Tensions in the Persian Gulf are continuing to increase over Iran’s nuclear program. Earlier today, the deputy head of the Islamic Republic’s armed forces, Mohammad Hejazi told the semi-official FARS news agency that;
“Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions.”
This embrace of a pre-emptive stance comes amid increasing pressure on Tehran from western governments, including tough new economic sanctions. As a result of these sanctions, Iran has cut oil sales to French and British companies, although this halt in oil sales is largely symbolic, since these two nations (Great Britain and France) had already cut back on purchases of Iranian oil.(1)
At this point, my fine young readers, I want to jump backwards a few news items. Back on the second of February, a story broke in the Washington Post which detailed U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s concerns that Israel may be preparing a spring offensive against Iran, specifically targeting its fledgeling nuclear program. According to the report, Israel would want to launch an attack before the point where Iran’s nuclear program enters a “zone of immunity,” which is to say that there would be little that Israel could do for any attack to be effective after that point.(2) (3)
Shortly after this story broke, another curious story hit the presses. According to a February 11th Fox News item, the Pentagon it seems, has filed an urgent request to defense appropriators on “the Hill” for upgrades to the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) weapon system. 20 of these massive, bunker-busting bombs are being made “battle ready,” and in a real hurry.(4)
Let’s stop at this point, and ask ourselves some questions about this whole mess. First, Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. If that’s so, why would they build their nuclear facilities deep underground, and protected by anti-aircraft systems? If Iran has nothing to hide regarding its ambitions, then why aren’t International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors being allowed to inspect, instead of being dragged into pointless discussions with officials in Tehran?(5) Keep in mind ladies and gents, this is the same Iran that has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off of the world map. One small caveat to also bear in mind is that if Iran builds a bomb, then the Saudi’s have said that they will build one as well, as the two are engaged in a political struggle for hegemony over the region.
So, what if Israel attacks Iran? What will happen? Well folks, I have pondered that very same question. Evidently, so have the strategists and think-tankers, because if you google that question, there are indeed some projections and predictions addressing that very thing! Rather than go into depth regarding these predictions, I’ll link to them here, and let you read the articles themselves.(6) (7)
Given what we know so far, there are a few likely scenarios that I can see playing out;
- The Pentagon, having readied 20 of the MOP bombs, delivers a number of these to Israel, who subsequently uses these in a spring offensive against Iranian nuclear program targets.
- The Israelis launch a spring offensive, which does only moderate damage. In response, Iran lashes out and attacks Israeli targets, but also ends up attacking and damaging U.S. interests. In response, the U.S. drops MOP on Iran nuclear program targets.
Now, I’m no expert. I do however, think it’s curious that Israel cancelled a joint U.S. / Israel exercise that was to be held this spring. Put that together with everything else that has been going on with Iran in the past few months, and you have a recipe for some springtime drama in the middle east.