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What Real Options Does the United States Have Versus Iran?

Submitted by Steve Brown…

Let’s analyze, with the least aggressive options first:

Ending US Treasury Sanctions Waivers for Iran

Presently, Iraq purchases gas and electricity directly from Iran by waiver,  and civilian nuclear products are likewise exported from Iran to Japan, Russia,

China and to some European countries.  While all US waivers could be ended as a “measured response” to Iran’s alleged ‘misbehavior’ it is more than likely that both China and Russia will continue to do business with Iran as per usual, or even accelerate their trade.

Since full sanctioning authority invested in the US Treasury has already been imposed versus Iran, there are few-to-none real options for imposing additional US sanctions on Iran.  Other US Treasury options such as limiting Iran’s access to the global financial system, gold market, and SWIFT system are already in effect

An MEK or al Qaeda Insurgency?

Iran is a relatively homogeneous society and culture, despite some deep political divisions.  Even so, Iran has not been plagued by the sectarian strife typical of other Middle Eastern countries. Regardless, the United States has long maintained that a dissident group within Iran might be cultivated, and has curiously latched on to a strange and dangerous group of dissidents, known as the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq or MEK.

While the MEK has been described as cultish and not a true dissident movement far right Neoconservative ideologues such as John Bolton still hold out much hope for the MEK.  Another Iranian dissident group is the National Council of Resistance of Iran, essentially a front group for the MEK, and somewhat more palatable to the West in appearance.*

Typically, Washington infiltrates ISIS terrorist groups to destabilize and conquer, as it did in Nahr al Bared, Yarmouk Camp, ain-al-Hilweh, and most notably in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. And while the United States alleges that al Qaeda acts quite freely in Iran, Iran has done more to eradicate radical Wahabi and Takfiri terror than any other nation, perhaps with the exception of the Russian Federation.  Thus, no particular dissident group exists within Iran to mount a formidable challenge to destabilize the status quo, or to facilitate regime change there.

Siege or Blockade?

Due to its land mass and borders with friendly nations, a physical siege or blockade of Iran with regard to its neighbors cannot be accomplished.  Due to Iran’s key geographic position, a US naval blockade is not possible either, since that would adversely affect global oil trade.

A Limited Air Attack

A limited US air strike might target Iranian oil infrastructure inside the country. A single air attack on Arak, Kermanshah, or Esfahan (probably not Tabriz) could be accomplished with precision, and with limited collateral damage. Most likely a US stealth bomber would carry out this attack, refueled or based from Saudi Arabia.

Now, recall Israel’s Osirak air strike in 1981 and the eventual popularity of that attack among US Neoliberals. While a limited air strike on an Iranian nuclear facility is unlikely, a US attack on an Iranian nuclear research facility – where no isotopes are stored – is a possibility and rumored to be advocated among Trump’s war hawks.

Exploring the consequence of such an attack is beyond scope of this article, but note that the Russian leadership has already warned the United States that it must desist from such an attack. In the event of an attack, the odds that Russia will supply S-400 missile systems to Iran will rise exponentially. A high probability exists too that as a result of such an attack, Iran will at least attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, in its national defense.

Briefly, for the US to unilaterally carry out such a provocative limited air attack could result in international outrage, and may cause Blowback of a sort which even the Trump regime cannot contemplate.

Ground Invasion and Occupation

A US ground invasion of Iran similar to the invasion and occupation of Iraq is possible, but exceedingly unlikely on three fronts: financially, logistically, and militarily. It is impractical to explore all three topics in the space provided, but suffice to say that the United states has never been successful in any of its military endeavours.

The US military may exceed at “shock and awe” but no US military operation engaged in throughout its history has ever been successful at state-building. The success of Germany and Japan after WW2 is due to the enterprising and industrious nature of their people… not the United States.  US military interventions from Afghanistan to Vietnam (and all nations between) have always ended in failure.

Iran is a formidable opponent, too, in its own right… and in its own defense. Highly disciplined and possessing a wide variety of advanced weaponry (and mountainous terrain) for the United States to take on Iran will certainly result in thousands of dead, and much damage to Iranian infrastructure. But for that, the United States is certain to pay a heavy price. Ironically, Donald Trump seems at least partially aware of the militarist peril he faces in that regard.

A Nuclear Attack

While some may scoff at this notion, note that the former United States is the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons in anger. The US killed many thousands by its nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That outcome caused US war hawks to laud the use of nuclear weapons saying that the nukes ‘ended the war early’ saving thousands of American lives; that the result produced an economic miracle in Japan. That the US public is so inured to the idea that killing and organized violence is a means to enforce its role as global hegemon is depressing indeed. But America will not engage in a nuclear war over a downed drone; that idea is of course fantasy.

Conclusion

Considering the above, it is more than unlikely that the US can successfully engage Iran. After goading and inflaming tensions, only one man has the ability to decide who lives and who dies, whether an attack takes place or not, by whatever means. The foregoing apparently violates the Constitution of the United States, to whit his advisors seem unaware, or have no objection.

And yet, Trump is only human. As a result of the free hand he has been given, he seems to have adopted that arcane and risky policy of deliberate ambiguity:

Policy of deliberate ambiguity

‘A policy of deliberate ambiguity (also known as a policy of strategic ambiguity, strategic uncertainty) is the practice by a country of being intentionally ambiguous on certain aspects of its foreign policy. It may be useful if the country has contrary foreign and domestic policy goals or if it wants to take advantage of risk aversion to abet a deterrence strategy.’

