is that a rogue superpower with a military on steroids may yet again plunge the Middle East into a full-scale nefarious war, for no reason at all.
Evidently however, Trump has only stumbled his way into the role of host body for the Neocons, since just ten minutes prior to pulling the trigger to consummate the Neocon’s wet dream for war with Iran, Trump had … er, well … other ideas.
And despite the farcical nature of the foregoing – which the major media and US public apparently swallowed whole – it is worth considering that Trump’s reversal was the result of something more than whim, more than incompetence, or indecision, or dereliction of duty …. or even as a setup for an election campaign stunt.
As Conan Doyle wrote, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” We know that Trump’s sudden change of heart based on “proportionality” of retaliation, is an impossibility. The idea that he would stay his hand over one hundred dead in the attack – if that may be believed – is an impossibility. That the stunt was engineered as a campaign gimmick for his base is an impossibility too, even if Trump leveraged the event later on to his favour, in that regard.
For Israel or Saudi to have engineered the showdown is impossible as well, since all sides agree that Iran shot down the US RQ-4 with a Raad v3 missile. (First time ever reported downing of an RQ-4 by hostile fire. -ed)
So, what’s left to say about the stay on the US strike on Iran? Oil prices? No. The US fracking industry benefits mightily from higher oil prices. A war-inspired market crash? Nonsense, Wall Street profits from new wars, and the DJIA is at an all-time high, despite any bad geopolitical news reported by the media to date.
Likewise impossible is the notion that a Defense Intelligence Agency report on Blowback from the attack would ‘suddenly appear’ before the US president to scupper things at the last moment. US intelligence has known for years that Iran has capable allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, and has typically ignored those capabilities. Hence the bloody nose Israel received in its 2006 Lebanon war versus Hezbollah.
And even if the DIA did consider Iran’s proxies to be a threat to the US and Israel in the prosecution of their new war (and thus stop the US attack) that certainly would have become an issue long before “planes were in the air” to strike Iran.
So, what is left to truly consider? What’s left is US isolation in the world, especially in the Middle East. Because the US can only engage in a major new war versus Iran via a suitable logistical base in the region – a base that it does not have. A carrier or two present in the Gulf of Oman just won’t cut it. That the US will need a nation-state or large defendable region where a base can be established, to host its new military adventure, is a surety.
For the 2003 US Iraq invasion, that “large defendable region” was provided to the US military by the Kurdish Peshmerga in Northern Iraq , while the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan was initially staged from a base in Pakistan.
Iran Strike Strategic map
Most likely candidate here would be to stage US air strikes on Iran from Bagram air base. But at this time Afghanistan seeks closer ties with Iran on trade; for example, to trade with India via Iran’s Chabahar port.
And while the US could stage air strikes from Bagram, to launch a ground attack from this region would be a virtual impossibility. That is, due to mountainous terrain and firmly entrenched and well-armed IRGC mountain troops, neighboring.
Furthermore, it is exceedingly likely that Dostum/Ghani would forbid any attack by the US on Iran from Afghanistan, that would result in a major new war. And note that Dostum is pushing for the removal of US troops from Afghanistan, including its air bases.
As a matter of conjecture, it is likely that the US presented Dostum / Ghani with an enticing “deal” to host US forces for staging their new war on Iran. And while initially accepting Trump’s deal, it is thought that with such high stakes for Afghanistan it would have ultimately been rejected. (An interesting bit of propaganda along these lines appears here.)
There is noise too from Trump about withdrawing from Afghanistan, but that eventuality is highly unlikely.
The “Hermit Kingdom” proves even more problematic for the US than Afghanistan, for attacking Iran. There is little infrastructure, no existing US air base, only a “secret base” proposed by various alt media sources. While such a base could be used for US harassment vs Iran, to initially stage a new US war versus Iran from Turkmenistan is exceedingly unlikely. Especially so, since Turkmenistan (a former Soviet republic) has very close relations with China, and China has already warned the US to refrain from attacking Iran.
Imran Khan has sought close ties to Iran, and agreed to mutual border protection.
US State is so concerned with Khan and his shifting alliance to Iran and China, the department recently released a counter to allegations re deteriorating US – Pak relations.
Based on its history and current leadership, Pakistan will not allow the United States to use Pakistan as a base for a ground war versus Iran.
United Arab Emirates
The US RQ-4 shot down by Iran on June 19th was launched from the UAE via a US military base there. This base is alleged to be devoted to US action versus ISIL, but is thought to be a major US base for reconnaissance on Iran.
The UAE is hostile to Iran, but has no land bridge with Iran, being directly across the Strait of Hormuz. Its location on the strait would certainly close the Strait in a full blown US war, for which the UAE would be blamed as an accomplice. The UAE has trade relations with Arab states too, that prevent it from being used as initial staging for a US war of aggression versus Iran.
It may be reasonably conjectured that the UAE agreed to allow US harassment strikes on Iran from its airfield there, but then withdrew that agreement abruptly.
Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US only for financial reasons, and a sworn enemy of Iran. Recently Saudi Arabia turned to China in an attempt to broaden trade and diversify its economy. Saudi Arabia must look to the future despite its cold war with Iran, and maintain reasonable relations with other Arab states.
Besides having no land mass directly adjacent to Iran, and based on its history, for Saudi Arabia to host US troops undertaking a war of aggression versus Iran, is a virtual impossibility at this time.
Iraq has a significant history with the US military and has lost many thousands of its people to war and sanctions imposed on it by the United States. Even though the US has a significant presence in Iraq and many US bases still present there, the Iraqi government has on numerous occasions expressed its desire that the US’s 5,200 troops leave the country.
Recently, the call for US troops to leave Iraq has become more vocal and pronounced. Analyst consensus is of course that the US continues to occupy Iraq as a means to counter Iran’s influence in the country and elsewhere.
Iraq has a strong majority who now favour Iran, for trade and cultural reasons. Iraq has significant trade with Iran, and Iran leverages that trade in oil and electricity, to evade punishing US sanctions.
Many militias operate in Iraq, supportive of Iran, and anti-US. These militias are well-armed and battle-tested, and that the US would stage a war versus Iran from Iraq would be quite alarming to the populace generally, resulting in serious retaliation in Iraq, versus US forces.
So, while the US still has a significant presence in Iraq, a US attack and war on Iran based in Iraq would likely result in serious and immediate setbacks for the US.
Syria has no land border with Iran. In spite of Syrian objections, the US does host air bases to protect the terrorist region of al Tanf, and in Manbij. US harassment raids on Iran could be launched from these bases, but a ground war could not be launched.
The United States has isolated itself in its war on Iran. No other nation or nations of any repute concur with the Neocon’s crazy assertions that Iran provoked a fight, when it is so blatantly clear that the Trump regime provoked that fight.
There is no nation that will stand with the United States in perpetrating and perpetuating a new war of aggression in the Middle East versus Iran, based on the poppycock that Washington produces.
As for Trump’s pullback, the most likely scenario is that some technical issue occurred with the carrier – for example being directly in the line of fire, should Iran respond to this US aggression – or that a promised secret alliance to host an all-out war fell through at the last moment. Certainly, the idea that anyone in US leadership would ever balk at the idea of killing anyone with their military, is in the realm of complete fantasy.