Recently, President Obama imposed new sanctions on Iran which according to reports have been very effective, causing a sudden major devaluation of Iran’s currency. The Iranians correctly understand that they are under attack, and have threatened to respond by closing the strait of Hormuz, through which a large percentage of oil from the Mideast flows to the global economy. If the crisis deepens and Iran makes good on its threat to close Hormuz, there is little doubt that the US will intervene to reopen the strait. This will lead to a shooting war for which Iran will be blamed, even though the recent US sanctions were tantamount to overt aggression.
I believe the US will exploit the situation to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. But, even more importantly, the US will target Iran’s conventional missiles. Indeed, I believe this is the real reason for US sanctions in the first place, and for the buildup of tensions in recent days. Despite public perceptions, and all the rhetoric about nukes, the present crisis has nothing to do with Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. In my opinion, that is just a cover story.
The real issue is the fact that Iran has upgraded its medium range conventionally-armed missiles with GPS technology, making its missiles much more accurate. This means Iran can now target Israel’s own nuclear, bio and chemical weapons stockpiles, located inside Israel, as well as the Dimona nuclear reactor.
In short, Iran has achieved a conventional deterrent to Israel. Therefore, statements by Iranian officials that Iran has no nuclear weapons program are in my view probably correct. Presently, Iran does not need nukes to deter Israel. It can do so with its GPS-guided medium range missiles. The Israelis are no doubt gnashing their teeth over this, because they now find themselves threatened by their own WMD stockpiles, and by their own nuclear reactors, especially Dimona, all of which have become targets.
A few direct hits by Iran could cause a toxic plume, killing thousands of Israelis. A worst case might signal the end of the Jewish state.
It is important to realize that Iran would never launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel because the Iranians know that the US/Israeli response would be devastating. However, if Iran comes under attack first, all bets are off. Iran will defend itself. A counter attack on Israel cannot be ruled out because Iranian leaders understand clearly (even if the American people do not) that the crisis has been manufactured, on Israel’s behalf.
From the Israeli standpoint, the present Iranian deterrent (though conventional) is simply unacceptable. Israel’s military strategists have always insisted on total freedom of movement. This is why Israel refused a US offer many years ago to sign a defense pact with the US. Such a treaty would have limited Israel’s freedom of movement, and this was unacceptable. Israel’s leaders preferred to remain independent. Israel has always insisted on the “freedom” to intimidate its neighbors, whenever and howsoever it chooses. Iran’s conventional missiles now curtail that “freedom.” Israeli officials probably worry, for example, that Iran’s conventional missiles would limit its freedom to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon, in a future conflict. Hezbollah is closely allied with Tehran.
I believe the present crisis has been manufactured to create the pretext for a US air campaign to take out Iran’s conventional missile sites. The US will also target Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the primary target will be Iran’s conventional missiles. The US will be doing Israel’s bidding.
Obviously, you can’t generate public support for such a bombing campaign, on Israel’s behalf. Hence the cover story about nukes and the alleged Iranian threat to wipe Israel off the map, all of which is untrue but very effective propaganda nonetheless.
The problem for the US is that depriving Iran of its conventional deterrent will not be easy to accomplish. Indeed, it will be even more difficult than taking out all of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran’s conventional missiles are probably dispersed widely. If they come under attack, the purpose of the air campaign will be transparently obvious to the Iranian leadership. Faced with the prospect of losing their deterrent, the Mullahs may well decide to fire their conventional missiles. If they do and manage some direct hits on Israel’s nuclear-bio-and chemical weapons stockpiles, the ensuing disaster will prompt an Israeli response. Israel may even resort to the Samson Option, and attack Iran with nukes. Words cannot describe the horrific scale of such an outcome. Unfortunately, it is all too possible.
Early in the war, US naval forces in the Gulf will also come under attack. No mistake, Iran has enough anti-ship cruise missiles to pose a grave threat to the US naval presence in the Gulf. Thousands of US sailors are now in harm’s way, and at risk.