* See Epictitus: ‘Appearances to the mind are of four kinds’

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
June 21, 2019

Here is an article that explains why Iran feels that it has no choice but to defend itself with nuclear weapons:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/irans-forgotten-history-why-iran-must.html

Iran knows that it stands alone when it comes to protecting itself from war.

Richard Steven Hack
Richard Steven Hack
Reply to  Sally Snyder
June 21, 2019

Iran has no interest in – and no use case for – nuclear weapons. Anyone who “analyzes” that Iran needs and wants nuclear weapons is completely out of touch with Iranian military doctrine, not to mention Khamenei’s fatwa against nuclear weapons, which he just reiterated the other day.

Bill spence
Bill spence
Reply to  Sally Snyder
June 23, 2019

Iran does not Need nuclear weapons. Their conventional weapons combined with their strategic location will suffice. Remember they are really backed by and supported by Russia and China.

Mike
Mike
June 21, 2019

You lost all credibility at: It is impractical to explore all three topics in the space provided, but suffice to say that the United states has never been successful in any of its military endeavors.

That is pure propaganda, as not so long ago, the Iraqi military got pulverized in a week. True journalists state the truth without falsifying it.

jph
jph
Reply to  Mike
June 21, 2019

And now some 15 years later the US is in the process of being driven from Iraq. US may win battles but still invariably and inevitably loses wars consistently.

Worse the US wasn’t even able to define what would constitute victory. That was of course quite logical, because if one strips of the window dressing it was about getting control over Eurasia but if not simply to obstruct meaningful development or a challenger there. Look up Brzezinki’s imperatives.

Dan Kuhn
Reply to  Mike
June 21, 2019

And that was just the beginning of the war. They got their asses kicked after that and they are still being kicked. They only place americans feel safe is when they are hunkered down in the Green Zone.

Joe
Joe
Reply to  Mike
June 22, 2019

If success is killing and injuring millions, then you are correct. Unnecessary wars costing the US taxpayer 7 trillion dollars and still counting upwards can hardly be deemed successful endeavours.

Bill Spence
Bill Spence
Reply to  Mike
June 23, 2019

The end result is part of a military action. The US lost after deposing Saddam Hussein. You know that.

Patricia Dolan
Patricia Dolan
June 21, 2019

Brown is truly clueless as to President Trumps actions. Maybe he should remain silent until he figures it out because the more I read of his stuff the sillier he sounds.

Steve Brown
Steve Brown
Reply to  Patricia Dolan
June 21, 2019

Not sure… but coming from a Trump supporter, I am sure Steve will consider that to be a compliment…! 🙂

Richard Steven Hack
Richard Steven Hack
June 21, 2019

Well, today we are told that Trump authorized a “retaliatory strike” on Iran and that planes were in the air when he got doubts and pulled back. This is a replay of Obama’s attempt to start a war with Syria in August, 2013, when he was within hours of pulling the trigger, but pulled back when he got push back from Congress and the Pentagon – and more crucially, Putin got Assad to get rid of his chemical weapons. That Obama wanted a war with Syria – but not to be blamed for *starting* it is clear from the fact… Read more »

Joe
Joe
Reply to  Richard Steven Hack
June 22, 2019

“End of story”. End of Israhell. Full stop.

wholy1
wholy1
June 22, 2019

Answer: ZERO – short of a glowing glass parking lot. “Nation building” – NOT! Nation [financial/resource] “corp raping” – YES!

wholy1
wholy1
June 22, 2019

“Nation/State building” – So . . . what about Germany/Japan, 1946?

Robert Michael Szallavary Sullivan
Robert Michael Szallavary Sullivan
June 22, 2019

No one in Washington could possibly be that ignorant to think that any attempt of American social engineering in Iran would ever grow feet. The main reason the U. S. is hell bent on wrecking Iran, is it ties with Israel. The president and the majority of Congress ‘pledge allegiance to Israel, in practically all matters. As well, Jews within the United States have considerable political leverage. Alderson’s relationship with Trump is a good example. Israel’s ‘Greater Middle East Project’ is the driver of the West’s attempts to destroy nations of the Middle East, for the benefit of Israel, plain… Read more »

Regula
Regula
June 22, 2019

Iran has 80+ million people, a mountainous territory and controls the strait of Hormuz. If it shoots down a couple of oil ships, no insurance will insure such cargo anymore. Which means “closing” the strait is not so difficult. At its narrowest the strait is 24miles wide, half of which belongs to Iran, the other half to Oman. There are no international shipping lanes. But, Iran would destroy all the oil installations in SA and the other ME countries. No more use for the strait. That oil is heavily leveraged with derivatives on several layers. $700 trillion currently. They would… Read more »

Bill spence
Bill spence
June 23, 2019

A war between Iran and US would be problematic since Russia and China could sit on the sidelines then step in to dictate the peace, While the world suffers from oil shortages.

EU dude
EU dude
June 24, 2019

The best option for USrael? Quit all ties with Israel immediately, and get rid of jews running US. Otherwise US is doomed sooner or later, as her people already are.

I Know Which Country the U.S. Will Invade Next

Trump makes a completely different US move – NOT to attack Iran [Video]